SMU Student Boulevard Needs to Change
SMU Student Boulevard Needs to Change
SMU teaches us that "world changers are shaped here" and that we change the world by using our voice. But what does this mean if SMU Athletics doesn’t hear what our voices have to say?
We urge you to listen:
To whom it may concern,
The SMU student body has some growing concerns regarding the new student boulevard, “Mustang Mall.” As avid supporters of all things SMU, we were huge fans of boulevarding. When the announcement of Mustang Mall was made back last semester, we were shocked, upset, and skeptical. But, this past weekend, we thought we would give it a chance. We greatly appreciate the SMU Athletic Department and Department of Student Affairs intentions to encourage student turnout at the football games - we love supporting our Mustangs. However, we believe you failed to realize the consequences that this change made. Though we know attendance at the football game is the primary goal for SMU, the student body feels that the boulevard experience is an aspect that requires more thoughtful attention than what you have given it. While we wish you had allowed for an initial conversation with the student body before making this drastic change, we understand that this change was made with the best of intentions. Yet, having been to Mustang Mall this weekend, we no longer believe the students' feelings were taken into account when making this decision. We have created a list of our concerns pertaining to the safety, well being, and concern of the SMU students (because, as a result of Mustang Mall, the student body’s safety is being ignored):
- By moving the student section from Dallas Hall lawn, the student body is separated from the rest of the community of alumni, family, and Dallas residents and the tradition of being on the boulevard as a whole. As a result, students are avoiding Mustang Mall altogether to participate in boulevarding with their friends and family along side the rest of the community.
- One of the biggest selling points to prospective students is the tradition of the boulevard. If I were a prospective SMU student at this past weekend’s student boulevard, I would be unimpressed with the school’s lack of spirit (due to the low turnout of students).
- It is no secret that even underage, students drink before the boulevard. By moving the student section, students were discouraged from attending Mustang Mall at all, and thus, remained off-campus at unregulated/unsupervised venues to consume alcohol.
- There was an alarming lack of shade on Mustang Mall. With 100º+ weather, this is a huge danger to the safety of the students, and there was a shocking shortage of water available.
- Due to the location of this new section, the away team (in this case, UNT) participated in the student activities. This makes the students feel uncomfortable and takes away from the SMU spirit. Attached is a photo, tweeted by SMU Football Coach Sonny Dykes that shows the UNT fans in the student section.
- There is a very apparent lack of student organization representation at this new location. Students take pride in the organizations they are apart of and look forward to sharing that with the SMU community at the boulevard. Student organizations are the backbone of the SMU undergraduate community, and many do not have the budgets or means to pay for a tent on Mustang Mall. In previous years, this was not an issue and all groups were represented fairly on Dallas Hall Lawn. Now, students of all organizations feel unwelcome because they cannot afford the means to be represented.
- Local businesses such as Flash Photography were discouraged by the lack of students present, and it hurt their typical business they would receive at a student boulevard. The last thing we want it to hurt the local businesses that support SMU so well.
While there was a great student turnout at the football game itself, there was a very low student presence at the new student boulevard.
We understand that our concerns might differ from yours, but we just ask that you, the SMU Athletic Department and SMU Department of Student Affairs, listen to what the student body is saying. As SMU students, we feel that our voices should be heard in regards to game day traditions. We know there is no perfect solution that will please everyone, but we would like to start a discussion about this issue, as we feel collectively that our opinions are the majority. We appreciate your time and understanding in support of the SMU student body. Please feel free to reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we may start a conversation with general members of the student population represented and heard.
Thank you for taking the time to listen.