Located to the left of the bronze bull statues in front of the Marshall Student Center, the small patch of bricks and greenery surrounding cement benches in honor of USF students who died during their time in school is wearing down and is “inadequate,” Student Government Senator Aziz Abdool said.
Students walk by, or often on it, daily without ever knowing what it is and skateboarders are frequently seen zipping through the benches.
On Tuesday night, the Student Government Senate approved a bill to allocate $349,800 toward the construction of a new memorial.
Abdool said the memorial would provide a traditional site of reflection built to stand the test of time.
“As a university, we should do better for students (that have) passed,” he said. “This memorial is to properly honor our fallen Bulls. It’s not respectful to the families. Families shouldn’t go to see their child’s brick and see it damaged.”
The new memorial will be built on Marshall Student Center’s Crescent Hill, with a design inspired by the Washington D.C. Vietnam Memorial, Abdool said.
“We wanted to have a space that defines itself — a place that is a memorial, not a place you have events, and parties or skateboard,” he said. “You can go there to reflect.”
The memorial will feature a reflection pool, a fountain and a polished granite wall engraved with names of the deceased. A section of unpolished granite will be left for future expansion.
Though no senator objected the idea of the memorial, five voted against the bill and some questioned whether the price of construction for the memorial was excessive.
Zein Kattih, chairwoman of Appropriations and Audits, said she wanted to ensure concerns such as traffic and noise levels would be considered before the memorial was constructed.
Sofia Colon, senator for College of Public Health, said the committee previously discussed apprehensions and decided the cost justified the result.
“They are fallen Bulls and they deserve more than a brick that people walk on or skateboard on,” she said. “Even if you don’t know any of the Bulls, reflect on the fact that you’re lucky enough to come here, to be alive and to be a Bull.”
The bill will be sent to USF administration for final approval.
If approved, there will be a groundbreaking ceremony with Judy Genshaft before the Spring Commencement.
Construction is projected to start during the summer and is scheduled for completion this fall.