USD’s Deputy Athletic Director, Mike West, and USD’s Director of Athletic Marketing and Promotions, Jarren Duffy, spoke at this week’s SGA meeting.
Student attendance at athletic events is growing and is above average compared to other universities. Normally over 200 students attend the volleyball and basketball games.
“It’s been awesome to see the students section grow just over the past few years. We’ve really laid down the foundation of what the students’ section could become,” Duffy said.
“This says so much about the spirit on this campus, and I just, I’m honored to be here,” West said. “I just want to thank you. It’s a real honor, and I want you to know that this student body is as good as any state in the country. Every year we get more and more students at the gains. It’s turning into something that’s about to blow up in a great way.”
COVID-19 guidelines are still consistently being followed by students and people attending games. Various precautions are in place to create the safest environment possible for the campus, Duffy said.
Tickets are given out to students on Ticket Tuesdays, occuring in the MUC from ten to three, and on Wellness Wednesdays, in order to alleviate lines on game day.
At every game, there are signs and ushers guiding people where to sit. Seating is spaced out in pods of twos, threes and fours.
“The way our seating chart is designed, no one is sitting directly next to the pods, with three open seats to your left, three open seats to your right. There won’t be anyone behind pods, either,” Duffy Said.
The Athletic Department has discussed ideas of a spring D-Days, possibly called “Yote Fest,” but there are no plans currently due to the high risk associated with large gatherings.
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The Athletic Department is continuing to create an environment where the student athletes can grow as athletes and maintain a healthy mental state.
“Mental health is a really big deal… We are creatures of habit, and we want to have a regular routine. We’ve taken our student athletes completely out of that as everybody’s been taken out,” West said. “These athletes are so in tune with their routine, and then you take them out of routine, it becomes very problematic for all of us, in terms of mental health.”
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Along with West and Duffy, Margaret Meierhenry, President of the Hammock Student Organization, presented to SGA, proposing a plan to implement hammock poles throughout campus.
“One of my goals is to make USD a more hammock-accessible University, as well as being very inclusive,” Meierhenry said. “This is an organization that anyone can join an organization that anyone can have fun and feel included.”
On April 24th, the Hammock Festival will take place. Meierhenry said there will be live music, food trucks and appearances from the USD Music Department and spirit team.
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“I’ve been working with the city and the Chamber of Commerce to break the world record for most people hammocking at once,” Meierhenry said. “This is going to be a super exciting event where we will not only bring to the record for the most people hammocking, it will be one of the first events that is able to accommodate for social distancing.”
USD is continuing to work towards sustainability. Anna Moore, Campus Recycling Coordinator and sustainability graduate student, is helping lead these sustainable initiatives including ATLAS, the Green Initiative Fund, the Race to Zero Waste and the PLAN Plastic Free Action Summit.
Senate Bill 70, sponsored by President Abuk Jiel, approving SGA’s budget for the fiscal year 22, was tabled for next week for the purpose of going through the Finance Committee.
Senate Resolution 11, stating support of the revision and repeal of some tuition rates, making them more equal, at institutions governed by The Board of Regents, was introduced. The measure was passed as an emergency resolution on its first reading.