Last Wednesday, the student groups of the College could be found at tables lined up along the sidewalk from the Alumni Grove to Brower Student Center. Despite the heat, representatives of each group manned their respective tables from noon until 3 p.m. as part of the mass recruitment drive known as the Student Organization Activities Fair.
However, a handful of groups, including Lions Now, formerly known as The Journal, were deprived of their three hours in the sun. The table for Lions Now, the campus TV show, was situated inside the student center, along with the tables for ROTC and the Air Force.
The reason, according to Tim Asher, director of Student Activities and Leadership Development, is that Lions Now is not recognized as an organization by the Student Government Association (SGA).
“The Student Organization Activities Fair is open to all recognized and registered student organizations,” Asher said. “Groups such as The Journal may have participated in the past, but we are trying to tighten up our policies and procedures for the benefit of all students.”
Scott Pioli, director of Lions Now, took issue with the change.
“Lions Now is a completely revamped group looking to become a legitimate organization on campus and the activities fair would have been a major way for us to recruit new members, especially freshmen,” he said via e-mail. “Not letting us be ‘direct’ participants because we are not SGA-recognized is unfair.”
Pioli said the presence of Lions Now outside with the other organizations “would not have hurt anybody,” while being relegated to the inside of the student center adversely affected the recruitment efforts of Lions Now.
“Looking at other groups’ signup sheets, which were pages long, and comparing it to ours, which was only a page, showed me the difference,” Pioli said.
Lions Now, and The Journal before it, have been run through the communication studies department, which provided equipment and other means for members of Lions Now to produce a TV show.
However, after Pioli received an e-mail from Carol Willis of the division of Student Activities and Leadership Development on Aug. 29 informing him that only SGA-recognized organizations were allowed to participate in the activities fair, he took steps to become SGA-recognized, including drafting a constitution. Pioli also cited access to Student Finance Board funding as a reason to take this step.
“Hopefully, we will be recognized after that and be allowed to participate directly in the activities fair,” Pioli said.
Asher maintained that he would continue to adhere to the rules in the future.
“We receive many inquiries during the year for participation in the fair,” Asher said. “Academic departments, outside vendors and many non-recognized student groups ask to participate. In order to be consistent the fairest thing is to follow our guidelines.”
“However, to assist those groups who are not student organizations yet or who simply function like one in many respects, we permitted them to have a table nearby in the student center,” Asher continued. “This way students who are members of those groups, as well as students who may like to join, still had an opportunity to connect. This seemed to work, so I anticipate that we will continue this practice next year.”