Candy and giveaways highlighted Heart Your Union, as 16 various student organizations and services gathered on the second floor of the Blum Union to show students what they have to offer. This free event was put on by the Student Government association and headed by Senator Brian Shewell, who serves as the Chairman for Campus Advancement Committee. It took place on February 12 from noon to three in the afternoon. Organizations present included recreational services, sororities and fraternities and student clubs and organizations. Gifts included fleece blankets from Student Affairs, folding chairs from the SGA and hair care products along with teddy bears from the Nontraditional and Commuter Student Center. Students were also able to take part in free massages, henna tattoos, cookie decorating and H.I.V. Testing. “We looked at what events and what groups we did last year,” Shewell said. “We decided to change it up this year. During International Fair, we saw that henna was a huge hit.... The massages are always a huge hit and last year we actually ran out of cookies.” The Student Affairs office had perhaps the most important issue for students to consider. With the university moving in the direction of executing a master plan, which was formulated by by independent master planners, the pool area in the Looney Complex was a major area in need of improvement. Student Affairs asked students to fill out a survey about their personal usage of the pool. These form will be available for any students who were unable to attend Heart Your Union in the Student Affairs office in Blum 228. The forms ask if you knew their was a swimming pool for students on campus, if you have ever used it, and if you think the university should keep the pool or replace it with other form of recreational space and what you would like that space to contain. Joe Nash, a student helping with the Student Affairs booth, believes that events like these help to keep students aware of their union. “I have class with some people who don't even know there is a second floor to the union so its important for people to 'heart' their union, by knowing it exists,” Nash said. The event grew substantially from the previous year when they were not able to fill the tables that they were provide and this year they had to bring in extra tables according to Jessica Frogge, Administrative Coordinator for SGA.
Applications for Student Government Association were due on Feb. 13. The SGA President and Vice President positions only had one applicant each. Biology major Ida Haefner is the only nominee for the Presidency. She is in her second year in the SGA. Her sophomore year she served as a senator. Her junior year she became the director of communications. Following her duties for that role, she types up all the minutes and agendas for the SGA meetings. “This coming year will be my third year in SGA,” Haefner said. “I really enjoyed starting as a senator and now working my way up to president.” Haefner is currently the president of the Student Honors Organization after previously serving as vice president of advertising and historian of the same organization. She also works as an office assistant in the Honors Office. She is also the secretary of the Beta Beta Beta Biology Society. She is also involved with the Navigators. She is originally from Hillsboro, Missouri. Current SGA President Daniel Hager is running for the Vice Presidency. Hager is a theatre and cinema major. “I am looking forward to making more improvements to campus,” Haefner said. “Daniel Hager is the current president and will be my vice president, so I’m sure he has a lot of activities that he still has planned.” Both candidates will run unopposed. “It's exciting in that the unknown factor is gone,” Haefner said. “I don’t have to worry about if I am going to make it or not, it is just there for you. But it's still nice to go out and say, ‘Hi, I’m Ida Haefner and I’m your new SGA President, tell me what you want done.’ Although Haefner and Hager will be the only nominees on the ballot for each position, voters will have an opportunity to vote for a write-in candidate.
The Financial Oversight Committee (FOC) formally requested $15,000 from the Student Government Association's roll-over fund to go to their committee for the purpose of funding student educational trips and conferences at the Feb. 9 SGA meeting. SGA Financial Director and FOC Chairman Brandon Grieshaber came into the meeting with a $10,000 request on the agenda, but with recent requests from students and organizations, Grieshaber felt the need to raise the request by $5,000. “This semester, when I came into office, we had about one-third of FOC funding for this year left and the good thing about that is is the name is starting to get out their and people are realizing that we have this money for people to use to go to conferences,” Grieshaber said. “With that we've been getting a lot more applications for individual students and organizations requesting money for funding and what we a beginning to see is that as they come in for requests and are approved, our funding is starting to dwindle.” The FOC, in conjunction with the SGA, provides financial assistance for students and student organizations that wish to expand their education by going on trips to conferences and workshops. They will cover any fees for the conference, lodging costs and travel expenses such as gas. “If we were to fund our requests this week and the next, we wouldn't have enough to fund the rest of semester,” Grieshaber said. “Part of the funding of SGA is so we can benefit these students by allowing them to go to these conferences and increase their leadership skills which also reflects well on Missouri Western itself.” Jacob Teasley, an SGA senator, believes that the SGA needs to draw the line somewhere with the FOC, because their committee continues to raise their budget year-after-year as students continue to learn more about the benefits FOC can offer them. “I think that we need to be strict with the regulations [on FOC] we already have,” Teasley said. Teasley proposed that the money could instead be used to fund a project that he and other SGA member have been working on to build a mosaic art structure at the Kelley Commons. “The project that me and Vice President Tyler O'Neill are working on is a Griffon mosaic, similar to Missouri Southern, who has a brick bear, the bricks form to make a bear head," Teasley said. “We were going to put it at Kelley Commons where there is a circular sidewalk piece with pie-shaped slabs that looks crappy, its cracked and doesn't look appealing.” SGA always looks for student input on their decisions and their meetings are open to any students that wish to attend. The SGA is scheduled to decide the issue at their meeting February 23 in Blum 220.
Western students came out in packs to witness the talent that their fellow peers were capable of. On Thursday, Feb. 12, Western Activities Council (WAC) held their annual talent show in Blum 218.
Many students and family members were in attendance to support the contestants. The WAC Talent Show was hosted by junior Mike Rose who entertained and amused the crowd.
In between acts, Rose picked out raffle tickets and the winners received two free tickets to the annual spring concert, featuring Ludacris, in April.
Vice President of the Student Government Association Julia Buescher was very proud of the amount of students that were in attendance.
"The acts just keep improving as the years go on. This is actually probably the best talent that we've had on our show since the years I've been here," Buescher said.
The auditions for the talent show were held over the course of two days.
Buescher explained that the candidates were chosen based off of how many people of the same talent auditioned.
"For example, if there were 10 singers but we don't want a whole act being just 10 singers, or 10 dancers, we would try and mix it up and then choose the best of three or four of those. So that way we can add a little variety to the show," Buesher said.
The talent act included poetry, dancing, singing and even beat boxing.
Sophomore Kiyale Walker was in attendance and was amazed at the acts that took place.
"Everyone did an amazing job, I think I might try out for this next year. I did not know you could do stuff besides singing," Walker said.
The talent show was judged by SGA President Daniel Hager, Multicultural Education Coordinator Latoya Fitzpatrick and Administrative Coordinator Dana Heldenbrand.
Ivory Cohens, winner from last year, preformed a duet with Romello Clark. Cohens and Clark danced a romantic piece together and as a result won the $100 first-place prize.
"It feels really rewarding, like all of my hard work paid off, and best of all getting to keep my title," Cohens said.
Missouri Western has held talent shows for its students for over 10 years and WAC does not plan on changing that anytime soon.
Lionel Attawia, student governor of the Student Government Association, announced to the SGA on Monday that Missouri Western has earned $4.8 million from the state of Missouri for the 2014-2015 academic year. This extra money was proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon in his State of the State address this year. Although the amount was approved by a vote of 31-3 in the Senate, it still has to go to the Missouri House of Representatives to be voted on again before being signed by Nixon. Although the university has known about this money since the beginning of the semester, this was the first time SGA heard what the final amount was. Attawia explained how this funding is divided up. “There is a pot of general revenue that the state of Missouri gets or accrues for for the fiscal year,” Attawia said. “There is a certain amount that goes to higher education as a whole. Depending on student performance, standards and benchmarks that are given to the state universities, they are given a certain percentage of that pot.” Western was able to achieve all five benchmarks in each category that the state judges universities on. Attawia is proud of the progress the school has made in recent years in regards to earning this money. “For whatever reasons we haven’t met those benchmarks in the past, but this year we actually met all five of the benchmarks,” he said. “Since we met all five we got the most [money] we can possibly get.” This money will be dedicated for the purpose of maintenance and renovations of the campus. Attawia doesn’t know for certain where the money will be used yet. “I think a lot of it will go to projects on campus, deferred maintenance and things of that nature. I know there is a priority list of things we need to get, not only off of the master plan, but things we have seen over time but have put off because we have had other priorities at the time,” Attawia said. The decision of where this added capital is spent does not ultimately lie in the hands of students, though, since this is state money. “This is university money,” he said. “This is money that was given to us by the state, so this is not money that students have to pay with a fee or anything like that. This is money that has been accrued by revenue in the state of Missouri. So students have no control over this, because it's not collected from the students, it's collected from the state.” Attawia warned that the benefits of these funds may not be a big project that will immediately catch a student’s eye. These funds will likely be used for campus maintenance and upkeep. “These projects will be be a lot of things that students won’t really see or notice,” he said. “Students won’t really notice it, but there are some huge projects it could take care of.” With so many upgrades scheduled to occur on campus in the near future, this money will allow the university to keep up the facilities that we do have while keeping the possibility open to updating the campus further. SGA President Daniel Hager was pleased to hear that Western received the full amount and is excited to see where the money might go. “I know that this $4.8 million will help insure that we avoid deterred maintenance on campus and I assume that is to make sure that our campus is up-to-date and current, so that way we can initiate the master plan as we see fit,” Hager said. Regardless of how this money is used, Western will be receiving some massive upgrades in the not-too-distant future, and being awarded this capital should only help that process.