Unless you just don’t pay attention, you should know about the green chucks worn by our previous president of Southern Virginia University, Rodney K. Smith, a tradition carried on by our Acting President Richard G. Whitehead. I am proud to say I myself own a pair of green chucks that I won during a competition in forum in January of 2011, which I considered something of a birthday present given to me by the school. Well, the competition was really more luck of the draw—I just happened to be sitting on a chair that had a paper cut-out of a green chuck on a Popsicle stick underneath it, as did four other individuals. But the point of the story is that those shoes have become almost as much a symbol of Southern Virginia as our mascot Knight. Students even have the option of buying discounted green chucks through the school for $45, and I often see fellow students brandishing these shoes with pride. Professor Robert Stoddard, who also won a pair of these shoes, wore them on stage during “As You Like It,” like a true Southern Virginia supporter. But how exactly did this tradition start?
Laura Smith, no relation to President Smith, while a student at Southern Virginia back in 2005, heard from her friends about a conversation they’d had with President Smith about Chuck Taylors and how President Smith wanted a pair. Laura decided to take action into her own hands, and carried around a donation box, asking fellow students to add to the fund. Once the funds had been gathered, Laura asked President Smith’s wife for his shoe size and then purchased the shoes. She presented them to President Smith at the homecoming football game.
“[Southern Virginia University] was magic for me,” Laura said. “I loved my experience- the good, the bad, and the ridiculous. I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved being a part of something. I loved being able to talk to the president anytime. I loved that something like this [the green Chucks] could happen. I wasn’t in student government, I wasn’t top of the class, I just got together with other students and it led to a wonderful tradition.”
A simple decision brought about a new Southern Virginia tradition that will hopefully continue to live on once the new president is announced. Even if the new president chooses not to wear the shoes, the tradition, I’m sure, will live on through the students who will tell tales of the mystical powers the green chucks supposedly hold. After all, freshmen will believe anything… right?
(Post by Mika McIntosh ‘13. Photos by Brinn Willis, Isaiah Olson, Russ Dixon and Kelsey Burton ’12.)