Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What Concord's up to this summer...

It's been a very uneventful summer for me so far. I haven't done much, I haven't gone to many places, I've mostly been sitting around thinking & "Twitter-ing." If you'll notice, I added a Twitter feed to the side of my blog here. I thought it was interesting, so I did it. Hopefully you'll find it interesting, too. If not, just pay no attention to it. If you're ever bored & need something pointless to look at - http://twitter.com/chris_slater - why not? What else are you going to do, read a book? I doubt it. [Side note - Michael Kinder's been reading a lot of books lately. Where did I learn that from? His Twitter feed. He loves The Kite Runner]

The point of that previous paragraph - Concord University has had an eventful summer, so far. Some interesting things have happened, and in this blog, I intend to look at some of those things and perhaps offer a few thoughts. Also, Concord's two-most-important bloggers - Jeff Yeager & Curtis Kearns - have posted some thoughts in the last couple weeks, so I'll give you links & maybe a few thoughts on those blogs.

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SGA Attorney General Bill Lewis is chair of the Concord University Student Affairs committee (CUSAC as it's abbreviated, Q-sack as it's pronounced). A few months back, Bill was talking about what he hoped to accomplish with Q-sack. They accomplished some cool things - created a new set of guidelines for visitation hours in the dorms & created guidelines for tailgating at baseball games. What looked to be the biggest thing Q-sack was working on was creating a student-based scholarship fund. A scholarship for students, funded by students. He wrote about it on Facebook, and I posted that note, along with some thoughts about it in a previous blog.

According to Bill's latest note, it appears as though Q-sack has accomplished this goal. What was originally known as the "Students Helping Students fund" is now known as the "Concord University Higher Education and Learning is Possible for All Students fund," which turns into the acronym "CUHELPAS."

I don't know if that's supposed to sound like "CU HELP US," or what, because "CU HELP AS" sounds a little confusing. "CU HELP US" is how I've been saying it to myself the last couple weeks. Somebody fill me in on how it's pronounced.

The previous structure of the scholarship fund is outlined in the blog I linked a few paragraphs up. In his latest note, Bill outlines the changes that have been made in the transition from the "Students Helping Students" beginning to the "CUHELPAS" present:

1) The Advisory Board to the fund will now consist of 3 members appointed by the Business Manager and approved by the Student Senate, along with 2 members voted in by the Student Senate. Previously, all 5 were voted by the Senate.

2) The Business Office is given more time to have a report ready for the CUHELPAS Advisory Board. Before, the Business Office had 1 week after the semester started to submit a report of the assets of the fund. That is not very feasible, so the number is now 3 weeks.

3) Students will not have the option of donating money directly from their "check change." That's too bad, because that was likely the best and easiest way to get money from students.

The biggest change to the fund is the third option I mentioned. I believe this was pretty much the basis for how this would be funded. It was the "Students Helping Students" fund, so Q-sack was mostly expecting students to donate money from their check change. Now, students have to go out of their way to donate. Instead of giving a "yes or no" to the question "do you want to donate some of this money to this?" You now have to get your check, cash it, and then find out where to give that money to. It's now gone from one easy step that requires no effort to at least 3 steps that ensure you need to go out of your way to donate to this fund.

For those who don't know, check change is what you get left over after your scholarships & whatnot go into effect. You get X amount of money to go to school, but school costs X minus Y, so you have Z left over. Z can be anywhere from a couple bucks to a couple hundred.

If this had been able to work, it would have been so beneficial for the fund. Say your check change came out to $122.09. You could say, "Put that $22.09 into the fund - I'll just round down to $100." Or, like my freshman year, you may only get $8 back in check change. You could just say, "Nah, forget that. I don't want to waste my time cashing an $8 check. Give it to the fund."

It looks like Q-sack has tried to come up with a "Plan B" - they're going to have what Bill refers to as "pledge cards." I guess Q-sack or CUHELPAS or SGA volunteers are going to go around asking for donations. Not as good as the original idea, but it should help out.

Now that the check change option is out, the whole point of this fund seems different. I think students would have been much more willing to donate from their check change than from their pockets. It's like, "Okay, I'm gonna get this much? Give them some." Now, it's "This is my money. I need it." I think individual donations will be much smaller as a result of this.

To offset that, the CUHELPAS should look for donations from other avenues, which would further change the whole point of this scholarship fund. According to his note, Bill said that he was going to ask for $1500 from the SGA (in addition to the $150 the SGA has already pledged). That $1500 would essentially be a student donation, since all Concord students pay roughly $36 towards the SGA.

Those are just a few thoughts. CUHELPAS really doesn't even exist right now, so it's too early to criticize it. This fund will hopefully find an identity and figure out what they're doing.

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SGA President Jeff Yeager has updated his blog, "From the President's Desk." Click here to read it. Here is a summarized version of his blog:

- The SGA slows down during the summer.

- Congratulated former Student Center Director Marshall Campbell on his new job - Human Resources Director. Jeff noted that the SGA may need a new SGA Advisor, as Marshall may not be able to dedicate his time to that any longer.

- Jeff is serving on a committee to find a new Student Center Director

- Jeff is also serving on Greg Quick's "Institutional Development Advisory committee," which is discussing ways to obtain funding for Concord so as to avoid a tuition increase. One idea is to host weddings at the soon-to-be-completed University Point building.

- He appointed Board of Governors representative Curtis Kearns & SGA Vice President Akeya Carter-Bozman to a few committees.

- Jeff looks forward to the continuation of the Judicial Reform committee. Since he is no longer chairing the committee, he looks forward to contributing more.

I like that Jeff is keeping students up-to-date on what he's doing. I think utilizing University Point as a way to make money to avoid tuition increases would be a great way to help garner student support. A lot of students are not fans of University Point.

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Board of Governors representative Curtis Kearns recently updated his blog, "Discord University." Click here to check it out. Here are a few notes of interest from Curtis' entry:

- Curtis applauds Marshal Campbell's ascension to the position of Human Resources Director. Curtis then takes Concord to task for not filling this position much sooner.

- Curtis is also very supportive of Greg Quick's new position.

- Curtis notes that Concord has posted a job listing for a full-time "Grant & Contract Administrator."

- Curtis believes Concord needs to look for more research grants as way to raise money.

- Curtis writes that Concord needs to look outside the institution to fill its vacant jobs. He says there are too many professors being taken out of the classroom to fill executive spots.

As usual, I agree with Curtis' opinion. The only thing I usually disagree with him on is his delivery, as he's often unnecessarily hard on the administration. He seems to have more of an "us versus them" mentality, which could potentially hinder progress. But, he is a very smart individual and very deserving of having such a high-ranking position at Concord. He has the potential to do a lot of good things for this University. I've heard that Concord's President, Dr. Gregory Aloia, is a reader of Curtis' blog. That's interesting.

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That's all for me. I'll put my usual disclaimer here - I import these blogs into Facebook. One of the options of doing so is the ability to "tag people," which sends them an e-mail alert about this blog. I tag people for two reasons - if I mention you by name or if I think you'll find this blog interesting. If you don't want to be tagged, let me know & I won't tag you in future blogs. If you'd like to be tagged, let me know & I'll start doing so.

I'll leave you with the following small Concord-related notes:

- Concord's Homecoming theme for this upcoming year will be "Woodstock '69." That should be exciting, I'm sure the Fraternities & Sororities will have a lot of fun with that. Just don't overdo it with the peace signs.

- Recent Concord graduate & former SGA Vice President Kelly Ratliff recently got married. I graduated from high school with her husband.

- The last I heard, the Student Center Director job was down to two people. They both seem like they'd do a good job with it. I'll probably "Tweet" the result whenever I hear about it (yet another reason to follow my Twitter profile).

- Curtis Kearns now has a new job looking for GLBT grants and projects for Concord. That's cool. It doesn't seem like enough is done to include the GLBT students at Concord. This is a good first step. Maybe he'll blog about what this means in the future.

- I received congratulations from a friend on being named Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian. That's news to me. For the record, I am not Editor-in-Chief of Concord's newspaper. I have had no official talks with anybody regarding this. As far as I know, there is presently no Editor-in-Chief of the paper. Later this summer, I'll talk with the Advisor & News Editor about where I fit in with the paper & what my role on it will be, if any.

Questions, comments, debate, whatnot, feel free to leave it here or on the Facebook link. As long as comments are kept constructive and topical, I will allow you to post anonymously on here.


  1. Just a couple quick things...my intent was for it to be pronounced "CU Helpers" but perhaps "CU Help Us" is more appropriate, lol, and I'm working on a way a student can just sign there whole check over if its a small check, like the $8 you mentioned, larger ones are welcome too; the difficulty in letting students donate specific amounts from their check change is the very intricate technicality of just which award funded that donation. Did their pell grant technically fund it? Did a loan supply them the cash to donate? It's a very complicated issue, with, according to plenty of administrators, some potential legal implications.

    Also, the Homecoming theme is "Musical Icons"...

  2. CU Helpers. I see it now. LoL CU isn't going to help us...

    I saw the Woodstock thing from a Facebook group - it turns out it was a specific Frat/Soro group and their individual theme was "Woodstock '69."

    So, sorry for the confusion there.

  3. One of the organizations you are talking about is not a sorority. More organizations than just Greeks participate in Homecoming. In my past years at Concord I have seen candidates from SAC, BSU, International, and Circle K just to name a few. This misconception that one must be Greek to enjoy Homecoming is the reason the average GDI feels like s/he has no place in the festivities. Let's not perpetuate that stereotype.

  4. Point well taken. All student organizations are allowed to participate in Homecoming.

  5. Before I saw Bill's clarification, I was going to suggest that a helpa is something like a reformed gangsta