SGA searches for campus traditions

IUS Horizon

The Student Government Association is following through on one of its goals to increase student retention through campus pride.

Matt Owen, political science junior and SGA senate chair, announced at the SGA meeting on Feb. 9 that he is searching for a campus tradition to unite IU Southeast.

This tradition could be a historic tradition that has fallen out of practice or a tradition that still exists but has not been well publicized.

“We can potentially revive a campus tradition in order to develop a connection to our campus and, ultimately, improve retention,” Owen said.

Owen said other universities have traditions that seem to unite students, such as Ball State University’s tradition of rubbing a particular statue on campus for good luck or Purdue University’s tradition of constructing every building with at least one red brick.

However, the SGA is not alone in searching for campus traditions.

“The Student Alumni Association is also currently searching for a campus tradition and icons that the IUS student body and faculty can rally around,” Dale Brown, secondary education senior and president of the Student Alumni Association, said.

Brown praised the SGA for beginning this search.

“I commend the SGA for taking up this issue and would look forward to working with them on issues such as this that contribute to the betterment of campus life and that bring alumni together,” Brown said. “This is an attribute of leadership and deserves our support.”

Brown expanded on Owen’s idea and said the revival or creation of traditions is not only important to retaining current students but also to keep alumni involved with the university.

“Alumni want to feel cherished — they want to feel like part of the university,” Brown said.  “Involving them in campus traditions, such the SAA that sponsored Nearly Naked Mile, helps to do just that.”

Owen acknowledged that the Nearly Naked Mile is a relatively new campus tradition that the SGA could possibly capitalize on during this search.

There is some reason to believe that reviving or creating a campus tradition would improve the degree of connection students feel to the university.

“I would feel more connected [to IU Southeast] if we had a tradition similar to Ball States,” Denise Wilson, criminal justice freshman, said.

Jen Weidner, psychology senior, said she thinks a tradition would increase a sense of connectivity because it would bind the students together.

“I came back to school as an adult, and there’s nothing really that binds us together because there are so many different age groups,” Weidner said. “[A tradition] is one thing that we’d all have in common.”

The SGA also introduced Bill 49-15: “Reallocation of Funds: Within the Same Budget” at its most recent SGA meeting.

Shanda-Lyn Webb, special education freshman and SGA treasurer, sponsored the bill, which would re-allocate money in the SGA budget originally set aside for SGA uniforms to the conferences and workshops account.

The SGA has decided to forgo spending any money on apparel, such as T-shirts or polo shirts, which would identify its members as being part of the SGA.

The organization instead intends to spend that money on Week of Welcome activities, although the bill must still be approved before the money can be re-allocated.

Josh Kornberg, communications senior and SGA president, expressed some approval for the re-allocation of funds and the decision to forgo purchasing uniforms.

“One thing we’ve done really well this year is spending our money very wisely,” Kornberg said. “We haven’t spent money on any stupid or frivolous stuff.”

Jennifer Reichert, international studies sophomore and SGA senator, delivered her report on the availability of microwaves on campus.

Many students have noted that there is a considerable wait time for microwaves during peak lunch hours, especially from noon to 1 p.m.
This is largely because there are currently only two microwaves available for student use in The Commons, one of which frequently breaks.

After speaking with the Physical Plant, Reichert reported that the issue stems from the combined voltage of the two microwaves being plugged into the same circuit overloading the circuit system.

Reichert suggested dispersing microwaves throughout the campus for students to use but said Food Services does not want to take responsibility for the proposed microwaves.

Seuth Chaleunphonh, dean of students and director of Campus Life, said the microwave issue might raise a conflict of interest for the Food Court because it wants people to buy food from its facility.

Therefore, the Food Court is not going to encourage people to bring in food from other sources that require microwaves to heat up.

The SGA also discussed the possibility of pursuing the issue through a resolution but said they are looking for student input before it authors such a resolution.

“We tend not to back up what we’re asking for in resolutions with student feedback,” Owen said.

Students interested in providing their input to the SGA can visit their office in University Center, room 024.