SGA president: statue would help school pride

The University of South Dakota is home of the Coyotes.
However, there is no visual evidence of the mascot on USD's campus.
USD's student government association is aiming to change that with its plan to place a coyote statue on campus.
"As we make the transition to Division I, it's a needed project," said SGA president Tim Carr. "I can't name one school that doesn't have a signature statue. Penn State has a lion, their mascot, and it's one of the biggest attractions on its campus."
The idea of a coyote statue has started to pick up steam during this year's SGA sessions, but Carr said this isn't the first time it's been discussed.
"Originally, you can go back several years from when the talk of a coyote statue originated," he said. "People could've been talk about it for 20 years for all we know."
The committee studying this proposal is recommending the statue be placed somewhere in the vast green space between Old Main and Cherry Street.
 Early discussions about the statue included talk about it perhaps serving as a memorial to individuals who have died while students at USD.
"Initially, the idea for the statue was for student pride, but that morphed into the idea of a student memorial as well," Carr said.
After SGA discussed the matter, they came up with the idea to have the statue and the student memorial remain as two separate projects.
"After we looked into it, there were some problems," Carr said. "The idea of having the mascot for the memorial is troubling, and it also became apparent of the current ways students are already memorized."
A separate committee has already been formed to look into a student memorial.
 "We don't want to take away from the existing efforts that memorialize students," Carr said. "We are going to assess how we are doing it, and how we can do it better."
Another roadblock for the statue could be finances, but Carr said those shouldn't be a problem.
The statue would cost an estimated $50,000, but Carr said there is enough money in SGA's funds to easily pay for the project.
"There's a surplus in the general fund that has rolled-over, and it's hard to track how far back the rollover goes," Carr said. "We've got to have a reserve for a cushion, but there is no reason to have as big of a surplus that we have. The SGA account shouldn't be a savings account."
The surplus has accumulated so much money because student organization didn't spend the money that was allotted to them, Carr said.
SGA won't be paying the full $50,000 price tag though.
The SGA plans to eventually vote on whether to approve a $20,000 allocation to help pay for the statue.
Carr said one of the ways some of the remaining $30,000 needed for the statute can be raised is through the USD student philanthropy project.
"Last year, $11,000 was raised for a chandelier for Slagle Hall, so we are projecting $10 to $15,000 from that," he said.
The remaining balance after the $20,000 and the money raised by the philanthropy project would be raised by the USD Foundation, Carr said.
Carr said there has been some opposition to the project, but a student survey was released to students showing the support is there. About 850 students voted in the poll with 80 percent of the students favoring a statue.
"The statue will serve as a symbol of school pride for every student, and it creates something for everyone," Carr said. "It would be great to see students rubbing its nose for luck, or to see the coyote dressed up before the football games."

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