Students at USF next fall will be able to participate in new traditions starting thanks to a competition dreamed up by the new student body president.
The Student Government Traditions Competition allowed students to provide their own ideas about traditions that should be a part of the university.
Out of 51 ideas submitted by students online during the two-week competition, five were selected for students to vote on now through the end of finals week.
Students can vote here: www.sg.usf.edu/vote
To stimulate a strong fan base of the traditions, they may begin during Week of Welcome or Homecoming Week in the fall semester when there are high amounts of school spirit.
Brian Goff, student body president and a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, believes traditions are important because they add to the overall university experience.
“The experience needs to be more than just going to and from class and studying,” Goff said. “It’s supposed to be the time of your life and traditions really add to that, that’s what makes the fun memories and makes you more likely as an alumni to want to come back to homecoming and different events.”
The competition does not force new traditions on campus. Instead, it is an opportunity for student involvement and for student voices to be heard.
But, students weren’t the only ones to be heard.
Bryan Bejar, an alumnus who graduated in fall 2010 and majored in marketing, started a Facebook page titled Building Tradition at USF last fall when the Big East Conference was being realigned. USF was in question of being picked up by another conference since it doesn’t have as much attendance at sporting events or as many traditions.
“I created BTUSF with the intention of giving students, alumni, Tampa Bay community and faculty a place to come and submit their ideas and encourage them to give the group their ideas of what they’d like to see started at USF,” Bejar said.
Bejar gathered all the ideas and presented them to groups on campus like, the Alumni Association.
The idea Bejar has seen the most is having a real Brahma Bull on campus or at Raymond James Stadium during the football games. Another popular idea is a USF float for the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates.
“A lot of people have ideas they just don’t know where to go with them,” Bejar said.
When Bejar saw the advertisement for the traditions competition, he figured it would be a great opportunity to meet with Goff and Papadeas and present a list of 12 ideas, totaling 63 traditions in the competition.
There were new ideas submitted, but there was also an option to submit an existing idea and give it recognition.
George Papadeas, student body vice president and a junior majoring in marketing, said reoccurring ideas were submitted, like campus involvement activities, but would not release the five chosen to keep a “nice little surprise for the students.”
Even though 51 ideas is a small amount compared to the 40,000 plus students that attend the university, Goff and Papadeas were satisfied with the amount of submissions.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be a couple hundred but we knew there would be some buy in and there would be students willing to participate in it,” Papadeas said.
Goff first thought of the contest when he and Papadeas were brainstorming ideas about what they wanted to see accomplished during their time in office before they started to campaign.
“We knew we wanted to focus on traditions,” Goff said. “We were looking at the campaigns in the past. Matt and Zach (previous student body president and vice president) focused on awareness of traditions and we felt that wasn’t the issue.”
Goff believes the issue stems from a need for students to participate and decide their own traditions.
“If students get a say, they are going to want to participate and they are the ones building the tradition,” he said.
Goff and Papadeas are looking forward to see how students respond to the traditions during the voting and hope to continue this competition in the future.
“Hopefully, this competition will be around for a couple years… hopefully this competition will become a tradition,” Goff said.