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SGAs unveil Nighthawk statue and start new tradition at UNG

2018-05-02-NighthawkStatueRevealed1
University of North Georgia (UNG) senior Michelle McAdams unveils a Nighthawk statue to physically and symbolically link four UNG campuses with one single tradition. McAdams, the outgoing Student Government Association president, revealed the statue April 27 on UNG's Gainesville Campus. An identical Nighthawk statue was unveiled on the Dahlonega Campus. Two more statues will be installed on the Cumming and Oconee campuses at a later date.

With a single lift of a sheet, University of North Georgia (UNG) senior Michelle McAdams unveiled a Nighthawk statue to physically and symbolically link four UNG campuses with one single tradition.

McAdams, the outgoing Student Government Association president, revealed the statue April 27 on UNG's Gainesville Campus. Wakeitha Cunningham, a soon-to-be sophomore and the incoming SGA president in Gainesville, was the first to participate in the unifying tradition.

"We will start the tradition of rubbing the Nighthawk for good luck," said Wakeitha Cunningham, a soon-to-be sophomore and the incoming SGA president on UNG's Gainesville Campus.

An identical Nighthawk statue was unveiled on the Dahlonega Campus. Two more statues will be installed on the Cumming and Oconee campuses at a later date.

The idea to have identical Nighthawk statues on four campuses started with the SGA.

"My SGA wanted to start something in Oconee to promote school spirit," said Lindsay Bailey, director of Student Involvement on the Oconee Campus. "So we thought 'Let's begin a tradition and do a Nighthawk statue.'"

After little progress on the statue and tradition were made in 2016-17, UNG student and former SGA president Kenny Malaney discovered a company willing to create a Nighthawk statue. The SGAs from Cumming, Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses joined the Oconee effort to turn the idea into a reality, Bailey said.

The SGAs then presented the statue and idea of rubbing the Nighthawk's beak for good luck before exams or an important athletic event as a possible future tradition to UNG's traditions committee, said Dr. Richard Oates, vice president of the Gainesville Campus and traditions committee coordinator. UNG President Bonita Jacobs established the committee as part of an initiative to document the traditions and activities that contribute to each campus' culture, student experience and educational environment. The committee approved and endorsed the idea.

"I'm still shocked that it is happening," Bailey said. "We are excited that we will have the same statue on four campuses. The SGAs came together to do this and that's awesome that they did it together."

McAdams, a senior from Forsyth County majoring in general studies with a concentration in business, humanities and social sciences, said the SGAs have been working on the project for two years.

"It's amazing to see this come to fruition because we've been working on this for so long," McAdams said. "Wakeitha Cunningham is the fourth SGA president to work on this."

2018-05-02-NighthawkStatueRevealed2

Identical Nighthawk statues were unveiled on the University of North Georgia's Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses April 27. Two more statues will be installed on the Cumming and Oconee campuses at a later date. The statues will physically and symbolically link four UNG campuses with one single tradition of rubbing it for good luck.

Stephany Garcia, a senior majoring in political science from Gainesville, Georgia, was one of the first students to rub the Nighthawk statue.

"It's so exciting to have something here that will wish us good luck before finals," she said.

The statues are located in front of the Student Center on the Gainesville Campus and at the top of the stairs between the library and the drill field on the Dahlonega Campus. Once the statue bases are complete, the Nighthawk will be located in front of the Student Resource Center on the Oconee Campus and behind the main building on the Cumming Campus.

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