Where are all the PPlunge events?

Hope Brusstar, Copy Editor

The first six weeks of every academic year at UNO are important, especially for three groups of students: the new freshman class, student organizations and the Driftwood staff. During these six weeks, Privateer Plunge (PPlunge) events are available. Designed to introduce new students to UNO’s resources, these events are mandatory for incoming freshmen. They offer a great opportunity for students to become acquainted with UNO and their peers.

PPlunge offers publicity for student organizations, which often hold events during this time because clubs are more likely to gain new members from the freshman class. And for the Driftwood staff, these events mean fresh material for articles that update students about what’s going on around campus.

It should come as no surprise to find a Driftwood staff member visiting one of these functions on any given day. On Sept. 7, Driftwood reporters attempted to visit the Delta Sigma sorority’s “Let’s Talk Ovarian Cancer” event in Milneburg Hall room 119. But a problem arose as the reporters searched for the event: Milneburg Hall has no room 119. As a matter of fact, on that evening, Milneburg Hall was all but devoid of life. No signage and no students were stationed there to indicate a room change.

This occurrence is not an anomaly.  “Last fall, I went to the Cove with my friends for some sort of ‘Game Day at the Cove’ event,” said third-year education major Brian Comeaux. “It was supposed to be held in the middle of the day, during lunch. But when we arrived, nothing was there. I think it was meant to be hosted by a fraternity, but all we found was the usual Cove dining scene.”

Meanwhile, third-year student Jordan Bergeron* informed the Driftwood that his fraternity “had planned a barbecue that was supposed to be about a week ago, but the day came and went and nobody did anything. The event just didn’t happen.”

Neglect to host an advertised event can entail frustration for others. UNO student and Driftwood intern Kellie Vedros shared in this when she tried to find a PPlunge event called “Let’s Talk Series: Foods of the World,” hosted by the Diversity Engagement Center on Aug. 29.

“There was supposed to be an event in the UC Gallery Lounge,” Vedros said. “So I went to look and there was nothing set up.”

She walked to the Student Activities Council office to get more information, expecting that it would be up-to-date on the PPlunge events.

“When I [asked] them why the event wasn’t happening, they didn’t have an answer,” she said. “I was put off because the SAC didn’t seem to know or care… They couldn’t tell me anything; they just shrugged and said ‘I don’t know.’ … To me, [this] seemed unprofessional because they’re in charge of that.”

Driftwood News Editor Sofía Gilmore-Montero had a similar experience. Upon visiting the SAC to find out more information about event disappearance, she said, “they told me that the event wasn’t their responsibility, and they only handle the events which they have planned. They sent me to SGA, and the only thing that [SGA] told me was that they were just responsible for putting the events in the [PPlunge] booklet.”

Vedros and Gilmore-Montero are not alone. On Sept. 5, student Ariell Reed was in search of “Clearly You Crystals” at the UC Atrium, an event described as “SAC’s novelty event for September,” where students could get their “face put in a crystal for free!” Reed searched for this opportunity to no avail.

“I asked the UC Help Desk and they weren’t aware of the event,” Reed said. Later, she discovered the event had been postponed to Sept. 18, but at the time there was no signage to indicate the change.

On the same day, Reed sought yet another inconclusive activity. “Cool Off With AAUW,” planned by the American Association of University Women. According to the PPlunge event guide, it was intended to be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 5 in UNO’s quad, but UNO’s online PPlunge calendar had it listed for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This discrepancy would have disappointed Reed, but “there was another event going on at the Quad [besides] the Cool Off event,” she said. She attended that one instead.

But Gilmore-Montero still expressed dissatisfaction. “I’ve had [Driftwood interns] walking all over campus looking for events that weren’t there.” Looking back on her own experience with the student organizations, she noted, ”There’s a theme at UNO that you get jostled from department to department…There’s no accountability for not knowing the answer to something. It just makes you feel unimportant.”

PPlunge events are numerous, and they take time, effort and coordination to plan, so sometimes complications arise. It’s annoying and inconvenient, but on the plus side, the great number of PPlunge activities available during the first six weeks of school means that no student goes without something to do for long.