By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
ACU students who live in the Grove student housing official name will be eligible to apply for two $1,000 sponsorships that will go toward tuition at ACU.
The Grove is offering the resident-exclusive sponsorships after the President’s Cabinet turned down a proposed partnership that would provide three $1,000 scholarships to any eligible ACU student. The recipients would have been mainly based on financial need.
Dr. Jeff Arrington, dean of Campus Life, said ACU chose to pass on the partnership with the Grove because the Cabinet did not know if the Grove’s goals were in line with the university’s mission.
“I think that their purposes and our purposes are probably not the same,” Arrington said. “Their purposes are to advance the Grove, and our purpose is to educate students, so we did not feel like that is a partnership we would like to enter.”
Mike Spell, general manager of the Grove, proposed the partnership to Arrington at the beginning of the spring semester, and said he wasn’t surprised by the university’s decision.
“For us to come on campus really puts the university in an awkward position,” Spell said. “I know the rumors that this is going to be a ‘party place.'”
But despite the rumors, Spell is adamant that the Grove is intent on creating a community that is in line with the university’s mission and creating a good relationship with the universities of its students.
“We don’t want this to be a party place; that’s not what we’re about,” Spell said.
The Grove already has established a partnership with Hardin-Simmons University to provide funds for three $1,000 scholarships for HSU students, and has sponsored campus activities at HSU.
One such activity was a Valentine’s Day event organized by HSU and the Grove.
Lindsay Snodgrass, coordinator of student activities at HSU, said the Grove was helpful and cooperative at the Valentine’s Day event and is confident the Grove’s presence in Abilene is a positive one.
“I think that the Grove is great for Abilene as a whole,” Snodgrass said. “They’re just trying to have good ties with the university and be involved in what we’re doing.”
Spell said he has been trying to coordinate and sponsor events at ACU like he has been doing at HSU, but he has run into roadblocks. Spell has tried to network with the Campus Activities Board and Students’ Association to find ways the Grove can be actively involved in ACU activities.
But so far he said he has not been successful.
Spell, who was residence director of University Park from 2000-02, says ACU’s choice not to accept the scholarship program may be influenced by the university’s connection to UP.
“I think a major part of [it] is because of the school’s relationship with UP,” Spell said.
However, Arrington said if UP or any other company or person wanted to donate money to the university, they would have to go through the selection process that the Grove did.
“I would think that anytime someone approaches the university to enter into a relationship with us, that we would go with the same sense of examining whether our mission or their mission match,” Arrington said. “We just don’t know the Grove.”