Student Government introduces plans for a stadium concert, student beach parking, and bar safety

Student body president Kevin Buchanan and vice president Celine Persaud have been working to bring changes to the FAU community for the Spring semester on and off-campus.

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Student body Vice President Celine Persaud and President Kevin Buchanan.

Israel Fontoura, Managing Editor

It’s difficult to get out of a date at a bar you know is going awry. How can you excuse yourself? Who can you call if there’s nobody around to pick you up? That’s why Student Government plans to give you an easy out if you’re at a local bar. 

This semester, SG is aiming to partner with local bars to create Owl Shots. If you order an Owl Shot a specific way to the bartender, they’ll know to either walk you to your car, call a taxi or call the police.  

Student body president Kevin Buchanan and vice president Celine Persaud are working to make that the case come Spring. Some other goals they’re working toward are free student parking at nearby beaches, stadium concerts, and discounted test preparation programs.

Last March, the pair was elected with Buchanan previously serving as SG’s chief financial officer, and Persaud as associate director of the Council of Student Organizations (COSO), which supervises registered student organizations

Since then, they’ve worked with faculty, SG members, and even local officials to bring changes to the FAU community.

As chair of the University Budget Appropriations Committee (UBAC), Persaud presides the hearings and deliberations of the funding for university-wide departments, facilities, and programs. As president, Buchanan approves or vetoes campus House or Senate legislation which can impact events, campus initiatives, and student life.

Here’s what some of that money has been going to so far, and what students can expect to see soon:

Beyond campus

Off-campus, SG is working alongside local bars and owners to introduce Owl Shots, a specific drink you can order to signal to the bartender you’re in an uncomfortable situation. All they have to do is ask for an Owl Shot neat, lime, or on the rocks, each with differing levels of severity. This initiative will be on display in both men’s and women’s restrooms.

 “We have had reports that a couple of students have actually used this and we have had very positive feedback on this,” Persaud noted.

 Here’s what the bartender will do for you, if the program is established, based on your order: 

  • Neat tells the bartender that you, as an individual, need to be walked to your car. 
  • Lime signals that the bartender should call them a cab or taxi service. 
  • On the rocks alerts the bartender that they need to intervene for the individual, like calling the police if a situation poses a threat.

SG is also working with the Boca Raton City Council and Parks and Recreation Department to implement student access to golf courses and free parking at beaches throughout the city. All students need is their Owl Card.

“That’s everything for me. [Making] sure that students here have access to be able to go ahead and get these mental health breaks,” Buchanan said.

Concerts

Last semester, SG brought big names to the university to kick off football season. 

BET Hip Hop Award-winning artist Waka Flocka Flame headlined the annual Bonfire in September and American Idol winner Kris Allen also performed free for students. At this year’s Homecoming concert in October, students saw Billboard-charting artists Aminé and Ari Lennox in the auditorium for $10, compared to last year’s $21 ticket.

During the Spring semester, students say goodbye to football season, but SG has plans to use the stadium for FAU’s first-ever stadium concert. The $70 million stadium was only used eight times for football games this Fall, according to Buchanan.

Persaud said that the Spring semester tends to be “very slow,” so this would give students an event to look forward to and promote FAU to both students and the community. The approved Senate bill outlined that the stadium concert would “strengthen the bond of the student body and increase school spirit.”

Because of funding, Buchanan mentioned they are looking to bring in country music artists who are relatively cheaper compared to pop artists, so they’ll be able to bring more than one act to perform.

The Student Body President and the President’s Administrative Cabinet have allocated $150,000 from the SG Fund Reserve account to go to the event, in a joint effort with the Athletic Department. 

Buchanan and Persaud have started working on the spring event but could not provide extra detail.

On-campus

In his State of the Union address, Buchanan announced they’re implementing a parking citation leniency system. The initiative would allow students to have a warning instead of being automatically ticketed.

“Most of the time, the people getting parking tickets, don’t know why they’re even getting them in the first place,” he said. “It seems so small, but this is actually something that affects all students across [FAU].”

Buchanan and Persaud also negotiated a 40 percent student discount for online and in-person preparation programs for tests like the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT, which can cost upwards of $4,000, according to Buchanan.

“[It was] a huge priority for ourselves, making sure that every student has the opportunity to thrive within their undergraduate [and go] forward within their graduate-level degrees,” he said.

Student Union

Since the summer, the Student Union (SU) has undergone a $24 million remodeling project and SG has allocated $150,000 of its funding to the new esports arena. Through this donation, SG will be recognized as a sponsor of the new addition.

Michael Cooper, director of the Student Union, said during an August Senate meeting that the arena will have top of the line PCs and to expect about 40 to 45 gaming tables with the SG logo on the mouse pads, gaming chairs, and surrounding television monitors to show their sponsorship. 

The SU is the number one place for student engagement, according to Buchanan. But since construction, students have not been able to get much use from it this Fall.

The new esports arena would dedicate a space for FAU to host gaming tournaments and work with organizations like the FAU eSports club. The arena is expected to open next year.

“It’s going to change the dynamic of what our union is… we’re going to be having million-dollar tournaments be coming through,” Buchanan said. 

Buchanan also noted that the SU is finally moving away from bulletin boards with new TV monitors, reducing the use of paper flyers. Now, students and organizations will be able to promote events on the monitors throughout the building. 

“An OwlCentral submission is not going to do it for a person that’s trying to actively get people to come to their event,” Buchanan said, referring to club and organization leaders who regularly host events. He added that this will give students a chance to “market themselves.”

“Being a commuter campus, we have to work around our students, not have them work around us,” Buchanan said. 

Persaud added, “There’s a lot to be excited for in the next couple of months, and I am elated to be a part of this change.”