Founding Day 2014

At the end of a particular class session in my own classes, I pause to consider how I might handle that day's material in the next term. Now while the successes and things that can be improved are fresh in the mind is the time to think about the next run - which for a fundraising/sports founding day is 2016. 2015 is, if the cycle is retained, a cultural founding day.

Although start was set for 8:00, this was the scene when I arrived at 9:34. 8:00 is not a realistic start time.

During the course of the day I had a chance to have a number of conversations, one in particular shifted my own thinking on how to tackle the sensitive issue of one campus having a better than odds on shot at providing the king and queen for the Pohnpei campuses.

The lack of ushers led to no water for the invited guests for an hour and a half

Clearly there is a meta-issue that must also be settled: will fundraising continue to be a major focus of the "even year" founding days? The founding day working group felt no clear guidance on the emphasis to be placed on fundraising. Concerns were expressed that the community and political leadership felt that there was too much emphasis on fundraising. Given the tuition increases, increased IT fee, new facilities fee, the misperception from the community was that the college is focused on obtaining funds possibly at the expense of the student's ability to focus on their education. This is a dialog that the founding day working group committed to having over the coming months.

If fundraising does remain "in the mix" then the "off-island" teams have expressed a desire for a more level playing field. There has been the suggestion that the off-island teams enlist their home islands in fundraising, yet this suggestion comes from the team that now dominates the fundraising. The reality is that Kosrae is in what is tantamount to a financial depression. There is no viable economic engine running in that state. Chuuk state is not much better off financially. The off-island states do not have the more vibrant economy seen here on Pohnpei. Some have noted that of-island teams did win in the past. Those wins, however, involved money not raised by the students through good old fashioned car washes and bake sales. There were questionable sources involved. When money is the only thing that counts, then the ends may be used to justify means.

The suggestion that shifted my thinking was a suggestion to use the sporting events including the events of founding day to determine the overall winner. Fundraising could still be a part of the equation. My brain thinks in terms of concrete examples, so the following is offered as a hypothetical model. In this model fundraising is 50% of the possible points.

Place Fundraising Volleyball Basketball Softball Easy Dizzy Coconut Husking Coconut grating Tug-o-war
First 100 20 20 20 10 10 10 10
Second 90 18 18 18 9 9 9 9
Third 80 16 16 16 8 8 8 8
Fourth 70 14 14 14 7 7 7 7
Fifth 60 12 12 12 6 6 6 6
Sixth 50 10 10 10 5 5 5 5
Seventh 40 8 8 8 4 4 4 4
Eighth 30 6 6 6 3 3 3 3
Ninth 20 4 4 4 2 2 2 2
Tenth 10 2 2 2 1 1 1 1

Kosrae was fourth runner up with $720 fundraised towards the endowment fund. White team was third runner up with $1500. 

This is only a model, not a proposal per se. There could be other events included, some could be discarded. Note that volleyball, basketball, and softball are the ongoing tournaments throughout the term. The last four columns are founding day events. The model can be adjusted for more events, the overall points can be changed, the decrements in each column could be altered.

Red team raised $2010 for first runner-up, edging out the blue team's $1879.

The king and queen would be crowned at founding day's end in this model. This would give the princesses the morning to get their hair done and to prepare for the procession.

The purple team, Pohnpei campus, were crowned king and queen with $8045 raised. With the ability to tap into sakau market fundraisers that earn in a single night double what the green team earned, the purple team can be the only winner.

Note that the number of places runs out to ten. This allows for more teams to participate. The following is also a sensitive area, and I do not have statistical evidence on which to base the following. I took 281 pictures on founding day. I roamed the gym, the bleachers, the hallways, the field, tents, and sidewalks. My sense was that few Pohnpei state outer islanders were present on a "per college capita" basis. I also suspect that the Pohnpei national blue team was also low against their actual numbers in the national campus student body. I think there ought to be room for a PingMwok or NuKap team. Maybe the schedules could not handle the additional teams, that I do not know. The model is designed to permit the number of teams to be larger.

Championships in the FSM China Friendship Sports Center

I would be remiss if I did not also note that once again Pohnpei campus had wonderful turn-out from their faculty. While some national campus faculty did participate, many did not. I recall seeing only one other member of the division I am in at the founding day event, and that member played an active role in prepping the princes and princesses for the processional march. I did note that the Chuuk/White team had prepared t-shirts with faculty and staff members names on the back to make them feel included in the team. I do not know if the team funded the t-shirts or if, as the green team did two years ago, each person paid for their own shirt. Either way, this was a nice inclusive touch.

Having the coronation at day's end would not prevent having an "opening ceremony." If there are invited guests, then the 2016 working group should include ushers to seat the guests, provide water, and - if appropriate - snacks for those guests during the opening ceremony.

Three legged race

The day was a wonderful day filled with laughter and competition. Using our own campus brought a sense of togetherness as a college that I had not felt on sports founding days at the Pohnpei state track. I do not know why I felt this way, but I felt like the college was one big family at home romping and rollicking. Overall I would recommend retaining the location and structure of founding day for 2016 - having it on the national campus with championship and fun games running simultaneously. My thanks to everyone who made this day the special day that it was.

Campus layout for the fun games

Food tent

Attendance at the championship

Dance contest

Easy dizzy head spin


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