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The Antelope

The Antelope

Campus needs proactive students, responsive UNK officials

WILKENS ARCHITECTURE DESIGN PLANNING Past students devised plans for on-campus sand volleyball.

Election season is upon us. We are excited to see candidates who are passionate about advocating for the UNK study body. 

As campaign week revs up, we encourage the next student government team to be more proactive, and we urge UNK officials to honor the wishes of the UNK study body. 

Whoever holds these student positions should be motivated to bring forth results despite the challenges. The pandemic made action difficult for student groups right out of the gate.

For example, Max Beal and Trey Janicek were the president and vice president elected in the unfortunate circumstances of spring 2020 — in the thick of the pandemic. When their inauguration was delayed by six months, we knew it would be a quiet year. 

Despite having a hopeful campaign, their most notable achievements were the push for periodic COVID-19 email updates, and the blue and yellow chairs outside the Union. 

On the other hand, Nicole Kent and Katie Schultis — Beal and Janicek’s successors — wanted more for campus than blue and yellow chairs. 

Five years prior to the 2019-20 term, UNK students requested sand volleyball courts on campus, but the terms ended and student officials graduated before any progress could be made.

During Kent and Schultis’s run, the UNK seniors discussed plans with Wilkens Architecture Design Planning in Kearney for sand volleyball courts in place of Otto Olsen. The plans included three sand volleyball courts, light posts, shower stations and shades, according to a UNK Today Kearney Hub article titled “UNK students to get much-requested sand volleyball courts.”

The central location would have saved students the trip to the Big Apple for intramural sand volleyball games. 

However, as soon as Kent and Schultis graduated in spring 2020, the five-year-long requests from students were forgotten by UNK officials. 

Instead, Otto Olsen is being replaced with grass, sidewalks, parking and an antelope statue. We wonder if this space, called the 26th Street Mall, is truly what the students want for UNK. 

We understand that it is too late in the Otto Olsen landscaping process to backtrack. Green space is needed to market a college campus to incoming students, and we appreciate the parking spaces added to accommodate the Fraternity and Sorority Life housing. 

But is the 26th Street Mall the most optimal use of the Otto Olsen space?

Aside from the sand volleyball idea, the UNK students could use an on-campus pool facility since the wrestling room is replacing Cushing Pool. Or we wouldn’t object to a new building for the UNK Department of Communication, since the library is being renovated.

We are interested to see what the 26th Street Mall will bring to campus and whether it will be completed by spring graduation.

Moving forward, we hope campus officials will continue to consider what students want. As for the students running for office, we hope they can draw from these past examples and propel UNK Student Government toward a more proactive role on this campus.

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