Jaipuriar: SU campus highlights from the 2015-16 school year
This past year was an eventful one with remarkable levels of Orange pride. From memorable high-profile campus visits to the SU campus collectively “peaking” with excitement when both the men’s and women’s basketball teams reached the Final Four.
Here are some highlights before the seniors graduate and leave the lovely bubble that is ‘Cuse.
An amazing lineup of speakers
The most notable speaker that came to campus this academic year was Vice President Joe Biden in November. The SU alumnus addressed the campus as part of the nationwide “It’s On Us” week, a campaign to prevent sexual assault. Biden — who will be at the College of Law convocation this weekend — won over the audience with his usual charm, bold message and selfie-taking skills.
Other noteworthy figures to visit SU included the mothers of Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin and CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield at the “(In)Justice For All” panel. In April, SU even welcomed former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in her appearance to talk foreign policy, which stirred up controversy in response to her past political decisions.
These enriching opportunities that expose the student body to influential public figures prove that college is so much more than a degree on a piece of paper. And even though graduates will still have similar opportunities in the “real world,” they are a lot more accessible and friendly in a campus atmosphere.
Greek life in the spotlight
The release of Alex Purdy’s “Why I left my sorority” video in late January gained national attention when the SU senior highlighted her negative experiences within greek life.
But Purdy’s message was a tough pill for many to swallow considering greek life is such a prominent part of SU’s campus culture. Critics called her out for choosing not to name her sorority and releasing the video during Panhellenic recruitment.
Issues with the perception of greek life became even more public when Lianna Hursh, an SU junior magazine major, published a USA Today piece that greek life is not the cause of these problems, but rather a “girl vs. girl” culture.
There has now been more of an active effort to make the greek experience more positive and to dispel negative stereotypes at SU. And by being mindful of these negative stereotypes and actively working to be kinder to everyone, students together can go a long way to make college an overall better experience.
Ongoing administrative initiatives
SU went through various changes as an institution to improve campus climate and infrastructure. The Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion released a report in March that made recommendations to hire a chief diversity officer for the university and create a Diversity and Inclusion Council. In the meantime, Chancellor Kent Syverud has worked to increase research funding.
During this year’s past Student Association administration, President Aysha Seedat and Vice President Jane Hong tackled issues such as diversity, sexual assault and student safety. Their most popular accomplishment was securing free transportation to Houston and Indianapolis for the basketball teams’ Final Four games. Carrying on Student Association in Seedat and Hong’s place next year will be President Eric Evangelista and Vice President Joyce LaLonde of the 60th Legislative Session.
SU makes it to the Final Four
The best moment of the year was definitely when the men’s and women’s basketball teams advanced to the Final Four. The campus came alive after a long winter of hibernation, most clearly at Castle Court, where celebrations continued despite a “ban.”
For freshmen, it reaffirmed their decision to attend Syracuse and showed them what bleeding Orange truly meant. For seniors, it was a throwback to the men’s 2013 Final Four appearance and the perfect way to end their ‘Cuse journey.
Mayfest and Block Party end the year right
While Big Sean and BØRNS had memorable Juice Jam performances to start off the year, University Union pretty much crushed it with the spring festivities.
Walnut Park was filled with the sounds of Vince Staples, PUBLIC and Louis the Child, and everyone was feasting on endless corn-dogs. Even a little rain couldn’t stop the seniors from having a final hoorah.
For most students, the day started with pre-games all around campus and ended at the Carrier Dome, jamming out to The Chainsmokers. Even if students didn’t know the artists, the atmosphere made them fans for the night. Jon Bellion started off Block Party with a big bang, leading up to Chance the Rapper rocking his hits “Sunday Candy” and “Ultralight Beam” — which literally brought some audience members to tears.
In the big finale, The Chainsmokers hyped the stage with fiery remixes and SU alum Drew Taggart yelling “everybody f***ing jump.”
It was a perfect way to end the year ‘Cuse-style, right before the emotional highs and lows of finals week and graduation.
That’s a wrap
It’s clear that the SU campus community both worked hard and played hard this year in academics, athletics and the social scene. Thank you, seniors, for showing underclassmen how it’s done.
Rashika Jaipuriar is a freshman broadcast and digital journalism major. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @rashikajpr.
Published on May 10, 2016 at 4:05 pm