After wrapping up his 2016–17 term as president of the North Central University student body, Tony Elder ’17 looks back and is proud of many accomplishments. But one that stands out—or up, in this case—was the installation of a new flagpole on campus. It was one of the first goals he set and it was accomplished through a true team effort.
It was his campus neighbor Braden Horning ’17 who shared the idea with Elder. “Soon after I decided to run, Braden, a veteran, said, ‘You need to get a flagpole,’” Elder recalled. The Student Senate had tried to get the project started in previous years without success, but Elder was determined from the start.
“OK, this is going to happen,” he told himself. “I’m going to make it happen.”
Not a solo effort
Elder realized it would take partnerships and funds to realize the goal, so he got busy. He connected with Campus Safety and Security, and Facilities Management to explore placement options and discuss ideas for flag raising and maintenance. After getting the ideas together, Elder submitted a proposal to the dean of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning, who oversees student government. The green light was lit and it was fundraising time.
Quick support came through commitments from the Student Senate budget, Athletics, and Student Development. Elder wanted to make this an effort that would involve the student body, so he worked with other student leaders on additional fundraising ideas.
The students capitalized on the February vibe with a “Crush for your crush campaign.” Elder explained that they sold cans of Crush Soda to deliver on behalf of the buyer to a friend. For $1 the can would be delivered with the name of the sender; for $2 it would be delivered anonymously. Students who received an anonymous gift of Crush could pay $3 to find out who sent it. The results? A lot of fun, a lot of Crush deliveries, and $400 raised for the flagpole project.
More momentum for the project came when a student veteran on campus made a connection with American Legion Post 1 and Commander L. Schoppe, and found them eager to support the project. Elder noted that the Legion offered to pay for the flagpole and light, and would provide the flags on an ongoing basis.
With the American Legion donation, and funds in place to pay for the needed landscaping and work to install the flag, Elder stayed on the project all the way to a dedication ceremony on April 19.
Personal and patriotic
A rainy day did not dampen the spirits of four NCU students who have served in the military and members of the American Legion, as they raised the first U.S. flag to fly over North Central in many years. The first flag was donated by student and military veteran Josiah Williams ’17.
Across Elliot Avenue a lacrosse game was starting, and the athletes, spectators, and crowd gathered for the dedication could face Old Glory as the Star Spangled Banner was sung.
For Elder, the project went beyond personal satisfaction by checking “goal accomplished” on his president’s to-do list. “I’m proud to be from this country and proud to be an American,” he reflected. “[The flagpole] shows respect to those who have served. I want it to be a reminder of how lucky we are to be in this country; for the freedom of religion to worship our God in this university!”
As a leader, Elder hopes the flag will encourage future student leaders. “The flag will also be a symbol for future senates that you can get things done and make changes on campus,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to be told ‘no,’ and strive to make things happen on campus.”