SAB Relays programs require intense planning

April 21, 2014 6:56 AM

Story by Hannah Keisker

Photo by Joel Venzke

blitz_joel-w2000-h2000For the Student Activities Board, running the Drake Relays doesn’t involve track spikes.

Emily Callen, a sophomore elementary education major, and Ashley Fellows, a sophomore marketing and international relations double major, head the Relays executive board that consists of students interested in helping with an event.

Callen said each student is in charge of an SAB Relays event. The Relays events start with Blitz Day at the beginning of the month and end with a pancake breakfast at the end of Relays week.

“We oversee and approve all the planning, starting from brainstorming all the way to execution. So every little detail you can think of, we’re kind of in charge of figuring it out,” Callen said.

Fellows said it is important to look at the small details when planning events.

“We get to see that background, and we get to get excited about how students are going to react to it when it happens,” Fellows said. “We make sure everything is lined up so when it is presented to the students, they are really excited about it.”

Second-year pharmacy student Alissa Tillotson is the SAB band co-chair. She helps choose the bands that come to Drake, coordinates with the agent of the band and plans the concert events.

Tillotson said hiring an artist is a long process that involves a contract to make sure both parties are satisfied.

“Honestly, I think it’s less stressful than I thought it would be if you’re organized about it. If you try to do everything we do over the course of a semester in a week, then I think it would be really stressful, but we try to be really on top of things and have set office hours to get everything done. I haven’t been too stressed out with it ever,” Tillotson said.

Callen said keeping all the events a secret is exciting.

“The theme is kept secret. The band for the Court Avenue concert is kept secret,” Callen said. “And those are things we’ve worked really hard on, or we’ve seen our band’s co-chair on SAB work really hard on, so we think it builds suspense and helps get students really excited about Relays. I kind of like keeping it a secret.”

The theme for Relays this year is “Snapshots of Excellence” and the artist for the Court Avenue concert is Hoodie Allen. Finding an artist for the concert is a challenge every year.

“It takes a while for that process to go through, and I know especially with past years too — there’s a lot of fluctuation with artists. Like I know last year, they didn’t lock down an artist completely until about two weeks before,” Tillotson said.

Tillotson said it can be a frustrating process to choose a  Court Avenue Concert act. Often,  something will fall through at the last second.

The members of SAB are sure not to forget about the most important part of the Relays: the track events.

Fellows said it is exciting to see the Des Moines community attend the track events.

“We get to kind of show off our school in a sense. I know a lot of people talked about how we’re a small school, but it feels like a big school during that week because everyone is always moving,” Fellows said.

Callen and Fellows are keeping a tally to see who drinks the most coffee during Relays week.

“We will just be overseeing every event. So we will be at each one for setup, during it and tear down, and making sure everything runs smoothly — probably handling some last minute crisis that we can’t foresee,” Callen said. “Hopefully, we’ll be enjoying ourselves, too, and being able to look at our hard work and see the benefits of it and see that the students are really enjoying it.”

Street Painting, tradition since 1980s, still a student favorite during Relays

6:55 AM

Story by Beth LeValley

Drake University’s Student Activities Board hosted the annual Street Painting on Friday from 4-7 p.m.

A tradition since before the 1980s, Street Painting brings excitement to campus every spring.

What begins as a rectangle of white transforms into 54 colorful advertisements for Drake organizations.

Ashley Fellows, a coordinator of the street painting event, collaborated with partner Emily Callen to plan the event.

They are both members of the Student Activities Board.

They have also worked on the Mud Run and parts of the carnival for the 2014 Drake Relays.

Fellows and Callen decide what organizations get a square based on how well they executed both their goals as an organization and the theme of Relays.

“Choosing out of all the amazing submissions is hard,” Fellows said. “We would extend the street if we could.”

Drake’s Top-3 Street Painting squares are chosen to paint at the downtown Court Avenue Street Painting celebration, Fellows said.

“It is such an awesome tradition that not many other college campuses get to experience,” Fellows said.

Katie Canepa, the fundraising chair of the Drake Tennis Club, hopes to spread the name of the club to get more people involved.

“Last year, they asked if anyone had a design for the square, and I just volunteered myself,” Canepa said. “I’m an art minor, so I like designing things.”

The design last year included a layout that looked like a dictionary reference and had the phrase, “You only live once, but you get to serve twice.”

This year, they showed a bulldog with a tennis ball in its mouth.

“Since the theme is ‘snapshots of excellence,’ we (wanted) to have cameras in the background,” Canepa said. “It’s simplistic, but it embraces the tennis club and the Relays theme this year.”

Tennis Club created the fundraising chair for the first time to help pay for equipment, gas, tournament fees and other expenses.

“First semester, it’s harder to get people involved,” Canepa said. “It’s hard to explain that Tennis Club isn’t as competitive as Drake’s tennis team. It’s more recreational.”

As fundraising chair, Canepa keeps money in mind while organizing the event.

“We like to cut down on colors to try and save money,” Canepa said. “We also mix our own colors, so we don’t have to buy separate cans.”

Dana Gjoen, a member of Carpenter Hall’s executive board and Relays Committee, was also involved in designing a square.

“Carpenter is really unified,” Gjoen said. “For example, in one part of our square we (have) handprints of each member of the executive council.”

Carpenter also featured the big events that the residence hall hosts every year, such as Carpenter Coffeehouse and Mr. Carpenter.

They hope to display Carpenter’s charm and bonding through their square.

“It’s not one specific thing,” Gjoen said. “It’s really all of us that make Carpenter our home.”

Security heightened during Relays

6:54 AM

Story by James Jolly

Photo by Luke Nankivell

security_luke-w2000-h2000The Drake Relays is one of the largest and most beloved track and field events in the United States.

In its 105-year history, the Relays have hosted a range of athletes, from high school hopefuls to Olympians, and every year, they manage to draw swaths of fans.

Last year, the Relays saw 45,838 people enter the stadium during the four-day event.

With the large number of people visiting Drake in such a condensed and somewhat-chaotic fashion, security is always a top priority.

With the  increase of spectators, athletes and tourists in and around campus, security concerns rise. But Drake won’t be caught off guard.

The security professionals here at Drake have stepped up to meet the demands of Relays.

This year, like many years in the past, they have implemented extra rules and regulations for visitors and students.

One such precaution is the locked-door policy.

Starting April 24 and ending April 27, all doors in all residence halls will be locked at all times.

In addition, all guests are required to fill out a visitor’s pass and keep a copy of it with them at all times.

One particular rule might cue some resistance from the Drake students.

The open-container law, which goes into effect during Street Painting and Drake Relays, will force anyone entering a residence hall to empty any non-sealed containers.

This is to prevent any illicit drinks from entering the residence halls.

Students in the first-year residence halls are worried this will be more trouble than it is worth.

“I don’t want to have to empty my water bottle because someone else wants to drink,” said Sarah Adams, a Crawford Hall resident.

But the Relays are not the only time security is a concern.

Throughout the school year, Drake Public Safety is always on patrol.

Alex LaMarche, a first-year, has always felt the presence of Drake Public Safety.

“I think that the security here is doing a fine job. When you need them, they are there at a moment’s notice,” Lamarche said. “I have seen Drake patrols plenty of times, but usually in more populated sections. In the less safe areas a few block of campus, I don’t see as many cars. Personally, I have never feared for my security, but I have heard stories of muggings.“

In response to recent security concerns and the increasing ease of technology, Drake Public Safety has developed a phone app that acts as a personal emergency beacon.

Scott Law, head of public safety at Drake, introduced the app “Rave Guardian.”

The app features a panic button, a GPS tracker and an anonymous tip-off button.

“Don’t worry,” Law said. “The GPS is only active when you want it to be. We cannot track your position unless you allow us to.”

Professor hopes to improve electoral system, involve third parties in Iowa legislature

6:54 AM

Story by Taylor Soule

Photo by Luke Nankivell

professor-w2000-h2000For a long time, David Courard-Hauri waited. If he voted for the right people with the right platform, something would move forward. Right?

After feeling frustrated by the glacial pace of Iowa’s legislature again and again, though, Courard-Hauri realized it wasn’t enough to vote for the right people. He had to get involved. That’s when the Drake University environmental science and policy professor decided to run for the Iowa House.

“I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with the way politics is working, and so a few years ago, I started thinking, ‘Here’s what somebody should do,’” Courard-Hauri said. “Then, more recently, I’ve started thinking, ‘Well, maybe, if I really believe that, it would be something I should do.’”

The Green Party candidate is running a campaign centered on electoral reform to facilitate third-party involvement. And he knows it won’t be easy.

With the meager history of third-party success against him, Courard-Hauri acknowledged the challenge ahead. But for him, the potential for change outweighed the daunting nature of third-party candidacy. While it’s easy to get lost in the field of Democratic or Republican candidates, a Green Party victory could catch Iowans’ attention — and highlight the problematic culture of two-party government.

“If I ran as a Democrat, I would just be one of, you know, 100 people, and this would be my little issue,” Courard-Hauri said. “Everybody has their issue, but nobody has to take you particularly seriously with your issue. If I can win as a Green, which is spectacularly difficult, which historically doesn’t happen, I think that the anger has led to an opportunity to actually win here. If I can win as a Green, then suddenly that’s important because it shows that people want to change the system.”

Collaborating beyond party labels is key for Courard-Hauri, and getting third-party candidates elected is the first step.

“I don’t believe that Democrats or Republicans can or will fix the problem because they benefit from the fact that there are only two parties and that many districts are perfectly safe,” Courard-Hauri said. “They never have to worry about the constituents because if you’re conservative in a conservative district or you’re liberal in a liberal district, you’re just going to keep getting elected. That fosters a disconnect that I think isn’t healthy.”

He’s ready to lead the charge, with a realistic attitude, of course. Courard-Hauri knows one Green Party legislator won’t fix the disconnect in Iowa politics — but it will get people thinking about the system’s pitfalls.

Before he can start restructuring Iowa politics, though, Courard-Hauri has to win a seat in November 2014, the initial stage in what he hopes is a long-term, systematic change.

“Get elected. Start talking about it,” Courard-Hauri said. “Make it a real issue that people across the state understand and know about. Try to get votes. I don’t expect that if I’m the only one, anyone’s going to listen to me just yet, but then go across the state and try to recruit people from all across the political spectrum to make this change. Then, I think, they’ll have to listen to us.”

Climate-change legislation is atop his priorities if elected. Though it’s an issue rife with complicated sub-issues, he said the potential for a positive impact across Iowa makes tackling it worthwhile.

“Doing something about climate change isn’t as hard as everybody says it would be, in terms of what the impacts would be,” Courard-Hauri said.

He’s particularly qualified to combat climate legislation in Iowa. With a master’s degree in public affairs and doctorate in physical chemistry, Courard-Hauri is prepared for both the scientific and political elements of climate legislation.

Courard-Hauri’s colleagues and students have already taken notice of how his educational background could shape Iowa politics.

“He is a thoughtful guy that is very engaged in thinking about how science can inform public policy,” said Keith Summerville, a Drake environmental science and policy professor. “He’s genuinely interested in not just environmental issues, but he’s genuinely interested in the human experience and in figuring out how the kind of work that he does as an environmental scientist or the kind of work that he’s done through his M.P.A. experience can make people’s lives better.”

Summerville said his colleague’s experience in academia could likewise create lasting change.

“I think one of the nice things about being able to come at issues from an academic perspective is that you don’t end up towing the party line in things you don’t know much about,” Summerville said. “It teaches you an inquisitiveness to do the research on your own and form your own opinions. I think that’s going to be tremendously advantageous.”

For Courard-Hauri’s students, a single quality leads the way: passion. Drake juniors Sara Brock and Mallory Rasky took the J-term travel seminar on eco-tourism to the Galapagos Islands, led by Courard-Hauri.

Though they had limited interaction with him before the January 2014 trip, both said his passion for students, teaching and environmental issues immediately caught their attention.

“Of course, his intelligence. That goes without saying,” Rasky said. “I think the fact that he can relate to people very easily. Also, it goes back to the passion. I know that’s a cliché thing, but when you actually do have it, it’s pretty cool, and you’re able to see it. It’s like he’s not even trying, and you’re able to see right through it.”

Courard-Hauri’s passion and intellect likewise stood out for Brock.

“He’s very passionate, very informed, and he’s willing to do a lot of the typical grunt work,” Brock said. “He’s willing and he’s able. He’s one of the smartest people you will ever meet.”

But for Courard-Hauri, it isn’t grunt work at all. It’s simply one step en route to a much-needed change in Iowa’s legislative landscape.

“What makes me particularly qualified is that I am passionate about making this change, and I’m willing to do what I need in terms of knocking on doors and talking to people and devoting my time to this,” Courard-Hauri said. “I think I can make it happen.”

Sodexo dedicated to quality

6:53 AM

Story by Annika Grassl

Sodexo’s general manger said the dining provider is committed to providing quality food for students. However, students do not agree.

“(The workers at Sodexo) are committed to creating exceptional experiences for our customers, no matter what meal we are serving. We always strive to be professional in everything we do,” said General Manager Dannie Crozier.

Junior law, politics and society  major Dominic Lamberti disagrees.

“I would say that they do (change the standard of the food that Sodexo serves during special events),” Lamberti said. “It’s an easy recruitment tool for the university.”

In response to the recent criticisms of Sodexo’s service, Crozier  said the company welcomes feedback.

“We take customer feedback very seriously, and we are always looking for feedback in order to better serve students and the campus community,” Crozier said.

Crozier explained that he always appreciates students’ feedback on the service and quality of food. Crozier said the feedback  he and his staff receive from comment cards or meetings with Student Senate help them make the program stronger.

“We will continue to celebrate diversity on campus, and we will continue to work closely with student organizations, administration and the overall campus community to collaborate on this programming when it occurs,” Crozier said.

He said Sodexo treats every customer the same, no matter who they are or what event they are attending.

“We treat everything the same, and we follow a universal set of guidelines every time we create and serve a meal. Those guidelines are created to ensure that we always serve safe, high-quality and delicious food on campus, whether in our dining halls or at a special event,” Crozier said.

Crozier wants to make it clear to students that Sodexo is dedicated to improving its dining program, and the program is constantly growing and evolving.

Gale ready to streamline campus communication

6:52 AM

Story by Paige Ernste

Photo by Luke Nankivell

senate exec-w2000-h2000Times-Delphic: As newly elected student body president, what are the first steps you will take to improve Drake University?

Joey Gale: I have two initial steps that Josh (Duden, vice president of student life) and I are really focusing on. The first step will be getting our new senators transitioned. We obviously have a pretty young Senate this year, a majority of them being first-years with only two returners, those being Kevin Maisto and Olivia O’Hea, so a relatively new group of students. We’re going to make it our priority to get them up to speed as quickly as possible so we can have a successful first meeting on May 8 and be ready for the summer and prepare projects so that we can hit the ground running and be ready come August and September. The second step is to get the Senate 60 up and rolling. It was one of the things I campaigned on and something I’m pretty passionate about and believe will make a pretty big impact at Drake. What I want to do with that is get input, get stories, get concerns, get goals and reach out to students these last couple weeks before the semester ends. I want to gather information and then put that into a meaningful plan, which we’ll call the Senate 60, and then throughout the summer we’ll get those ideas rolling so by the time we get back to Drake, we already know what we’re doing so that there’s no wasted time getting up to speed.

TD: What do you believe is the most important issue Drake faces and that you plan to address immediately?

JG: One of the things from my “5-star” plan was addressing communication at Drake. There are a lot of avenues, a lot of channels and especially a lot of noise as to what’s happening at Drake. We don’t necessarily have one designated channel to gather information or find information. You know you can go into Olmsted Center and see table tents, see posters, and that’s easily one way to do it, but I think we need to streamline that process and work on a Drake app, work on getting that campus calendar kind of condensed, and work on communication as a whole. So those will be some of the first things I address.

TD: What are your long-term goals for your term of presidency?

JG: I have set goals for myself in a sense that I will want to make this a different Senate. Many years have been run on something that I call precedent. You know, it’s the way it’s been done before, so that’s the way we’re going to do it. And I don’t necessarily see that as helpful to the students. If there’s a process we use and it’s broken but we still use it, that shouldn’t be the case anymore. So one of my long-term goals is to look at past precedents that we’ve set and see if they’re helpful or harmful to the student body.

TD: What are you most excited for about being president?

JG: Speaking with past student body presidents, there’s a lot of — you know, I’ll be real here — there’s a lot of fun stuff you get to do. There’s a lot of cool meetings you get to attend, a lot of interesting and crazy people you get to meet just from being in the position, and I’m incredibly excited for those opportunities. I’m honored to be able to say I’ll be meeting with Larry Zimpleman for the presidential search committee. I get to sit on the committee that searches and eventually selects the new president for Drake University, so obviously that is a huge, huge part I’m excited about. I’m also excited about the “5-star” plan I campaigned on. I want to carry out each and every one of those promises I set during my campaign. I told every student that this is what I wanted to do and that I would do my best at carrying those out. But obviously, there are some things I guess I’m not excited for, you know. There’s a lot of days when academics will be tough, and there will be a lot going on, and I’ll have to set an agenda and get things up to speed. So there’s obviously a lot of fun, exciting perks for the job but also a lot of dedication and time being put into this position. I’m excited regardless. I’m excited for those tough nights, those tough decisions and the choices that come with that.

TD: What challenges will you have to overcome in order to carry out your goals?

JG: Again, touching back on to that precedent. There’s a lot of things that have been done at Drake and we typically say, “That’s the way it was done. Let’s keep doing it that way,” and a lot of challenges will be overcoming those. I’m not afraid to say, “Why not? Why can’t we do this? Why can’t we change that?” I want to be able to fight for those things that students really want, so I see that as one of the biggest challenges. University-wide, one of the biggest challenges for students is paying tuition. You know, tuition prices have been increasing every single year since I’ve been a student here, and it’s one of the things David Karaz addressed with the Board of Trustees this past January. I hope to do it again this fall and share with them that you come to Drake and you expect a certain level of service, and you’re paying a certain amount, and if prices are going up and services aren’t improving or staying consistent, then what’s going on there? I think that will be one of the biggest challenges as well.

TD: With whom will you be working with the most closely during your term?

JG: I work with the vice president of student life, Josh Duden, and the vice president of student activities, who also serves as the president of SAB, and that is Adam Graves. I’ll be working with them pretty much day in and day out. I’m extremely excited to work with them. They’re both incredibly passionate about what they do. I’ll be working with Ann Miller, the associate dean of students, who also works in the Student Life Offices in Olmsted. She is the faculty advisor who oversees the Student Senate, so I’m excited to work with her. I’ve had a fantastic relationship with her this year with Student Senate. We’ll be working a lot with President Maxwell this year as we transition into finding a new president, Dean of Students Sentwali Bakari, Provost Deneese Jones, as well as a large amount of other individuals.

TD: Tell me about the Senate 60 plan.

JG: Senate 60, like I stated earlier I believe, is a set of goals, projects, initiatives, that I want the 28th Session, the session this coming year, to focus on and essentially revolve around working on what students want. So we’re going to reach out to students, potentially in the form of a survey, and we’ll send that out to the student body, and it will simply ask for feedback, for ideas, and what they want to see their student government do. We’ll take that feedback. We’ll work with it over the summer. We’ll prepare it into the Senate 60. We’ll share that back with the students of what our goals are, and then we’ll work at executing those goals throughout the year. Obviously, I don’t anticipate accomplishing every single goal on the list, but my hope is that each goal will be addressed and each goal will have some form of a definition saying either a) we accomplished it or b) we couldn’t accomplish it because of “XYZ.” With the Senate 50 this year, we didn’t accomplish every goal, and it wasn’t the expectation to accomplish every goal, but we addressed every goal, and we looked into it, so I’m excited to get all that rolling here within the next few weeks.