Be your own Valentine

By: Matt Miller
Special to Horizons

Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is about buying lavish gifts for your significant other or someone you’ve got your eye on in the hopes that you can impress them.  

But this year, I would like to challenge you to do something drastically different: be your own valentine.

Practicing self-care can be a foreign concept to some, as we spend most of our time trying to impress our professors, supervisors, significant others, and parents.  

Telling ourselves positive affirmations, making gratitude lists or treating ourselves to dinner and a movie are great ways to practice self-love.  

Ask yourself: what am I doing today to take care of myself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually?

If you are in a relationship, buying something for your significant other can be a kind gesture that lets the other know that you are thinking about them.  

However, try to attach a poem, meaningful love letter, or art project to the gift this year in an effort to break away from the mundane, run-of-the-mill Valentine’s Day gift.  

When was the last time you made a gratitude list?  If your answer is, “What’s a gratitude list?” then listen up! A gratitude list is simply that: a list of things that you are grateful for.

 Often times, we spend too much of our brain power on solving problems and thinking about the negative but rarely do we take time out of our day to focus on the positive.  

In reality, we all have great qualities and much to be grateful for!

Try making a gratitude list this Valentine’s Day, or any day, to practice self-care and positive thinking.

In my opinion, positive affirmations are the most important tool a person can learn.  

From an early age, many people develop conscious or unconscious negative beliefs about themselves, often rooted in bullying or trauma.  

These negative beliefs can fester in our minds and affect our happiness, self-esteem, relationships and decision-making.  

Do yourself a favor:  look in the mirror and tell yourself five positive affirmations each morning after brushing your teeth.

 If you make this a daily habit, I promise that you will notice a positive change in your attitude about yourself.

Finally, treat yourself! Use part of your tax return to buy something special for yourself.  

Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers and keep them in your room as a reminder to be compassionate to yourself.  

Or better yet, go out and have a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant in town (if you can afford it).  

Maybe buying a tub of your favorite ice cream and settling in with a favorite movie is what you need.  The choice is up to you.

ERAU Counseling Services are available to assist you. Making an appointment to see a counselor on campus is easy and there is no out-of-pocket costs!

Just call the Counseling Center to make an appointment 928.777.3312.


Final Approach

Editorial: Millennials are not Entitled – We’re Visionaries

By: Rachel Parrent

There is an inherently negative viewpoint held about this generation called “millennials” – when written about, it is only to say that we are entitled, that we are lazy, that we are simply not capable of contributing to society in any significant way.  

The notable purveyors of this viewpoint are those of the older generations, referred to as Generation X, and above them, the Baby Boomers.  The general consensus is the denial of millennials as useful participants in society.

The modern young-adult generation of “millennials” seems to be a big threat to the world, according to those who describe us.  

However, these same critics of our habits do not even seem to have an understanding of who millennials are – the description of  “a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century” (Webster Dictionary) is pretty loose, to say nothing about the large percentage of the population that classification generalizes.  

Yet there seems to be endless articles and reports about how this entire population are living life incorrectly, as if there were never mistakes made by generations of the past, some of whom are doing the most critiquing.  

The Boomers said similar things about Gen-X: they were lazy, entitled, and no good.  

This assessment has now shifted down one generation; based on this parallel, it seems the critical analyses of younger generations are simply based on differences when compared to the older generations who pass judgement.

Our parents, grandparents, employers, and teachers all criticize our generation on not fitting a standard mold of what is perceived as “right” in our development.  

However, we are not given any explanation as to what this mold might be, how we are supposed to fit into an antiquated system which no longer aligns with our goals of the new millennia.  

Those that write these scathing reviews of our generation simply write to voice their complaints; they do not offer any solutions on how, perhaps, we should modify our behavior, or try to explore why we act the way that we do.

They say we are expecting unrealistic things to happen in our lives, that we should not expect a job straight out of college, or want a reasonable living wage, or that we should “work hard, then play hard” rather than demand a job we enjoy.  

That should be challenged: these things can be reasonable expectations for life.  

We should not be labeled “entitled” for wanting more out of life than unemployment, financial stress, and monotony.  We are striving to make a better quality of life – starting with ourselves, and perhaps that is selfish.  

Maybe, however, we want to extend those things to others around us, and we just start where we know.  Those that criticize us should not claim entitlement; we simply know that if we do not demand something better, there will never be progress.

Final Approach

Column of Whatever: Rocket Highs, Stock Market Lows

By: John Mills
Diversions Editor

This week has been a very mixed one, emotionally speaking.

On Tuesday, SpaceX launched the first Falcon Heavy in spectacular fashion.

The only failure on that front was damage and ensuing loss of the main core after it separated from the second stage.

This shortcoming was wildly overshadowed by the successful twin landings, side-by-side, of the two booster cores, near simultaneously.

It’s a spectacular feat that I honestly never expected to see.

The launch was a truly inspiring moment of brevity and hope on a background miasma of bad news turned worse.

The success of SpaceX was quickly lost in the screaming plummet of the stock market.

The current falling state of the Dow and Nasdaq in equal numbers far too closely echoes the initial spasms of the 2007 crash for anyone’s comfort.

I can’t exactly claim deep economic insight, but when the Dow and Nasdaq have been losing successive record percentages, its easy to see that something isn’t quite right.

Experts seem to be yelling from every place they can that this is simply a “correction,” a natural return to average that occurs when stock prices get too high and investors get skittish.

I have to hope this is true, because I remember the 2007 crash all too clearly to ever want to see it happen again.

The Great Recession, as it became known, officially lasted from 2007-2012.

The United States, most of Europe, and other, generally wealthier nations around the world saw varying levels of economic downturn.

The crisis wiped out billions, if not trillions in capital worldwide and set the stage for Obama’s ascent to the White House in 2008.

Regardless of the nuances (which are far too great for a 500-word column), the Great Recession was a transformative and defining period in recent American history, one we would be fools to repeat if it were at all avoidable.

This quickly gets political in regards to the present day, something I try to avoid in this column as it doesn’t feel like the place.

But I think this is—unfortunately—the right time to get political, as it simply can’t be avoided.

The year-long increase in stock values is a direct result of an economy that has been improving consistently since about 2013, which is only a shock to people who haven’t seen the news since then.

That economic growth, and all the benefits that came with it, are products of Obama-era policies and laws, despite President Trump’s claims to the contrary.

The $1.5+ trillion tax cut enacted at the end of last year seemed like a boon to many, but it’s been followed up by a recently-agreed upon bill to massively increase spending by almost $300 billion over the next two years.

Where does that land the country? Deficit spending that would make Reagan blush.

All this worsens an already-bad situation with U.S. debt, and it’s all been spearheaded by the current administration—that still leaves behind those who need help the most.

It must be hoped that the stock market stabilizes in the coming days.

If not, the massive tax cut will have been for naught as many Americans will likely find themselves out of work once again just a decade after the last crash.

There are preventative measures that can be taken but it doesn’t seem like the administration is much interested until things really go wrong.

Until then, we have to cross our fingers for the stock market – because that’s gone so well in the past.

Final Approach

The Grizzled Gnome

By: Brandon Dudley
Online Editor

The flickering light from the fireplace cast a dark shadow across the gnome’s face as he gazed down at the pile of belongings on the wooden table.

All of these were mere memories of old to the gnome; a past life he had trouble stepping away from some days.  

A deck of cards lay in their case, their edges bent and clipped. 

A steel dagger; the last of many trusted friends.

A pair of Dwarven bone dice; signs of use gently evident on their smooth surfaces.

A handful of gold coins more valuable in meaning than worth.

And finally a crumpled note, ink faded after the years of wear.

The gnome took in a deep breath, running a stubby hand through his pink, spiked hair.

“I have gone through so much and yet nobody knows,” he thought to himself, somewhat forlorn.

Nobody knew his tale.

Nobody bothered to ask.

Yet how does one explain leaving a life of prosperity for one of normality?

Gailin Fizzbuzzle had lived three lives: growing up as a simple gnome in the city, then becoming an internationally-renowned underworld boss, only to go back years later to the life of a commoner.

Pash Pin was the name Gailin used to go by, back when he held influence with many of the nations of the world.

Cunning, efficient, and often ruthless were words that had described Pash Pin back in his prime.

He had possessed luxury and wealth unparalleled by any noble or king in the realm.

Then suddenly a day had come when he gave it all up: a spectacular day when Pash Pin dropped out of existence and went back to his old life.

Everybody had known Pash Pin; nobody had remembered Gailin Fizzbuzzle.

It was the perfect escape from a perfect life.

Taking in another breath, he forced himself to stand from the chair.

Its wooden structure creaked as he did so, seeming in pain at his departure.

The welcome sizzle of the fireplace called to him, warming up the space that served as his bedroom.

It illuminated the humble presence of furniture in the room; a small bed, the table and chair, a dresser for his clothes, and a chest for his possessions.  

“Oh, how things used to be so different,” he thought to himself, taking slow steps toward the fireplace.

Flames licked at the warm air as the gnome walked close, reaching out for him.

A tear rolled down his right eye as he gazed into the kindle, whether from the heat or memories he could not tell.

“No, Fizz, you aren’t going to let this happen again.” A deep frown grew upon his face as he wiped the tear away, face scrunched up.

It was becoming a weekly habit to dwell on the past. The present was losing its meaning to him, a toy forgotten by an aging child.

“I made this decision for a reason. I can’t go back…” Fizzbuzzle trailed off, turning his gaze away from the fireplace and back at the pile of memories on the table.

He knew deep down that his decision had been the correct one.

Not that this knowledge made it any easier.

Solemnly and without any haste in his step, he strode to his small bed.

He only took off his shoes before climbing under the covers, the day’s attire still on.

The bed offered comfort with promises of rest and peace to the tired gnome.

Closing his eyes, he soon drifted into the nether that were his dreams.

And sometimes, even memories.


Short Story

Sports Update

By: James Ritchey

Men’s Basketball (9-12, 3-8 CalPac)

Jan. 25 (Away)

ERAU 68 – 71 Simpson University

The Eagles looked to repeat their previous offensive success, playing the Redhawks of Simpson University for the second time in two weeks.

Unfortunately, that same shooting could not be repeated, and ERAU dropped another crucial conference game.

The first few minutes of the game foreshadowed the rest, as both teams struggled shooting and the score remained tied at zero until about four minutes into the game.

The Redhawks built a small lead in the ensuing minutes, but ERAU took the lead from a Gilbert Ibarra three-pointer with 8:45 left in the first half.

The Eagles managed to build a 40-30 halftime lead, but the second half proved to play out differently.

In the first minutes of the second half, the Eagles kept up their accurate shooting, expanding their lead to 52-34 within five minutes.

After that, the Redhawks went on a 20-2 rampage to tie the game at 54-54, and the Eagles were never able to fully recover.

Despite regaining a small lead, the Eagles were unable to halt SU’s momentum, and SU took the lead with under a minute remaining.

The Redhawks held their lead in the final seconds of the game to pull away with the win. Gilbert Ibarra led the Eagles with 24 points.


Jan. 27 (Away)

ERAU 79 – 82 Pacific Union College

The Eagles dropped another tight game to finish a Northern California road trip against the Pioneers of PUC.

In the first half, the Pioneers held a small lead for most of the period, never leading by more than four points.

In the final 30 seconds, Kaden Herbert hit two free throws to give the Eagles a 40-39 lead going into halftime.

The Eagles kept that lead for the first ten minutes of the second half, holding as much as a nine point lead.

However, a series of key free throws by the Pioneers cut that lead and eventually reversed the flow of the game, as PUC never let go of their lead for the last nine minutes of the game.

The Eagles mounted a comeback effort that cut PUC’s lead to 79-80 with 1:29 remaining, but could not complete a comeback, and the Pioneers emerged victorious, 79-82.

Nick Johnson led the Eagles with 24 points and three assists.


Feb. 1 (Home)

ERAU 68 – 83 Cal Maritime

The Eagles returned home desperate for a conference win to keep them in the running for a potential playoff spot but ultimately fell short against CMA.

In the first half, ERAU managed to keep the score close, trading leads with the Keelhaulers and going into halftime with a small 34-33 lead.

That pace continued for the first few minutes of the second half, as ERAU never had more than a two-possession lead.

However, with 14:32 left in the game, CMA hit a three pointer to take a 48-46 lead and never looked back.

The Keelhaulers went on a 23-4 run to power themselves into a massive lead, hitting several three pointers and outside jump shots to pull ahead.

The Eagles never built up any significant comeback, and dropped their sixth game in a row.

Nick Johnson was the top scorer for ERAU with 15 points and three assists.

Logan Skurdal added 13 points and three assists.


Feb. 3 (Home)

ERAU 58 – 53 UC Merced

The Eagles ended their losing streak with a solid conference win over the Bobcats of UC Merced.

Jaran Hoover scored the first points of the game with a three, after which UCM quickly tied the score.

Logan Skurdal hit another three minutes later to give ERAU an early lead, and Jaran Hoover would then hit yet another shot from beyond the arc to give the Eagles a 11-8 lead.

UCM kept the score close, taking the lead 20-22 with five minutes remaining in the half, but consistent outside shooting from the Eagles led to a recapture of the lead to carry them into halftime.

Jaran Hoover again hit a three for the first points of the half, and ERAU proceeded to go on a 10-2 run to secure a lead.

The Bobcats fought their way back from that deficit, and took a small lead with seven minutes remaining in the game.

Three pointers again gave the Eagles the lead again, this time for the rest of the game, with 4:21 left.

Two free throws in the final twenty seconds by Calvin Carmichael secured the win for the Eagles.

Jaran Hoover had five three-pointers and 16 total points to lead the Eagles.

Logan Skurdal put up three three-pointer shots and had 15 total points and four assists.


Women’s Basketball (20-3, 10-1 CalPac)

25 Jan (Away)

ERAU 76 – 45 Simpson University

ERAU continued their winning ways with another win over the Simpson University Redhawks.

After a 14-13 first quarter, the Eagles outscored their opponent by at least nine points in the last three quarters to roll past SU for a win.

In the second quarter, good three point shooting from Danae Ruiz and Bethany Wolph helped the Eagles expand their lead and prevent any kind of offensive momentum for the Redhawks.

The Eagles led 36-24 going into halftime. In the third and fourth quarter, ERAU refused to let up, maintaining strong shooting and keeping up their defensive effort.

Most of SU’s points in the fourth quarter came from free throws, enabling ERAU to take a resounding 31 point victory.

Katana Martina had 21 points in the win to lead the Eagles.

Bethany Wolph hit four three pointers, and had a total of 15 points.


27 Jan (Away)

ERAU 67 – 47 Pacific Union College

The Eagles held the Pioneers to just eight points in the first half to earn another dominant conference win.

ERAU was relentless in the early parts of the game, holding a 16-4 lead after the first quarter due to good shooting.

Three-point shooting in the second quarter gave the Eagles as much as a 36-4 lead before PUC found any kind of offense.

Two PUC layups late in the quarter turned the halftime score to 36-8. PUC turned themselves around after halftime but could not overcome ERAU’s massive lead.

The Pioneers were able to start a comeback, scoring 16 points in the third quarter, but ERAU matched each of those and maintained their margin of victory.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles let up, as their lead allowed them to do so.

The Pioneers mounted a significant comeback effort, but their first half struggles were far too much, and the Eagles still took the game with a 20-point lead.

Danae Ruiz had 18 points and Katana Martina had 10 to lead the Eagles.


1 Feb (Home)

ERAU 76 – 52 Cal Maritime

The Eagles won their eighth game in a row in a conference matchup against CMA.

A close first half worried the Eagles, but superior defense in the second half proved to be enough for a victory.

The Eagles started the game by pulling to a 9-0 lead, but the Keelhaulers soon came back, taking a 13-15 lead late in the first quarter.

ERAU regained the lead and ended the first quarter ahead 19-15.

The Eagles kept their lead throughout most of the second quarter, staying ahead by no more than a few points until CMA regained the lead with a three pointer with 44 seconds left in the half.

The half ended with ERAU down 33-34. After halftime, ERAU regained control of the game, limiting CMA to just six points in the third quarter.

ERAU went on a 9-0 run to end the third quarter, and CMA was unable to recover in the final period.

ERAU’s offensive momentum carried through the final quarter, as they outscored CMA 25-12 to take a 24 point victory.

Jazlyn Maletino scored 21 points to lead the Eagles.

Katana Martina had 18 points, and Bethany Wolph made four three-pointers for 12 total points.


3 Feb (Home)

ERAU 64 – 60 UC Merced

Women’s Basketball extended their winning streak to nine games with a close win over UCM, currently second in CalPac standings behind the Eagles.

A strong first quarter gave the Eagles an early advantage in the game.

It was apparent that the game would remain close, as the both teams stayed within striking distance of a changing lead. Jump shots from Jenna Knudson gave the Eagles a more sizeable lead, and ERAU ended the first quarter ahead 18-13.

In the second quarter, despite not shooting as well, the Eagles managed to stay ahead of the Bobcats through good defense, heading into halftime with a fragile 27-25 lead.

A tightly contested third quarter saw both sides take small leads, ending only as Bethany Wolph hit a three to bring the score to 38-36. ERAU defense kept that lead throughout the fourth quarter, as ERAU guards continued to keep up an offensive effort.

Despite several threes from UCM, Danae Ruiz and Haley Villegas hit two free throws each in the final 15 seconds to ensure ERAU came away with the win. Jazlyn Maletino had 17 points, and Jenna Knudson put up 12 points and three assists.

The Eagles’ winning streak and dominance of the CalPac conference earned them a spot in the national top 25 for the first time in program history, getting ranked 24, despite this being only the second season of the team’s existence.


Wrestling (10-11)

2 Feb (Away)

ERAU 20 – 22 University of Providence

ERAU started a short road trip against two high-profile opponents with a match against the seventh-ranked University of Providence Argos. ERAU took an early lead by winning the first matchup as Chandler Strand won by technical pin in the 125-pound set.

David Salazar also won his 141-pound bout, and Cameron Huizar’s major decision victory in the 149-pound weight class gave the Eagles a 12-3 lead.

However, the Argos came back, earning 6 points each in the 157-pound and 197-pound weight classes, and a major decision in the 174-pound matchup.

Everything came down to the Heavyweight matchup, which was nearly a stalemate.

David Rupp came out losing by a 0-1 decision, giving the Argos an extremely tight victory.


3 Feb (Away)

ERAU – Montana State University – Northern

The day after an extremely close matchup at University of Providence, the Eagles faced off with MSU-N, ranked twelfth in the nation.

MSU-N started very strongly, winning the first three matchups to give them a 0-12 lead.

Cameron Huizar and James Williams then proceeded to earn decision victories in the next two weight classes, halving the Lights’ lead.

After another close loss in the 165-pound matchup, Kody Davis earned an 11-3 major decision win to give the Eagles some optimism.

The Eagles needed a pin in the 184-pound bout for a match win, but freshman TJ Hall was only able to win by decision, still giving the Eagles three points.

ERAU fell just short in their final match before conference championships.


Softball (3-3)

26-27 Jan (Away)

Spirit/Anderson Classic

Softball started their season with a weekend tournament in Surprise, Ariz., hosted by Ottawa University.

The tournament brought together ERAU, College of Idaho, and OU’s inaugural softball team in competition to start the season.

In their first game, the Eagles fell 2-11 to College of Idaho. After a scoreless first inning, the Yotes pulled ahead with four runs in the second.

ERAU was able to respond with two runs in the second, but a six-run third inning for CI sealed the game, and ERAU was unable to respond.

In the second game of the day, the Eagles faced the Spirit of OUAZ and had much better results.

After a close game for the first few innings, ERAU broke ahead with five runs in the sixth inning, to take a 8-4 lead, which they kept to win the game.

Haley Basye had four hits and four RBI in the win.

On the second day, ERAU had two more games against the same two opponents.

In a rematch against CI, ERAU started off with two runs in the first inning and never looked back.

Three runs in the fourth and fifth inning pushed the Eagles to a commanding lead, and pitcher Bailey Critchlow closed out the game, only allowing one run in the last three innings to allow ERAU to win, 9-5.

In the final game of the weekend, ERAU again faced OUAZ, this time falling 8-12.

The score remained close for most of the game, ERAU leading 8-6 going into the sixth inning.

However, the Spirit scored six runs in the sixth inning and held the Eagles to zero for the rest of the game.


2 Feb (Away)

ERAU 5 – 7, 4 – 0 San Diego Christian

The Eagles went on their first road trip of the season to Santee, Calif., to face the San Diego Christian College Hawks.

In the first game, the Eagles fell behind early, finding themselves down 1-5 by the start of the second inning. ERAU was able to lock down their defense for most of the rest of the game, only allowing two runs in the next five innings.

A comeback began to form, as the Eagles scored three runs in the seventh to cut down the SDCC lead, but it was not enough, and the Hawks took game one.

In the second game, a consistent offensive and defensive effort gave the Eagles a win.

Kaila Provost hit a ground-rule double in the third inning to score ERAU’s first run, then Rylee Payton walked with the bases loaded to score a second.

Kaila Provost again had an RBI in the sixth inning to solidify a lead.

Olivia Ramos pitched a full seven innings with zero runs and four strikeouts.



Ottawa Co-Ed Spring Invitational

Both the ERAU Men’s and Women’s Golf teams competed in the Ottawa Spring Invitational at the Wigwam Heritage Red Course in Litchfield Park, Ariz.

On the first day of the tournament, the men’s team scored a total of 291, placing them in third overall.

After the second day, the competition moved closer as the Eagles’ 290 still kept them tied for third overall with Ottawa University.

On the final day, the Eagles broke ahead, taking a solid third place for the tournament with a score of 881, edging out OUAZ by one stroke.

Matt Andrews placed fifth individually with a weekend score of 208, including a tournament-best score of 65 on the second day.

The women’s team placed a close second overall, with a team weekend score of 959.

Oklahoma City University took first by a score of 954, owing mainly to their 314 score on the first day.

Individually, Nicole Lopes placed third overall with a total score of 236.

Elle Carson closely followed with a score of 237, placing fourth overall.


Returning Sorority Delta Phi Epsilon Welcomes First Class

By: Garrett Palmquist
Copy Editor

The reintroduction of the sorority Delta Phi Epsilon (DPhiE) to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU) Prescott campus presents a new option for women seeking to join Greek life.

Gianna Lorusso, who is serving as the primary liaison between the old sorority Chi Delta Chi and the new DPhiE chapter, was optimistic about the move from a local sorority to an international organization.

“We’re excited to make connections with Delta Phi Epsilon sisters and to no longer just have sisters on this campus, but internationally,” she said.

Lorusso noted that Chi Delta Chi was founded on similar principles that DPhiE espouses, such as, “empowering women and individuality, along with making the most of our time here on campus.”

DPhiE’s principles were attractive enough to balloon the burgeoning chapter’s initial numbers to approximately 32 members, up from the 18 former Chi Delta Chi members who reformed the DPhiE chapter on campus.

The sorority’s headquarters is currently directing recruitment on campus and has left many specific questions (such as the exact date of chartering) unanswered. Lorusso reiterated, however, that there are “no major roadblocks or hurdles” in the fledgling chapter’s chartering process.

Rather, the members “want to make sure that what we establish is a legacy for future sisters to follow.”

DPhiE has made it clear that the new chapter will be “official” by the end of the Spring 2018 term.

A majority of ERAU’s Greek community are welcoming DPhiE with open arms.

One fraternity member said that, “I feel glad that they became a national sorority…we do feel that Chi Delta Chi basically became Delta Phi Epsilon with added members, so the change wasn’t that large.”

A sorority member noted, “It’s going to be great to have a third voice in Panhel again,” referencing the Panhellenic Council that governs the sororities on campus.

That same sorority member added, “It is going to make us work harder to impress the girls we want for our own organization, but it is great to see the Greek community growing in such a positive manner.”

When asked what sets DPhiE apart from the two established sororities on campus (Alpha Sigma Tau, and Alpha Xi Delta), Lorusso had this to say: “We all promote the same things such as sisterhood and community.

Each sorority is different, from philanthropy to colors…We’re all unique in our own way.”

DPhiE is no stranger to ERAU’s Prescott campus.

The first DPhiE chapter on campus left in the early 2000’s, and the creation of Chi Delta Chi provided the opportunity for DPhiE to return to campus.

Former members of Chi Delta Chi were thankful for the experiences that the young sorority offered, but they looked forward to the support that a national organization could provide.

The process of DPhiE’s return to campus has been arduous. Multiple sororities competed for the favor of the Greek community during the 2016-2017 school year; DPhiE has been preparing (and continues to do so) their official return to campus since summer 2017.

This process includes numerous campus visits, interviews, and meetings between DPhiE representatives and the Panhellenic Council’s expansion committee.

Features News

SIT Teams High Priority

By: Zoe Crain
Copy Editor

On Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, approximately 25-30 students carried their pizza and soda cans into the Davis Learning Center (DLC) Auditorium to listen to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s President, Dr. P. Barry Butler, speak.

The President was visiting the Prescott campus to present to faculty, staff, and students about one of the Strategic Implementation Teams (SITs) the university has started: SIT 2, Student Success.

Dr. Butler began by providing a contextual overview of the six SITs the university has put together: Enrollment Management, Student Success, Global Strategy, Research and Innovation, Development and Alumni, and Communication and Marketing.

These teams have been created to propel the university to success during the coming years.

Each team is made up of Prescott, Daytona Beach, and Worldwide campus representatives, including faculty members, deans, and other necessary individuals.

The student success team also has two student representatives, one from Daytona Beach and one from Prescott.

Dr. Butler’s forum was meant to provide students with an opportunity to bring up items that they believe are instrumental to student success at Embry-Riddle, as well as ask any questions about the SITs in general.

The Prescott students delivered, and pulled no punches.

“I am the Prescott student representative on SIT 2, and I was just wondering how highly these teams are prioritized by administration,” asked Zoe Crain, Student Government Association (SGA) President.

“I’ve attended two meetings this semester and attendees seem to be fairly inconsistent, across Prescott and Daytona. Could this be due to a lack of push from administration about how important these teams are?”

Dr. Butler’s answer was concise and to the point.

“Well, we of course struggle with finding a meeting time that works for everyone. But I can assure you that all team members do their best to attend all meetings, and those who are unable to attend are expected to review all pertinent materials.”

A good answer, of course, but one that does not answer the core of the question asked: whether the university is appropriately supporting these teams that they are advertising so heavily.

The next question came from another student audience member.

“So, if students have feedback for the teams, where do they go?”

Dr. Butler responded,

“Honestly, I don’t quite know yet! If you go onto ERNIE, you can look at the team members and then search them to get their contact information. We’re really looking at getting an online response form started.”

It was noted to the audience by Crain that students could contact her or Dr. Ronald Madler, Dean of the College of Engineering and the chair of the Prescott delegates of SIT 2 if they had feedback specific to SIT 2.

The next set of questions was asked by student Michelle Bennett,

“Two things: one, when something from one of these teams is approved, what happens? Where does it go, and how is it disseminated to the Embry-Riddle community? And two, what happens to the items that don’t get approved?”

“All action items are condensed into a short, one-page document for ease of consumption,” said Dr. Butler. “Those documents then guide the university’s decision on how to move forward. And it really comes down to the Board of Trustees (BOT) since they are the governing body of the campus.

“The problem is not all good ideas are able to be executed, due to a multitude of reasons: financial blocks, lack of time and manpower, and lack of willpower to name a few. Because of that, we’re unfortunately unable to execute all ideas brought to the teams, even some of the good ones.”

The final noteworthy question came from both SGA President Crain and Vice-President Joshua Abbott, and reflected a viewpoint of much of the Prescott campus.

“One of the main problems that exists in the university is the distinction between the campuses. Why is it the case that Daytona seems to be a part of financial decisions for the Prescott campus?”

“First off, I want to be clear, ‘Daytona’ is not a part of the decisions,” said Dr. Butler. “I really dislike this us-versus-them mentality. The fact is simply that the purchasing office is located in Daytona Beach, but they give no preference to a campus. We really need to be united as a campus to move forward.”

“If that is the case, then what are you going to do about the miscommunication? It breeds separation between the campuses, and unfortunately is a relevant problem,” countered VP Abbott.

“Simply put, there’s no way for the university to be successful if we don’t overcome this problem,” reiterated President Butler.

“As an outsider coming in to the Embry-Riddle culture, I really don’t understand the divide to begin with. But we cannot be successful without being united.”

This answer left attendees wondering how Dr. Butler is planning to fix the campus divide.

As a fresh, unbiased individual, Dr. Butler could make great cultural change at the University.

He made clear that he does not prefer one campus over the other (he has almost visited the Prescott campus more times since he became president one year ago than the last university president did in his first five years on the job), but only time will tell how he uses his position and power to affect real change to the university.

For more information about the SITs, contact SGA President Zoe Crain at [].