Plaza being built to raise money

Lindsey Reed

A new program promoting leadership will soon be adding a touch of decor to the Hill.

A plaza is being planned for the walkway between the directional halls. It would include engraved bricks, benches and memorial stones for student organizations and others to purchase.

The goal is to break ground by May, said Scott Taylor, director of student activity organization and leadership.

“The Compass Plaza was designed to celebrate student leadership and service,” he said.

Each engraved brick costs $150. A 4-foot engraved bench or a 15-by-15 inch memorial stone costs $1,500.

Light poles displaying a plaque can also be purchased for $2,000.

“It’s an opportunity for people to pay tribute,” Taylor said.

They will work with landscaping and others to design the plaza with an appropriate balance of stones and benches, he said.

The initial plan is for 27 groups to be involved, he said. There are currently 12 to 15 verbal commitments.

“We’re using this as a mechanism for student groups to raise money for their leadership efforts,” he said.

The student organizations would have the opportunity to recover the funds used to purchase the stones.

The goal is for each group to purchase 280 to 300 bricks, he said.

The payment would be divided into an account for the group’s development, the university leadership initiative and maintenance of the Compass Plaza, he said.

Howard Bailey, dean of Student Life, said they tried to design the project so that as little funds as possible would go toward upkeep and labor.

“It’s going to be attractive, and it’s going to be unique and something that Western has never done before,” he said.

The plan for the Compass Plaza has been in the works since the dorms were remodeled, Taylor said.

The next step is to follow up on commitments, collect money and order the stones, he said.

“We hope to have everything done by homecoming of next year,” Taylor said.

Members of the Student Life office visited the University of Alabama, which has a similar area, he said.

The Campus Activities Board will be interested in the Compass Plaza as the stones become available for purchase, CAB assistant Azurdee Garland said.

Parents can also buy a brick in honor of a graduate, Taylor said.

The Student Government Association recently passed a proposal to purchase a $1,500 engraved memorial stone.

SGA President John Bradley said members will also be selling surrounding bricks.

After SGA sells more than 30 bricks, the funds would be used to benefit the Student Emergency Relief Fund.

“In the case of SGA, it will certainly benefit students with an urgent need for financial aid,” he said.

Reach Lindsey Reed at [email protected]