A committee consisting of faculty, students, staff and alumni are currently accepting name ideas via online submission for the new student center, for which construction begins March 7.
Dr. Beth Hellwig, vice chancellor of student affairs and chair member of the steering committee for the new student center, said the committee was formed based on a policy put in place for buildings without major financial donors. She said since students are paying for the building through fees and 20-year bonds, they should have an equal say in the naming process.
“In order for (the chancellor) to have names to consider, he appointed a committee,” Hellwig said. “And where there is a building that is paid by students, there are more students than faculty on the committee.”
Charles Farrell, director of university centers and a member of the steering and naming committee, says the naming of the building will help to quickly identify its significance to both the university and Eau Claire community.
“I’m glad that we’re going to name the building (through submissions and committees),” he said. “There was a talk about just calling it ‘the student center.’ My belief is … when you name a building later, the name you open it with is the name that sticks … to not (name it) creates a generic nature, and why name a building to make it generic?”
Senior Al Schreiber said he likes the idea of opening up submissions to the whole community.
“(Students and the community) will feel more connected to the project, almost like they had a hand in building the new center,” he said.
The process itself begins with submissions from students, faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti and the community. E-mails and letters were sent out containing a link or questionnaire for submissions, but anyone interested can go online and submit a name with an optional 250-word rationale. Submissions will be accepted through March 4 at noon.
Submissions will be presented anonymously to the committee.
In terms of name submission criteria, Hellwig said the committee will “just ask for people to identify someone with integrity, that are ethical and that reflect the mission of the university, or a history with the university.”
The committee, consisting of Hellwig, Farrell, Student Body President Dylan Jambrek and alumni will then meet to look over submissions, then select up to three names for
“It’s the chancellors decision in the end because it’s a state building,” Farrell said. “The Board of Regents will then endorse the chancellor’s final decision.”
Farrell says there may not be an enormously wide range of submissions, and that the committee will probably sit down with what he guesses to be a half dozen ideas. He said the name Davies may have a good chance of being the name again.
“Quite a few people have submitted keeping the name as Davies, and that certainly may be the end result, but there are other options,” Hellwig said. “But we don’t want to set precedence for all future buildings, like if Phillips comes or a dorm, it doesn’t always have to be that name.”
Schreiber said that he would not be opposed to keeping the name Davies on the building.
“One of the options (submitted to the chancellor) should definitely be ‘keep the old name,’” he said. “Of course, older students and alumni may still refer to it as Davies, but a new name for a new face is always good.”
Farrell said that he thinks the committee will have recommendations for the chancellor by the end of this month, and that afterwards “he will probably not take a long time to decide.”
Hellwig expressed her excitement about the naming process, as it signifies the closeness of the project’s much anticipated start and eventual completion.
“This is the first building, other than a residence hall, in 28 years that’s been built on campus and it is an amazing building,” Hellwig said. “There have been hundreds of students involved [and they] have been the centerpiece of our project.”