Local members of APSCUF hosted a student appreciation rally Thursday during common hour in the quad gazebo, giving students food and drinks.
All the food at the rally was donated, including root beer and cream soda from the North Country Brewery. Fifty faculty members helped to give out the items to students.
Ben Shaevitz, president of the SRU chapter of APSCUF, said that the rally was a thank-you to the students that stood with APSCUF during the strike. Shaevitz said that students expressed solidarity by joining APSCUF on the picket line and bringing food. He said the idea for an appreciation rally was talked about on the picket line during the strike.
“It was really, really moving to be out there and know that those were Slippery Rock students,” Shaevitz said. “It was such a moving thing to see that our students were actually paying attention enough and cared to come out and be visible with us. It gave me chills.”
Shaevitz said on the first evening of the strike that there was a conference call between all chapter APSCUF presidents where every president said that they could not believe the support of the students at their respective campuses.
“That’s something very special,” Shaevitz said. “Even though we didn’t want to have a strike, there was ultimately a purpose for this.”
Shaevitz said there’s momentum now and that he hopes faculty will pay more attention to what students are doing outside the classroom and vice versa.
“We can continue to work together to make this place great,” Shaevitz said.
Advocacy is one way that Shaevitz said students and faculty can work together, with the two groups trying to figure out a way to lobby officials in Harrisburg to fund higher education more appropriately. Shaevitz has said in the past that faculty members would also work with students on service projects in the future.
Shaevitz said that one idea to use the momentum from the strike positively is to form a student affiliate for APSCUF on campus but that the idea is still in the early stages.