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Behrend looks to appoint new beautification committee

2-5-2019

Cassandra Wuerstle, News Editor

Back in November, Student Government Council (SGA) attended the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG) at Penn State York. CCSG is an event held once a month in which all E-board members and directors of student government come together to discuss common issues. The event is commonly hosted at University Park, but once a year the event is hosted at a commonwealth campus. This year it was hosted at Penn State York.

While attending the CCSG meetings, SGA members from Behrend were “bamboozled” by how much Penn State themed artwork York’s campus had. Members were so impressed that two members, SGA chief of staff Safinaz Elhadary and vice president Andy Sanford, took a multitude of pictures to collect examples of the school pride reflected through the artwork and architecture at the York campus.

Elhadary was so moved by the pride that when she returned to Penn State Behrend, she started talking to Randy Geering, the Senior Director of Business & Operations. In her discussion with him, she discussed Behrend’s plentiful buildings with empty walls and the opportunities that they could hold. She discussed creating projects around campus to boost campus pride, filling empty spaces with Penn State themed art. Geering encouraged Elhadary to pursue this interest in a formal manor, and now, with the spring semester underway, she has done just that.

Elhadary created a PowerPoint and introduced the idea of a Behrend Beautification Committee to the SGA executive board. With their approval and positive response to the idea, she created the committee. Last week, she brought the Behrend Beautification Committee forward to the rest of the SGA and received great amounts of approval along with several volunteers.

Thus far, 11 people have volunteered to join the new committee which, once created, will work to add Penn State themed artwork around the Behrend campus. In SGA, anyone who wants to join a committee, whether they are a member of SGA or not, is welcome to join.

“I’ve even had people from LEB reach out to me and say they want to be part of this committee,” Elhadary further explained. “I felt like doing it alone wouldn’t be fair… It’s a Penn State Behrend project. I don’t think it's an SGA project. I think it's a Penn State Behrend project.”

 

In order to insure the committee functions well for long term success, Elhadary is creating a chapter for the committee. “Unfortunately, what happens to a lot of our agile committees, agile committees are committees that are temporary… they don’t usually work well because they don’t have structure.” She hopes that creating a chapter for the committee will provide structure and the ability to make achievable goals that work efficiently in order to see changes happen this year.

When asked what students can expect from this new committee, Elhadary explained, “We didn’t want to make it too broad because too broad is not feasible and achievable, so to start we are going to start with art work.”

Elhadary hopes to use York as a model to give students in the committee an idea of what Behrend could aspire to be. “They used every single space they had, there RUB desk was a thing you would find in a museum… You felt that spirit everywhere you went.”

“Beautification is a big word… it’s just making something beautiful in general… We don’t know where it’s going to take us from there, but this year we are focusing on artwork.” She couldn’t pinpoint any exact locations that were likely to be selected for beautification, but said a good example of an area that could be selected would be the blank walls that lead up to the Dobbins dining area.

Elhadary further explained, “We already have a natural beauty all around us. It’s like living at a resort, but we are just missing that experience.”

The first committee meeting will be held on Tuesday the 5th in the SGA office at 6 p.m. This meeting will discuss goals of the committees, with the second meeting being opened to discuss locations for the group to focus on. The third meeting will discuss what kinds of art will be placed into those spaces and locations. Elhadary expressed her hope for the committee, saying, “I hadn’t expected it to get this much support, I’ve been very very please with the reaction I got, and I feel like those reactions is an indicator of how much we really need it”.