ASCSU discusses Operation Bear Hug, Funding the Giants

Charlotte Lang

The Associated Students of Colorado State University discussed two bills meant to keep students from feeling alone. 

Senator receiving award
Senator Ryan Kropp receives the Golden Gavel Award. ( Nathan Tran | The Collegian)

These bills focused on Operation Bear Hug and funding for artwork aimed at diversity for students on campus. Only the Operation Bear Hug bill passed.

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Operation Bear Hug

Senator Josh Johnson brought forward a bill that confirmed details about Operation Bear Hug’s funding from the Board for Student Organization Funding. As the bill had already been passed by BSOF, the vote from the senate was one of unanimous consent to pass it.

Johnson said Operation Bear Hug is an event meant to raise awareness for suicide prevention throughout the community. 

Meant to be more interactive than a seminar or lecture, Johnson said Operation Bear Hug takes the form of an obstacle course that teams work together to race through. 

“This is an obstacle course where you did not start or finish alone,” Johnson said. “It’s very important that we build it into the lifestyle of all of us and our friends that we ask for help when we need it or before we need it.”

The event will also include teddy bears with the suicide hotline number on it that students can take home. There will also be a giveaway of giant teddy bears to teams that place in the obstacle course race.

Senator Ryan Kropp said the entire design of the course is to focus on community and suicide prevention.

“As you can probably tell, there is a lot of intentionality in this,” Kropp said. “Everything that is a part of this event is specifically designed to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention.”

The bill was expedited, meaning it was voted on without being sent through committee and was passed with a 27-0-0 vote.

Funding the Giants

A bill asking the senate for $20,000 to go toward the installation of temporary art displays failed with a 9-17-3 vote. 

According to the bill, “This bill will feature several different pieces recognizing the contributions and values that marginalized identities bring to our University.”

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Director of Traditions and Programs Will Sharpe, the author and presenter of the bill, said the bill would seek to purchase approximately four or five art pieces to place in the liberal arts quad on campus. 

The artwork would be in response to bias-motivated incidents on campus, Sharpe said.

“Given some of the bias-related events that have been happening on campus, I really believe that passing this bill will be very important and symbolic to show that we do not stand for bias-related incidents and that we support our diverse student community,” Senator Sara Dudek said.

The main objections against the bill included the price, as well as concerns of escalation of bias-related incidents and tension among students.

Former Senator Ethan Burshek said that there are students on campus who believe this artwork would serve as bait that would attract more bias incidents around them. 

Sharpe said that people may target the artwork, but this shouldn’t dissuade the senate from voting for it.

“People are angry, and people are crazy, and I’m not gonna say this can’t happen on campus because I’ve seen some pretty messed up stuff on this campus,” Sharpe said. “I’m not putting it past them, but I’m saying that if we shy away, then we might not be doing our due diligence.”

Other senators shared worries about whether or not the artwork would be inclusive enough.

Sharpe said he never promised this bill could solve everything, but it is part of ASCSU’s responsibility to try to do something to help the campus culture.

“Loneliness is something that impacts a lot of people, and I don’t want anybody to ever feel like that,” Sharpe said.

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @chartrickwrites.