SGA plans to start new tradition

The Student Government Association is considering providing a new outlet for students to exercise their creativity and show their school spirit through the addition of a new statue on campus.

The statue would be a paw print students can decorate for registered student organization events, said SGA Student Welfare Committee Chair Jordan Cooper in an email.

“SGA hasn’t officially decided to put the paw print on campus,” Cooper said. “However, the (Student Welfare Committee) is still researching into the possibility, and the paw print is our main option currently.”

SGA’s current idea for the paw print is for it to lay flat on the side of a hill so it will be easily visible and accessible, he said.

The committee would like to obtain the statue sometime before the summer 2017 SOAR sessions, Cooper said.

The exact location and price of the statue is not known yet, but some suggested locations are in between the Stone Lodge and Memorial Amphitheater and near the residence halls.

SGA also surveyed students to gather their opinions on the paw print and will continue to do so, Cooper said. The surveys suggest students would like to see the paw print by the residence halls.

The next step in obtaining the statue is discussing the location and price with Michael Gautney, assistant vice president for Facilities Administration and Planning, Cooper said.

“(SGA has) not spent any money yet,” said SGA President Sarah Green in an email. “We are still looking into the pricing and how/who will pay for it.”

Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields said he is helping connect SGA to the right campus resources for this project.

He said the paw print could create a new tradition at UNA.

Students could also paint the statue for other reasons besides RSO events, Cooper said.

“One idea is to have it be a tradition at SOAR to put your handprint on the paw print to say that you are now part of ‘the pride,’” he said. “By doing so, alumni will be able to come back 20 years from now, and underneath all of the paint their handprint will still be there, and they will know that they are still part of ‘the pride.’”

Senior Charles Wilson said he would like to see the statue built in honor or commemoration of someone deserving of recognition.

The statue will bring more than a splash of color to campus, Cooper said.

“I believe that the paw print will bring a sense of pride and tradition for our campus,” he said. “We have different traditions on campus, but this brings something unique that is more hands on for the students to do. I also believe that it will help increase spirit and RSO participation.”

“RSOs will be able to sign up for particular periods of time that they want to paint the paw print,” he said.

The Student Welfare Committee looked into other ideas for a new statue on campus before naming the paw print as their favorite, Cooper said.

The committee considered a boulder similar to the University of Tennessee’s Pride Rock and a lion statue like Lipscomb University’s bison statue, he said.

“The paw print is the more appealing option because it is more unique, what students have wanted and the best option when it comes to pricing because the other two options are far more expensive compared to the paw print,” Cooper said.

Another deciding factor in the paw print was the memory of an earlier UNA tradition, Cooper said.

“Not only is the paw print unique, it is also bringing back an old tradition that used to be at UNA,” he said. “Before the brick pathways that run through campus were put in, there was an intersection of sidewalks that formed a star close to the Amphitheater. RSOs would paint the star and advertise for events. So, our idea is very similar.”

Senior Alex Beaver said she thinks the statue would increase student involvement on campus.

“(The statue would) kind of show the spirit of UNA,” Beaver said.

If students would like to share their input on the statue, they can visit the SGA offices in the Student Engagement Center, Cooper said.