The National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC), consisting of nine historically black fraternities and sororities known as “the divine nine,” put in a request to Student Government (SG) for $113,000 to fund the creation of plots on campus to represent their organizations.
The university will match every dollar approved by SG up to $125,000, in addition to the $25,000 being put forth by NPHC.
The funding from SG would come from the unallocated cash funds. This account contains the leftover money from the Activity and Services fee funding that gets allocated to departments and student organizations.
Every student pays $7 a semester and $12.08 per credit hour, totaling approximately $14 million collectively.
Each proposed plot would be dedicated to one of the organizations and states when they were founded and information that is important to either their history as an organization or significant information connected with them.
If these plots are approved, USF would be the first university in Florida with a structure as in-depth as this potential one dedicated to the NPHC. The plots would be placed across from the Student Memorial on Holly Drive.
The decision has currently been tabled while waiting for more information and is supposed to make an appearance again at upcoming Senate meetings. The Senate has also put out surveys to collect information on student opinions of the project proposal. According to Senate President Amani Taha, the Senate will be taking into account these results.
“They (Senate members) definitely take the surveys into account quite a bit,” Taha said. “They also take into account the logistics of the survey and the legitimacy. If the Senate approves the request, then the money will be allocated and it will happen. If the Senate doesn’t approve this request, it won’t.”
Deidra Rogers, a senior majoring in behavioral and community science and a member of Delta Sigma Theta, said if the plots are built, they will create an area of commemoration for the organizations, such as hers. She also said these plots can serve as a safe place for all students.
“It’s a different form of expression, where people can admire it and look at it, but also learn from it because there is going to be some kind of information on it,” Rogers said.
Rogers also said a significant part of the idea for plots is that USF is a green-energy school, and some NPHC dedications on other campuses use trees to represent the organizations by doing things such as painting them.
Rogers said that due to the school’s green status, this is not something that is being considered.
Student Body President, Moneer Kheireddine said if the Senate approves the request, construction could start right away with the hope of being completed during spring 2018.
Kheireddine said he regards the decision to work on this project as the first push from the initiative from his election campaign to increase the level of cultural diversity on campus.
Kheireddine said these plots would be conversation pieces for students to learn more about the organizations that make up the NPHC, along with their importance. He said he aims to have the plots be the beginning of a culturally accepting area where people can see and understand the cultural history behind the students of USF.
“It’s important in the grand scheme of what our university represents,” Kheireddine said. “It can seem superficial on the surface level that this is just a project that’s giving organizations a place, but in a deeper, more rooted cause, you can come to understand that this represents diversity in a stronger sense.
“It represents a step forward with the university acknowledging and recognizing how important our diverse communities are.”