Junior and Students? Association president-elect John LaBoda has a vision of a campus with more traditions, increased spirit and more interclass rivalries. This idea, expressed in the form of creating class councils, was a centerpiece of LaBoda?s platform for president.
?Currently, we live in an environment that is so pre-professional and serious,? LaBoda said. ?Sometimes we need an outlet to blow off some steam and have fun with each other in a relaxing environment.?
Evidently, students liked his proposal, electing him into office by more than a 200-vote margin. Now, LaBoda wants to start putting his vision into effect.
LaBoda sees the councils as ?just a bunch of students sitting around discussing issues and planning events tailored for them.
?These councils would not be another layer of student government bureaucracy,? LaBoda said. ?These councils would be renegade student governments that would help promote interclass programming, interclass competition and create new school traditions.?
These competitions would include traditional sports like football, basketball and baseball. They would also add events like tug-o-war, swimming events and running competitions. As a model, LaBoda will examine both Greek Week and Delta Gamma?s Anchor Splash.
?Hopefully, with the creation of some class competitions, we will start some friendly class rivalries,? he said.
Each year, LaBoda says he wants to recognize the best class with the ?Meliora Cup,? which would switch hands each year depending on which class scored the highest number of points in the events.
The councils would also play an important role in the freshman transition into college life. LaBoda hopes they would provide a network of students who could direct freshman to appropriate SA groups or special interest housing floors. The freshmen council could also play an important role in programming for the freshman quad.
Another role for a council structure would be the continuity it could provide a class, as many students would hopefully be involved with the councils for years , LaBoda said.
A junior class council, for example, could begin planning for and contacting commencement speakers more than a year in advance. Some seniors have expressed frustration at the selection of Professor Emeritus Jarold Ramsey as the graduation speaker for this year.
?I don?t want us disrespecting Professor Ramsey ? he has nothing to do with this. The rules need to be changed,? senior James Davenport said in the March 5 issue of the Campus Times.
LaBoda was unsure if the selection of a commencement speaker is where he envisions his idea going.
?Currently, the idea for class councils is solely recreational, allowing another outlet for students to have fun,? he said.
?The beauty of these councils will be the freedom students have with them. If a student would want to join one of these councils and try to bring a commencement speaker, it is not my role to stop them,? he continued.
Currently, the idea of class councils is on the docket for discussion in the student groups committee of the Freshman Housing Implementation Committee.
Some FHIC members think the idea has been a long time coming.
?It will help bring coherence to undergraduate life,? co-chair of the Freshman Housing Implementation Committee and Dean of the College William Green said. ?It will allow classes to govern themselves.?
Professor of Political Science and chair of FHIC?s subcommittee on freshman programming Gerald Gamm agrees.
?In principle, the idea makes perfect sense,? he said. ?It is completely consistent with the idea of a residential campus and of freshman housing.?
If the idea is approved in some form by that committee, LaBoda plans to run with it. He?s aware he will need others running with him.
?I?m going to need to enlist the help of orientation volunteers, RAs and D?Lions to get the freshmen involved with their [newly formed] class council,? LaBoda said.
He hopes to have a strong turnout of upperclassmen to join and help with the sophomore and junior councils.
?It is a good idea. I don?t think [a council] could hurt a thing,? Senior Class Council President-elect Joe Cacciola said.
Another person who will help LaBoda implement the council structure will be his soon-to-be-named chief of staff. In an uncharacteristic move, LaBoda has opened the seat to application.
To those interested in applying for the position or helping form the class councils, LaBoda invites e-mails to jlaboda3@ hotmail.com.