The Student Government Association reported on findings from the Safety and Beautification Walk and discussed enhancing engagement for athletics at this week’s meeting.
Chairwoman of the University Improvements Committee Lucy Burns gave a brief presentation on the report, which compiled findings from the Safety and Beautification Walk that took place Oct. 4. Along the walk to Callahan Hall, students, administrators and staff members took notes on which aspects and areas of Northern Kentucky University infrastructure needed improvement.
According to the report, several of the tactile bricks that aid visually impaired people in distinguishing between sidewalk and road are worn down. The sidewalks that lead to Callahan Hall also need repair of chipping and cleaning of rust, with road signs missing in certain locations.
The report lists a wide array of repair and maintenance suggestions across the main NKU campus, from dangerously low-hanging branches in front of the Steely Library, to overflowing trash cans, to potholes in parking lots and peeling paint on outdoor seating. Senators raised the additional issue of the sidewalk suddenly stopping outside of the Science Center, meaning pedestrians would have to cross the road to continue walking on the other side.
The two residential villages factor into the report as well. In Boothe Village, the parking lines of the Norse Commons circle have faded, making it more difficult for drivers to park there. Student parking lot U no longer has disability parking spots and bathrooms by the pavilion are not accessible to wheelchair users. In East Village, accessibility issues persist in the steep hill on the trail from the soccer complex to Callahan Hall and in the curve by the complex where railings are needed.
Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Eddie Howard and Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management Syed Zaidi were present to answer questions from SGA.
Zaidi informed that each maintenance item listed on the report can be very expensive: trash cans cost about $1,200, a bench costs anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000. Facilities Management is looking at projects by order of priority and addressing issues like overflowing trash cans on a day-to-day basis, Zaidi said, and students should bring any matter that requires immediate attention to Residence Life staff, Student Affairs staff or Facilities Management.
In response to Senator Corinne Mozea’s question of how NKU will be spending money on cosmetic maintenance—peeling paint, mulch-covered stairways, leftover debris—while in the middle of a budget deficit, Dr. Howard stated that the university receives different funding for different purposes, so that the maintenance pool can only be utilized for maintenance without crossing into other departments.
Following the presentation, SGA turned to last week’s Boots to the Ground question: “What is stopping you from attending sporting events on campus?” Senators reported that, for the students they had talked to, they might have conflicting schedules, did not have anyone to go with or were simply unaware of the games.
In addressing this issue, the senators suggested a variety of methods of advertising sporting events on campus, from designing bigger signs that pop up more on bulletin boards to sending emails specifically about the games that are not bundled in weekly university communications. The general consensus among the Student Senate is that student athletes should be more engaged and that athletics should have a more visible presence on campus.
This gap between NKU students and athletics inspired SGA President Daniel Myers to revive the student section at the games, which has suffered in participation and liveliness coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we have a culture problem,” Myers said. “There’s a culture that athletes aren’t engaged with the rest of the student body. How can we change that? We talk a lot about what they should do—at the end of the day we are not them, we can’t force them to do anything. But what can we do?”
Each SGA member is connected to other campus groups and organizations, which Myers feels could bolster presence at the student section.
“This comes from us. We talk about being the change that we want to see, and if we feel like the student section is not hype, let’s go make it hype,” Myers said, adding that he will be at next week’s game against University of Cincinnati at the front, screaming his head off despite not knowing all individual players personally.
Revitalizing the student section means creating a name, a dress code and a social environment for all participants. SGA discussed the possibility of creating an ad hoc committee that manages the student section’s activities and ways to communicate with student athletes.
For this week’s Boots to the Ground question, SGA members would ask: “Would you be interested in being a part of the student section?” Being a part of the student section involves planning out in advance and participating in coordinated activities—what to do, what to say—at each game.
Toward the end of the meeting, Myers announced that Chief of Staff Isaiah Phillips is the new SGA representative for Faculty Senate and Staff Congress, and the Miss Krimson and Kreme Scholarship Pageant will take place Friday, Nov. 18.