Student Government Senate awarded funds to the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC), to fund a plaza that would be home to nine plots representing each organization Oct. 24.
The 38-10 decision dedicated $113,000 to the project. SG had been waiting to make a decision about taking the money from their unallocated cash funds for the plaza. In this time, the project was examined by the Finance Committee and surveys were sent out to students to gather an opinion on whether or not they favored the idea of allocating the money.
NPHC themselves, are working toward coming up with their portion of $25,000, taking action to fundraise. SG will remain supporters of these organizations, as they will be meeting with them during the process.
Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine will create a task force including members of administration, two senators, student leaders from around campus, Vice President Shaquille Kent and NPHC members.
Kheireddine said the task force will create a vision, timeline and deal with construction company bids to take on the project. They will meet as needed to discuss the plan of action with hope that decisions will be made in early December to get the ball rolling for a spring completion date.
This project was on Kheireddine and Kent’s list of diversity initiatives to create a safe and welcoming place for all students.
“It feels absolutely phenomenal, to start off with something that’s been a dream for so long for so many of our students and to see it become a reality, it’s tough to describe but it’s a moment I won’t ever forget,” Kheireddine said.
Lynecee Romelus, the Director of Diversity, Inclusion & Sustainability for SG, was effected by the decision as the vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, an NPHC organization.
“I feel like we’re progressing, as the school in general,” Romelus said.” We understand that plots are very specific and historical for the Divine Nine and NPHC, being able to pass something of this magnitude that goes towards diversity, I think is huge. I’m really proud I was able to be a part of this entire process.”
Romelus said she sees NPHC growing its presence on campus and sees the organizations uniting over this project. The organizations would like to host events in the future for people who have no prior knowledge of what NPHC is, so they can learn the importance of the organizations. They would like to begin to merge the gap of the student body and the NPHC community.
The plaza will be a space where anybody, including non NPHC-members will be able to reserve the area for events. Kheireddine said he hopes to use this space to create a platform where more diverse projects continue to grow.
The plaza will be constructed on Holly Drive across from the The Village. When construction begins, Kheireddine said there should be no disruption to any traffic patterns or parking areas, as the actual work is not in a frequented area.
“It feels as though we took a really strong and big step towards a better future for USF and for our students,” Kheireddine said. “We really set a precedent that if you have a dream and really want to accomplish something on this campus and you want to create something, Student Government is going to give you the opportunity to empower that.”