Student Senate votes to improve plaza

Dallas sophomore Troy Dixon speaks at a Student Senate meeting on Thursday at the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Thomas Mott | Reporter

Student Senate passed a bill on Thursday evening allowing funds from the Student Government Allocation Fund to be put toward the improvement of the Traditions Plaza located next to the Immortal Ten statue. The vote was 26-6.

Currently, the Traditions Plaza is filled with dirt that becomes very muddy during rain, which makes it difficult to walk on.

“You can’t walk any of that area. You have to walk around. It becomes completely muddy and is just a mess,” said Fort Worth junior and Student Senator Elizabeth Larson.

Matt Burchett, director of Student Activities, said Baylor received a $50,000 donation to put toward this project.

The Student Senate’s bill originally only allowed for $5,000 of the Student Government Allocation Fund to go to the Traditions Plaza; however, the bill was amended to allow for $15,000 to be put toward this project.

The student government website explains that “The Student Government Allocation Fund (SGAF) is a financial resource available to those seeking to create a universitywide impact through campus improvement projects, social events, educational causes and charitable endeavors.”

Burchett said there is a five-step process to the improvements. The first step is to improve drainage and irrigation in the space so it does not get muddy. The second step is to create more hardscaping, or man-made features. The third step is to protect the historic trees by placing barriers and walls around them. The fourth step is to place lighting around the space so it is usable at night. Finally, the plan is to put climbing ivy on and around all of the walls.

While the additional $15,000 put into the fund by the Student Senate is not enough to begin construction on the square, it is a step toward getting the area improved. Burchett said this will be a six-figure project and will need additional funding on top of the $50,000 donation and the $15,000 from the Student Government Allocation Fund to be able to fully complete this project.

Larson, the bill’s author, said she hopes additional funding can be secured so the Traditions Plaza can look better and be more functional for students.

“They are just really going to beautify the space, and they are also going to make it more accessible for students,” Larson said.