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NC State News

Off the Hook Archive (June-August 2010)

August 20, 2010

This week has been CRAZY, and awesome!

The energy around campus is definitely exciting, and the fact that classes have started is not squelching the enthusiasm. Today we had the record-setting, 500-pint blood drive at the gym. I’ll keep you posted on the final numbers of pints donated.

Tonight is Friday Fest!, and tomorrow morning is the Service NC State meal packaging event, followed by the Silent Disco. Wolfpack Welcome Week has seriously been a blast, and a big thank you goes out to everyone involved.

Over the last two weeks Student Government has come together and truly become a team. I am very lucky to work with such proactive and engaged volunteers, and I know we’ll keep this momentum up all year. One of our main goals is to create synergy on campus and find ways to let student organizations utilize our resources (advertising, administrative and institutional contacts, networking, helping to identify funding sources, etc.). We’ll also be bringing together organizations that are working on similar endeavors.

How? We have two Directors of Communication, Scott and Natalie, that will be going out to various organizations, colleges, the Greek Village, and classes to keep students informed, engaging everyone in what’s going on and listening to concerns. We’re really looking forward to doing this on Centennial too (starting with the Centennial Campus Challenge)

Also, we are in the process of making some informative (not cheesy) videos that highlight what’s going on. Our team is out around campus often, so look for students wearing a circular pin marked with the SG logo, and ask them what’s up! We’ll be active, engaged and there for you – in order to make this truly effective, though, we need you to talk to us when you see us!

The Student Senate will be having its first meeting of the year on August 25, and then Freshman elections open up, so be on the lookout for their infamous campaigning. Email Senate President Stephen Kouba to learn more about his goals and how to get involved with Student Senate. It has some great leadership and I think we’ll see very smart legislation passed through Senate this year.

Our Transportation Commission and Transportation Appeals Board still need students! Email the Transportation Chair, Matt Gromlich, to learn how to be a part of that Commission. And speaking of transportation, we asked the Dept. of Transportation to keep us informed regarding updates on parking, etc. so please see the below message from them regarding West Deck Construction:

“Regarding commuter parking, “Due to West Deck construction and shrinking parking during the construction phase, all West Lot permits are sold out. Consider the Varsity Commuter Lot ($99) and ride Varsity Rt. 5 or the new Varsity Rt. 5a Express (every 11 minutes).”

Check out Student Carpool, and refer to earlier blog posts for some alternative transportation options. And, not to be redundant but, feel free to join the aforementioned commission to help make transportation a better experience for students!

And now, for a few announcements:

  • Our good friends at WKNC are having interest meetings – so check those out if you’re looking to get involved with the best university radio station in the country (the official Wolfpack opinion)! Just as a side note, the Student Government office is on the same floor as WKNC, TECHNICIAN, Agromeck and the African American Cultural Center, on the third floor of Witherspoon Student Center – making for one awesome floor.
  • The Technician is looking to fill some positions as well. Email the editor, Amanda Wilkins to find out more.
  • Students in landscape architecture just completed the Syme Hall Rain Garden and it looks really amazing. This project was the first ever design/build studio offered at NC State. GREAT SUCCESS (said in Borat voice)!

•••••

August 12, 2010

There’s definitely a “calm-before-the-storm” vibe permeating around campus right now.

Student organizations are gearing up for Wolfpack Welcome Week, RA’s just finished their training, professors are finalizing their syllabi and a large number of students are returning back to Raleigh. The “storm” of Wolfpack fever doesn’t begin with Wednesday’s first classes – it started yesterday with the African American Symposium and will keep gaining momentum until the Silent Disco, which takes place at 10 a.m. next Sunday.

Check out all the Wolfpack Welcome Week events here, and make sure to grab as much free food and as many giveaways as you can. (A note to new students – this is definitely the best week to stock up on red t-shirts!)

Cates Crawl, Friday Fest, convocation, Target runs, dances, grilling out, open houses, dining events, soccer games and Wolfpack paraphernalia… bring on the storm and WELCOME BACK PACK!

•••••

July 28, 2010

Have you ever read NC State’s mission statement? In all honesty, I hadn’t seen it before last Friday’s University Council meeting.

The mission statement, along with the overall plan for NC State’s future, is being reevaluated (it’s standard protocol when a university hires a new chancellor). University Council was tasked with articulating very general priorities for NC State to focus on throughout the foreseeable future. For example, “student success” came out as a top priority from Friday’s meeting.

So now, the steering committee will assign a task force to figure out what exactly “student success” means, and how we go about implementing it. It’s a pretty big undertaking and input from the whole student body will be the critical component to actually figuring how to make students even more successful.

I get overwhelmed just thinking about how to define the term. Is success measurable? If so, how? Success, you see, doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. What are all the qualities of a successful person? How much of it depends on particular attributes? Sigh.

This will all be happening pretty soon – what do you feel are the best ways to collect student input and engage students in the process? (Let me know!) The task force will definitely need our help but, then again, that’s just ONE task force – I’ll think we’ll be looking at around eight other priorites that will prove to be just as broad in scope.

Switching gears, it’s time to register for a new, free Go Pass for the upcoming year! It’s a great way to see the Triangle, from Durham, Hillsborough and Chapel Hill all the way to Wendell and Zebulon on the east side of town. With the annual pass, NC State students, faculty, staff can hop a free ride on any Capital Area Transit (CAT) and Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) vehicle.

Dining has a new Wolfpack -to-Go fresh-food lineup which is available at the Creamery, Hill of Beans, the Vet School Café and the McKimmon Corner Café, in order to give us some more substantial – and hopefully healthier – eating options to accompany our caffeinated beverages. Pretty cool.

Finally, as a part of this year’s Service NC State event, we’re holding what we hope will be a record-setting blood drive on campus! Join me August 20 from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. to donate blood at the Carmichael Complex. NC State needs to register 650 donors to set the record, so sign up as soon as possible!

•••••

July 19, 2010

I’m sure everyone is now aware of the tuition increase that is set for this coming school year. Students and families will now shoulder the burden of a $900 tuition increase ($150 was added last year and $750 this year). The decision was handed down from the NC General Assembly and the Board of Governors in attempt to help offset economically driven budget cuts. 20% of the $750 and 50% percent of the $150 increase must be used for financial aid, which still leaves our university with a significant difference between how much money we are pulling in and how much we need.

NC State won’t raise tuition past $900, so the administration will have to make up that difference elsewhere.

Therefore – even with the increase – we’re going to see some changes this year, and we may have to prepare for potentially larger classes and a finite amount of resources. That being said, we will need to be vocal about how these cuts affect our academic and student life here at NC State. This will all come up again in 2011 and, when it comes to keeping tuition low, fewer people have a greater vested interest than students.

So, if we’re going to say that keeping tuition low is something students truly care about, it’s up to us to take proactive strides regarding next year’s budget. Be in contact with your North Carolina state representatives as the year progresses and engage them in discussions about how budget cuts and increases have affected your student life. The budget cuts were not as bad as they could have been, but they have still initiated a significant increase that we all have to deal with. Let’s do so with class and gumption, as only NC State students can.

For more student perspectives on the tuition increase, take a look at the Technician’s article. Also, Chancellor Woodson has made a big effort to communicate about the increase with students and parents via email and online sources – which I think we’ve all appreciated.

Here is a link to the Scholarships and Financial Aid office, which has proven to be a great resource in keeping NC State affordable for everyone.

“The strength of the pack is the Wolf,
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
– Rudyard Kipling

• • • • •

July 9, 2010

“With each new sunrise, life begins anew” is written on a pen laying in front of my keyboard.

University Transportation gives these pens out, and I was lucky enough to receive one when I met with transportation petition hearing officer Debbie Beach.

I’m not sure how that phrase ties in with Transportation, but I will say that I’ve gained a new level of appreciation for our transportation office and the work its team does. Once September rolls around, Beach will be looking at anywhere from 50 to 100-plus parking-ticket appeals everyday, and making the decision whether or not to reduce, deny or grant those appeals.

If we’re ever thinking we’re being inventive or creative with our excuses, the chances are that, during her six years on staff here at NC State, Beach has heard it before. She sees appeals from students, visitors, staff and faculty (who knew that staff, faculty and visitors get parking tickets?).

Once she makes a decision, the appeal gets looked over by at least five other people to ensure the right choice has been made. If the person making an appeal doesn’t agree with the decision handed down, they have the opportunity to re-appeal to the Appeals Board (comprised of students, staff and faculty). I’ll make eight or so appointments to this board, and appointees will rotate based on their availability. The Appeals Board usually meets once a month on a Friday between 2-4 p.m.. If you’re interested in learning more, or exploring possible appointment, please let me know.

Also during this meeting, we discussed the 1/2-off parking ticket payment policy that’s in place at UNC-Charlotte. Beach said that the topic has been tossed around before, and she gave me some names of people I’ll be contacting about this issue. We’ll keep everyone posted on this endeavor.

Finally, one last important takeaway I had from our meeting is that transportation staff members easily recall repeat offenders. We don’t get a clean slate with every new appeal so, if we appeal all the time or get lots of tickets… they know, and remember!

• • • • •

Our new Wolfpack men’s basketball recruits have been doing pretty awesome in the Greater NC Pro-AM summer league. Jeffrey Johnson, Student Government’s Executive Branch Athletics Chair, further explains what the Greater NC Pro-AM is all about:

“Although summer league pickup games don’t always provide the most accurate predictions for future performance, it is always exciting to get a sneak preview of our current and future players. The NC Pro Am provides an exciting opportunity for Wolfpack fans to see future players in action alongside other local standout players including those in the ACC and NBA.

“I definitely encourage all NC State fans to go check out some games and show support for our Wolfpack players.”

Get a sneak peek here, and then go out and cheer on the Pack at the Greater NC Pro-AM!

WOOOOOOOOLLLF………PAAAAAAACCKK!!!!

July 8, 2010

Bear with me because this is kind of boring but, on July 5th and 6th, NC State hosted an Association of Student Governments meeting, basically an umbrella student organization that works with each of the 16 campuses in the UNC school system (even Chapel Hill).

It was actually a pretty enlightening two days for me (the ASG officers, student body presidents and two delegates from each campus attend) and I feel compelled to share. It’s pretty clear that ASG has been underutilized by all our campuses in the past – I mean, every single student in the whole system pays a fee to this Association and we haven’t really used it at all. They have tons of resources that can help each campus achieve our goals, as well as relay messages that collectively impact student life throughout the whole system, like budget cuts and the new health insurance policy.

We have an opportunity to apply for grants through ASG and the officers are extremely efficient at researching. Collaborating with them will definitely help us to work smarter and make the most we can out of our one-year stint.

Also, meeting with the other Student Body Presidents was pretty interesting as well. While I know they definitely took away good ideas from our university, I have to admit that we’ll be trying to adopt some of theirs, too. For example, UNC Charlotte has a system in place where, students who pay their parking tickets during the first week receive half off. I’m going to immediately start looking into how we can implement this at NC State. Potential roadblocks – most of the money from parking tickets actually goes to the City and not to the University – exist, but maybe enough parking tickets go unpaid and it’s a large enough hassle for Raleigh that there will be an incentive to give us 1/2 off in the first week… I will work with our SG transportation chair, Matt Gromlich, along with our newfound friends at ASG and we’ll seriously try to make this happen.

Speaking of parking tickets, today I’ll be meeting with the Transportation Petition Hearing Officer to talk about the Petition Appeals Board. Debbie Beach informed me that “the Appeals Board offers the appellant an additional review of their case by their peers which may result in a reversal of the decision or a better understanding for the appellant.” So, essentially, a few times during the year, students review appeals and influence the outcome. I never knew this process even existed, and today we’ll talk a bit more about what it entails.

At a later time, I’ll have the opportunity to appoint students to this board – if it’s of interest to you, let me know. At this meeting I’ll also bring up the 1/2-off parking tickets idea.

Finally, I have a meeting with Dr. Jeff Braden, Dean of CHASS. Dean Braden is currently a Co-Chair on the Chancellor’s installation committee and he’s working with me on our students’ role in the installation process. We’ll also be discussing some CHASS-related things – I have received quite a few questions (go ahead, email me!) for him via Twitter and Facebook so I’ll be sure to bring those up and get back to everyone.

Until next time… GO PACK!

June 29, 2010

OK, I’ve got LOTS of updates and information to go out. I’ll try to keep it brief:

Dining just launched a blog that will keep us up to date with what’s going on at the Atrium. It’s pretty interesting, check it out here. Release your feelings about campus food with this two-second survey. Personally, I’m a fan of dining hall food – not sure if it’s one of those things you just get accustomed to or if our dining halls just serve good food. Like the block S waffles which they serve through the afternoon on the weekends. I guess they assume some students sleep until the afternoon on weekends, then wake up and head to a dining hall for breakfast… Dear University Dining, we never do that, but thank you for serving breakfast late on weekends!

Also, Coca- Cola and University Dining just donated close to $4,000 to help sponsor students for the Service NC State meal packaging event. Way to go, Dining and Coke!

NC State has updated ePACK! We all know Craigslist can be a semi-effective job-searching tool, but ePACK has much higher-caliber job and internship listings. ePACK is definitely an effective way to get our resume out to businesses and browse for internships and jobs. There are also constant updates regarding career fairs, on and off campus. By the way, the university didn’t ask me to post this or anything – I’m being serious, if you don’t have your resume on ePack, I highly recommend doing so. After all, we’re ultimately here to get the tools that prepare us for the workforce (aka get a job).

A few days ago I met with the University’s Associate AD for external operations and the university’s chief communications officer. Prior to meeting with them I Twittered about it a day in advance and asked students to share questions they wanted me to bring up during this meeting. I responded individually to most of those questions but I think some of them would be of interest to everyone.

  • This year’s Red Rally (more commonly known as Midnight Madness at other universities) will be awesome. SG is going to partner with Athletics, the Student Wolfpack Club, University Communications, and possibly combine it with the Chancellor’s installation. We are talking giveaways galore, loud music, and the works. Plan on being there to support Wolfpack basketball! (It’s not until October, though – am I getting too excited too early?) I’ll save the rest of the hype for fall.
  • Our new director of athletics, Debbie Yow, will be starting on July 15th.
  • The university is currently in the planning stages of expanding the brand, and although we are sure to see some changes in the upcoming year, we will especially see them the following year.
  • Our contract with Adidas (as it pertains to Athletics) ends in 2012. We will have to see what brand is in store for us then. That being said, Adidas has actually treated us pretty well over the years, but it would be nice to get some consistency in our brand across every sport.

I wanted to give you a brief update about Parking at the Health Center over summer – there are no spots. Check out their site to stay updated on patient parking, etc.

Finally, I’ve got some exciting news about sustainability on our campus: Plants on the roof! Seriously, this is so cool.

Alright, I’ll save some extra info for other blog posts but keep up with The Wolfpack Facebook group to stay updated in between! Thanks to those that submitted questions and I’m excited about this new-found level of communication. Have a great weekend NC State!

•••••

June 28, 2010

And so it has begun, the orienting of new students to our campus. Today: Transfer students. Tomorrow: Freshmen.

This year, NC State has given the new students a pretty nifty bag – equipped with handles, back pack straps, pockets and a genuine NC State logo. When I was a freshman, my friends and I decided we would not carry our bags beyond orientation week since they marked us as freshmen (A note to this year’s freshmen: your bags are way cooler than ours were – I would definitely carry the one you’re getting!)

On another note, I met with Provost Arden last week to talk about tuition increases and a few other things. Additional tuition increases have been proposed in an NC Senate bill and are currently being discussed in conference at the General Assembly in downtown Raleigh. We don’t know what will happen with that, but the Provost agreed that we will do everything we can to keep tuition as low as feasibly possible. He and I co-chair the tuition committee and will face tough decisions this year regarding budget cuts, class sizes, technology grants, research, and tuition, etc. Student Government will be reaching out to students in the fall to get your opinions on the proposed increases.

Last week, I received a message from a student concerned about how NC State was delivering degrees to students. Provost Arden helped me clear up that concern and quickly address the issue and respond with an answer. So, it goes without saying, if you have questions or concerns about something, or if something on campus is bothering you, please shoot me an email about it. We are here for you!

Also, when I’m about to meet with people like the Provost, the Chancellor and our Deans, I will Twitter about it a day in advance. If you have something you would like me to bring up, please let me know!

Before I go back to checking emails, I have to throw out a quote from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. A friend reminded me of this earlier today and was like, “Hey, you should blog this!” (I suppose blog can be used as a verb – like Google.)

Enjoy!

“Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;

And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back –

For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

• • • • •

June 25, 2010

Congratulations to NC State! Debbie Yow has been named the new director of athletics, and the future of Wolfpack Athletics is looking awesome! After speaking with our new AD and seeing her at the press conference today, it is quite obvious that she is genuine in her desire to take NC State athletics to the next level. Like it or not, athletics is often the main porthole through which every university is viewed, and the time has come for us to ramp up our game. I’m excited to be a part of that this year, and hopefully you’ll join me in letting everyone know that THE PACK BACKS DEBBIE YOW!

• • • • •

June 24, 2010

If somebody asked you, “What does it mean to go to NC State and be in the Wolfpack?” What would you say?

Email me at sbp@ncsu.edu – I’d love to hear what you think.

• • • • •

June 23, 2010

Benefit concert tonight in Harris Field (EDIT: Due to rain, it’ll be at Witherspoon) from 6 to 9. UAB, WKNC and SG have partnered together to host this concert for free, but bring canned food to donate to The Food Bank of Eastern NC. Bright Young Things will be the opener and the feature band is What Laura Says. So come out and, and as the free t-shirts we’re handing out say, Rock CAN Roll!

• • • • •

June 17, 2010

The Executive Branch’s Tradition Commission has already knocked out its first project for the year! Incoming NC State freshmen will receive a deck of cards that highlight the Top 54 Things to Do at our university. Students can go online and keep up with the traditions they complete. I feel like this site is testing my love for NC State… and I accept the challenge!

• • • • •

June 16, 2010

Be ready for some more construction (oh boy!) Just a quick heads-up on some construction updates to be aware of as we come in to the fall semester. Most notably is the Atrium Renovation in the Brickyard. Basically, there is going to be a giant “bubble” in our Brickyard that will house some extra seating while they renovate the inside of the Atrium.

Con: A giant bubble might force us to think outside the box regarding our Brickyard events.

Pro: The Atrium is being renovated… I think we all understand how AWESOME that is!

• • • • •

June 15, 2010

My name’s Kelly Hook, and I’m the 2010-11 Student Body President here at NC State. It’s an exciting opportunity to serve you, and one that I am really looking forward to. We have a great university family and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes us.

As president, my #1 role is to ensure that students and student life are kept at the forefront of university policy and decisionmaking. I attend a lot of meetings to make sure that’s happening, and – before I go any further – I have to mention how much this job involves the help of other students.

NC State Student Body President Kelly HookStudent Government (SG) has a ton of hard working, dedicated students in the organization – making it possible for us to positively and significantly impact the University in only a year. On that note, when the fall semester begins, we’ll have qualified and proactive students sitting on all university standing committees, and others who will be present at relevant meetings across campus on a daily basis.

It’s been a huge relief on my end, and allows our team to turn our focus on creating new programs and continuing to enhance student life on our campus.

As SBP, I want to work toward alleviating the everyday stresses that we all face as students and enhancing our overall NC State experience. Let’s reignite Pack Pride, and focus on some of the remarkable things students, staff and faculty are accomplishing here at NC State. Seriously – let’s get the word out!

People should know how awesome NC State is, and be able to hear about all the amazing things that happen here – from NC State alums garnering Nobel prizes to our fellow students pitching in to raise the awareness of issues like hunger and poverty to their technological breakthroughs in industry and design. It’s up to us to howl about our Wolfpack Pride, and, all cheesy puns aside, I pledge to work as hard as possible to catalyze the spread of Wolfpack fever this year.

That being said, this year should be pretty exciting in and of itself with the upcoming installation of our new chancellor, Randy Woodson, and the hiring of a new athletic director and provost.

Student Government has been hard at work over summer too. Right now we’re putting the finishing touches on our Wolfpack Student Discounts program, which will allow NC State students to show our ID’s at a number of Hillsborough Street businesses (and eventually those in Cameron Village and Mission Valley) for special discounts. We’re also incorporating an online ranking system to provide an incentive for those businesses to offer competitive discounts and for others to join in.

The branch of SG that I manage – the executive branch – has many goals for the 2010-11 school year, which I will address in future columns. But for now, as the end of June approaches, I’m looking forward to the start of new student orientation and welcoming new students into the NC State family.

This is going to be an amazing year at State and I look forward to being a part of it with you! Throughout my term as president, I want to be available and accessible to you. If you have any questions that I can answer (either in future columns or one-on-one), please shoot me an email.

Also, if you have a second, check out The Wolfpack Facebook group which we will keep up to date with campus events and important announcements.

I look forward to hearing from you, and, if you get a chance, go tell the next person you see that you go to NC State University – home of the Wolfpack!

Go State!

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