The winning proposal for this year’s Students’ Association (SA) Government 5K Challenge has been scrapped in favor of swing sets because of a liability issue with hot water dispensers—which are being phased out entirely from campus.
The proposal, submitted by junior Chenchen Yan, called for the installation of hot water dispensers in the River Campus Libraries, and would have enabled students to prepare their own tea and coffee without having to leave the study space.
SA President Grant Dever learned that the hot water dispensers will be removed from campus altogether while working on the winning idea’s official proposal to the administration.
“We believed that the hot water dispensers would be permitted because they exist in other locations throughout the University,” Dever said. “We were later notified that they are working on phasing them out because people have scalded themselves.”
As a result, SA has decided to work toward the 5K Challenge’s second place idea—the swing sets.
Dever is currently working with the University Architect, Jose Fernandez, and his team in the hopes of being able to install the swing set in the near future.
“We did not include it in our emails to the student body because we do not want to promise it before it is 100 percent happening,” Dever said. “We still have many logistics to figure out before we would feel comfortable stating that it will 100 percent happen.”
The issue of deciding a location is a primary one for the team.
There is a list of potential places where the swings will be installed if the proposal is accepted, but Dever said that he was not comfortable listing those locations because the feasibility of each has yet to be determined.
SA will also have to figure out how they will fund the swing sets, as Dever expects that they will cost more than $5,000. He added that additional money was available to his office because of its “fiscal conservatism” throughout the year.
“Of course there will be critics,” Dever said. “The 5K Challenge is a democratic institution. If students wanted something else, they should’ve submitted a proposal and run a campaign supporting their idea. The students decided, not the Students’ Association Government.”
Yan had no idea that her proposal would not be realized until the Campus Times contacted her for comment.
“I guess the SA government never feels the necessity to inform me, no matter if it was about the winning or the cancelling,” she said.
After being informed of the liability concern surrounding her proposal, she said that though she understands the potential danger, she felt “disappointed by the broken promise.”
Though Yan’s proposal will not be implemented, a few other 5K Challenge proposals have been.
There are additional whiteboards in Gleason, and cell phone chargers are now available for rental at the library.
Mary Ann Mavrinac, Neilly Dean of the River Campus Libraries, is also looking into ways to increase the amount of standing desk options at the library.
“Dean Mavrinac fulfilled [other] 5K Challenge submissions out of her own budget and generosity,” Dever said.
Dever said that if SA cannot fund a swing set, then they will look to fund the next available proposal.