DSUSA hopes to increase funding, involvement this spring

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The Dixie State University Student Association has been busy attempting to drastically transform DSU and hopes to continue this mindset into the spring.

Student Body President Gregory J. Layton, a senior English major from Cottonwood Heights, had many goals he hoped for DSUSA to achieve fall semester, including to increase attendance in clubs, organize bigger and better events, increase funding for academics, create a stronger DSU identity, bring awareness to rape and sexual assault, and build the new service branch of DSUSA. Although DSUSA accomplished some of these goals fall semester, there is still much that is left undone, he said.

Since 2011, there has been an 85 percent increase in event attendance and a 62 percent increase in the number of clubs, bringing the total to 79 clubs. DSUSA increased club attendance by encouraging existing club members to personally reach out and invite others to join.

The DSU Student Senate passed 18 new bills and raised slightly more than $16,000 for academics. Most of this money will help fund conferences and new equipment for various departments.

DSUSA conducted a survey to see how students felt about DSU’s identity and mascot during the late fall.

“It became clear that most students do not like the current mascot,” Layton said.

The survey opened up discussion Layton said he hopes will be able to be turned into a proposal, which he will present to the board of trustees and DSU President Richard Williams.

The initiative to bring awareness to rape and sexual assault was not as successful as Layton had hoped.

“We tried to push for it on social media and physically at campus events,” Layton said. “It kind of died out, though. I’m not sure why it didn’t go as planned, but we will be working on it more next semester.”

Layton said he will be making sure Title IX policies are up to par and will be making more of a push to bring awareness to sexual assault and its effects this spring.

This was the first year DSUSA had an official service branch and service-specific vice president.

“We act as the bridge between the community and the university, providing volunteer opportunities for students,” said Megan Church, vice president of service and a senior integrated studies major from St. George.

The DSUSA service branch facilitated 30 different service projects last semester. These included raising 15,000 cans for the Utah food bank, holding a 9/11 memorial service, and restoring a park in the community. It also has big goals for the future to expand the program.

“We had our adviser Joel [Griffin] go around to other universities in Utah to observe their service programs and network with them,” Church said. “We’ll be taking a little bit of each one to apply to our own program … We hope to one day have our own Service Learning Center on campus.”

Some of the big events planned for the spring semester by the service branch are a food drive, a blood drive and a 24-hour service marathon.

Jordon Sharp, director of student involvement and leadership, said one of the biggest goals for DSUSA this semester is to “focus on increasing funding, participation, scholarships and projects for the new DSUSA service branch.”

Some of the other goals for spring semester are to have an actual proposition to change the school identity, increase clubs, and have bigger and better events. DSUSA is working on a new Student Involvement Team to help students get involved.

“This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the ‘D’ on the hill and we have prepared and budgeted to have the biggest and best D-Week celebration to date,” Sharp said.

Also planned is a festival-style spring break concert that Layton said is going to be different than what DSUSA has ever planned before. 

“We want to make the event more of a festival that includes involvement with the community by bringing local musical talent, local companies, and local music fans,” he said. 

The end goal in mind with all of DSUSA’s changes is to create a sense of unity among DSU students, faculty and the community.

“Overall, I’m happy with [DSUSA’s] achievements,” Layton said. “We’re still not that unified as a whole unit, but we’re a lot better off than we were a couple of years ago.”