William Noujaim for Horizons
By Julian O’Connor, Copy Editor
Although Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott Campus has many recreational facilities for students, including a pool, basketball court, tennis court, and more, one thing not among them is a skate park. This has been a somewhat long-standing complaint of the study body. Back in October of 2021, the Student Government Association (SGA) sent out an email to all students with a petition to sign if they wanted a skate park to be built.
The October petition had, by November 2021, convinced SGA that the students did want a skate park. The SGA approved funding for it, and the same petition was offered for students to sign to convince the Student Campus Enrichment Fund (SCEF) and the campus Space Committee to build the skate park.
The email in November was the last update sent out to all students about the status of the skate park. Luckily, SGA President Hunter Langemo was happy to provide more information. The status of the project has undergone many changes since the student body was last informed of it.
As of Feb. 15, SCEF had approved one-third of the funding for the skate park project, and SGA was planning to hold a vote on Feb. 24 to decide whether or not they wanted to approve the other two-thirds of the funding. This was switched from the original plan, where SGA would approve one-third, and SCEF two-thirds, because the previous plan was “based on the precedent of how the SGA Basketball court was funded.” In the case of the skate park, the “SGA now has more funding in their reserve than SCEF, so SCEF was hoping SGA could chip in more to the project.”
Langemo went on to explain that “To be good stewards of student dollars, SGA is polling the student body to get their input and will take that input into consideration when voting on the project.” He also said that, at that point, “a supermajority (>60%) has voiced support for the project.”
During that time, SGA was also “working with the university to approve a site for the skate park.” Langemo said that “Risk Management and insurance has already approved a plan for operations if funding is approved, and all of Campus Leadership Committee (CLC) has voiced support for the project.”
Langemo said that he supported the project, saying “I can support any project that has the support of the student body behind it, as I represent the student body, especially if it is a supermajority of the student body.” As president, he enjoys being able to empower “student voices by recognizing petitions that have significant support, and acting on them if I can acquire the ability to do so.”
He also talked about the benefits of a potential skate park: “The project is intended to provide a facility to all students, similar to the basketball court, volleyball court, tennis court, and other recreational facilities. In comparison to these facilities, we predict a similar amount of usage, if not more. Furthermore, by designating a facility like this specific to skateboarders, roller skaters, scooters, among other uses, this reduces the amount of traffic they will have elsewhere on campus and reduces collisions and damage to university facilities.”
At that point, the future of the skate park was looking bright. With a supermajority of the student body supporting the project, it seemed likely that SGA would approve the funding. When the vote was held on Feb. 24, the statistics of the student body survey were as follows:
Yes: 157 (61.57 percent)
No: 92 (36.08 percent)
Not answered: 6 (2.35 percent)
However, as Langemo says “more council members decided to not vote consistent with the student’s feedback.” The results of the SGA vote are as follows:
Yes: 3 votes
No: 5 votes
Abstain: 2 abstentions
Langemo says that the SGA Vice-President only votes in case of a tie, and that the President will only sign legislation that has been approved. In this case, the project was not approved by the council, and so it seems, despite the student body’s wishes, they will not be getting a skate park. Unfortunately, the students will have to make do with the current facilities, until perhaps either more students support the project, or there is more money to fund it.