Amid Homecoming Events, Perimeter Gets Left Behind

Cheerleaders hype up the fans at the Homecoming game against the Troy Trojans Oct. 21. Photo by Vanessa Johnson | The Signal

The second annual Homecoming week since the 2015 Georgia State and Perimeter College (PC) merge brought all Georgia State students #HomeATLast, in different ways across the six campuses.

The Spotlight-like branch of PC campuses, the Panther Activities Council (PAC), was tasked with bringing Homecoming alive at all campuses, in collaboration with the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Student Life departments of each campus.

The five different teams hosted events, including a Blood Drive (Alpharetta), Good Morning Georgia State (all campuses), Unleash your Panther Spirit (Newton), and Homecoming Spirit Plaza (Atlanta).

Perimeter College’s Clarkston campus had the most events (after Atlanta campus) scheduled for their calendar. But out of four events making for a busy week, the council only had a chance to bring two of them to life.

Vy Nguyen, president of Clarkston campus PAC, said one of the events, Candy Factory, which would kick off homecoming week on their campus, was cancelled because people were too busy.

“At the time, midterms were going on,” Nguyen said, adding that the person in charge of the event, Entertainment Director Melanie Curry, had too much on her hands to go ahead with the event. “She was processing applications, and didn’t have time to plan the candy factory.”

The event, Nguyen said, wasn’t put on the Homecoming calendar at all, and will be scheduled for some time next semester. However, the scheduled event still appears on the Homecoming 2017 website.

The Signal’s Arts & Living editor arrived to the Clarkston campus Thursday to report on the Cancer walk scheduled for that day only to find it had been quietly cancelled.

Diamond Jefferson, Wellness & Service Director for PAC on the Clarkston campus, said she was also surprised to see that the walk was still on the Homecoming calendar.

“It was a month ago,” Jefferson said, explaining when PAC decided to cancel the walk. According to Jefferson, the reason for the cancellation was because PAC members from all five campuses were asked to be present at the Atlanta campus Homecoming parade.

“It was an expectation to clear our schedules to be able to attend the parade. Our advisors expected us to attend,” Nguyen confirmed. “So it had to be cancelled even though we had everything planned.”

That would leave no one to help with the walk back at Clarkston, and they went ahead and did away with the event.

The other two events, LalaLand popcorn chill Wednesday and Goodmorning Georgia State, took place as scheduled.

The Big Divide

But even though Perimeter college leaders and students were urged to attend Atlanta campus’s Thursday parade, Spotlight confirmed that the two organizations (Spotlight and PAC), don’t cross paths outside of these events.

Phillip Smith, Spotlight’s assistant director for programs, said students from the Perimeter campuses pay different fees towards PAC, and therefore enjoy different benefits.

“Spotlight student fees come from student fees from Atlanta students only,” Smith said. “Each campus puts on their own events but also participate in the all-campus events like Block Party, Royal Ball, Parada, and Tailgate. Perimeter did contribute money to some of those events.”

Other times, events may be open to all, but may cost more for Perimeter students.

“We do not receive money from Perimeter students to put on events; however, there are times that Perimeter will budget to participate equally on an event,” Smith said. “If the funding is not allocated, there is typically a price difference between the Atlanta and the Perimeter cost for the event.”

Not Qualified

Besides the divided event planning, Perimeter College and the Atlanta campus also do not share a royal court. Atlanta gets four positions – Mr. & Mrs. Blue and White, and Mr. & Mrs. Georgia State – and PC gets two positions – Mr. & Mrs. Perimeter.

This year, the royal court held an empty Mr. Perimeter throne, and despite efforts to promote the Homecoming festivities and applications, PAC and Student Life did not find any PC student to match their requirements.

Smith and Alpharetta Student Life coordinator for Alpharetta campus Marshonntri Reid both said that they did receive Mr. Perimeter applications but that none of the applicants met the GPA requirements.

“You have to remember,” Reid said, explaining why some qualifications are so important for the royal court. “These are student leaders.”

The Perimeter royal court applications required a minimum 2.5 GPA and 10 hours of Community Service, compared to the minimum 2.75 GPA and 15 hours community service required by the Mr. & Mrs. Blue and White positions.

However, some Clarkston campus students said they didn’t apply because they didn’t know anything about it.

Lael River Williams, a Perimeter College student, said he felt like he was left out of the Georgia State community because he’s on a different campus.

“Nobody said anything. No promotion on my side,” Williams said.

Another Clarkston campus student, Cortez Beato, said he knew about it, but was too busy to participate.

“I knew about it, though. I can only be taken out of the [Georgia State] community if I remove myself,” he said.

Part of the Panther Family

The feeling of inclusion that for some may have been lacking throughout this week’s festivities is one of Corey Gray’s top goals for the year.

Gray, Student Government Association (SGA) President, talked to The Signal and said the association has been doing their best making sure Perimeter College campuses feel included in the Panther family.

Grey said that while campaigning for the position last year, he vowed to be on Perimeter campus grounds five hours a week, but soon realized that wasn’t enough.

“[We’ve been] participating and collaborating with PAC,” Grey said, adding that the association has been trying to make all five campuses feel included.

And as far as the empty Mr. Perimeter spot, Grey said there was nothing they could do.

“We had SGA members interested, but they couldn’t [run],” he said. Stipended senator positions of SGA are immediately disqualified from running in the royal court, according to Spotlight regulations.