Retention pond name vetoed

Retention pond name vetoed
The retention pond while under construction in fall 2022. Photo by Ryleigh Tupper.

The name “Aug Bog” won a student poll for the naming of Augustana’s retention pond on the southeast side of campus. However, administrators have vetoed this name and are pursuing other methods for naming the pond.

According to President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, low voting participation by the campus community and perceived negative connotations behind the word “bog” encouraged the decision to find a different name for the pond.

In August 2022, Adam Ericsson, assistant director of admissions, contacted senior Maddy Basso, president of SKOL, about coming up with a way for students to participate in naming the pond.

SKOL decided to allow students to pay one dollar to have a name of their choice considered in a poll. The group would then donate all proceeds to the Sanford Children’s Miracle Network. The Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing approved this plan.

From Nov. 7 to Nov. 10, SKOL collected over 70 names and $253 in donations from the student body and donated an additional $1,000 from their funds to the Sanford Children’s Miracle Network.

SKOL sent the complete list of names to Augustana’s business office, and the communications and marketing team approved four potential names: Aug Bog, Berg’s Bog, Ole’s Lagoon and Viking Sea.

SKOL then opened a poll from Nov. 21 to Dec. 5 on Viking Central for students to decide between the four approved names. Campus TVs and the ASA and SKOL Instagram pages advertised the poll.

The name “Aug Bog” won the vote, but the poll may not have been representative of campus opinions as a whole, as only 17 students voted.

“The university was not comfortable moving forward with such a low voting participation rate,” Keeley Meier, a writer for the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing, said.

Meier said that Augustana now plans to set up a new naming process to engage more people across campus.

“We’ve actually got a group of Augustana graduates who we engage as a third party in some of our marketing and creative design who are helping us,” Herseth Sandlin said.

According to Herseth Sandlin, Augustana is planning to work with Matt Jensen Marketing to identify some professionally created names, but once these are finalized, the broader campus community might still be able to participate.

The tentative current plan is to have a student vote on names created by university staff or its partners.

“We should let the campus community vote, not alumni,” Herseth Sandlin said. “It’s the current students’ campus home. Once we identify some professionally, creatively designed names, let’s let our current students decide.”

Opinions on disregarding the original student vote have been mixed.

Many students were unaware that a vote on the submitted names ever occurred.

Kinzie Gullikson, who submitted the winning name, said she was indifferent about the decision to not use “Aug Bog.”

“I did not know that the name I had written was chosen,” Gullikson said. “I honestly don’t even remember what I wrote or what was chosen.”

Basso said she was disappointed the university is not considering other names submitted by students.

“We raised the money for the kids, and that was the main aspect, but I’m sad that something SKOL said is not actually going to happen,” Basso said. “I feel bad for all the people that donated, in a way. If you want students to stay, you have to give them a say. Especially, don’t take it away.”

According to Herseth Sandlin, how the pond will be named has not been finalized, as it will likely not be named until its fountain element is completed this summer.