StuCo Report: Calendars, SEPTA Tickets, and Puppy Parties

SRG (Student Resource Guide)

StuCo continued discussions about creating a comprehensive guide to Swarthmore life. The aim of the Student Resource Guide (SRG) is to compile information on every aspect of student life from meal equivalencies to athletics to campus buildings in one, up-to-date document.

Campus Life Representative Tony Lee ’15 researched the possibility of creating a wiki page and found that not many other universities have one. The group discussed the difficulty in creating a wiki page for student life at Swarthmore would be finding students willing to continuously contribute to and moderate the page.

Although StuCo acknowledged most of the information that would be included in the SRG is already available on Swarthmore’s website, they said much of the information is either out-of-date or difficult to find. Appointments Chair Yuan Qu ’14 suggested working with the college to improve the information on their website may be a better option than creating an entirely new document. However, as Student Groups Advisor Lanie Schlessinger ’15 pointed out, StuCo is not authorized to fix any outdated information on the website.

“The best we can do is send an email saying it’s out of date,” Schlessinger said.

StuCo agreed it would be beyond the scope of the project to try to work on the college’s website and decided to begin by compiling information for a single document.

“I think this is a really huge StuCco project that if we could do would get us really good PR,” Schlessinger said. “Having that resource as a freshman, even as a sophomore is invaluable.”

Since StuCo no longer has a chartering committee, the five members who would have been part of it will be tasked with putting together information for the SRG, Co-President Gabby Capone said.

Corkboard Updates

Co-President Victor Brady ordered $185 of corkboard this week for StuCo’s Student Calendar, which will be placed in Shane Lounge. StuCo acknowledged that students may scoff at the corkboard calendar.

“People are going to rip on it, and then they’re going to be happy that for the first time in their life they have a functional calendar,” Schlessinger said.

Brady is also working with the communications department on developing an online version as well. He said he met with them to discuss aesthetics, layout, and accessibility. They told him they are going to work with their current service provider on improving it. He also said the communications department will reach out to The Daily Gazette about collaborating with the Reserved Student Digest.

“Having two [calendars] is inefficient,” Brady said.

Once the corkboard is installed, any group that hosts an event that is funded by SAC will be required to post it on the calendar. Then, someone will be in charge of looking at the corkboard and entering the data online.

Student Senate

Brady emailed all the students on the 31 committees yesterday asking them to elect a representative for the Student Senate. Committees will have until Wednesday, February 13 to choose their representatives.

In addition to the committee representatives, the Student Senate will be comprised of 10 members at large as well as President Rebecca Chopp and Dean of Students Liz Braun. The senate will meet once a month and will be charged with discussing big-picture issues such as College policies and long-term, campus-wide initiatives.

The group discussed whether there should be designated member-at-large positions for students from each class. StuCo proposed having perhaps two positions designated for each of the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes, which would encourage freshman to take an active role on campus.

“I like the idea of having people from different classes,” Qu said. “There’d be a better representation of voices.”

SEPTA Tickets 

“It’s there,” said Brady. He will meet with Braun tomorrow to finalize details.

The College will provide 40 round-trip SEPTA tickets to Philadelphia each week. Starting this Saturday, Brady will send out an email with a Google form and students will have until Sunday afternoon to reply. If more than 40 students apply for tickets then students will be entered into a lottery. Students who have received more than four tickets per semester will be put at a disadvantage in the lottery and will only be awarded tickets if fewer than 40 students apply for tickets.

One issue raised is that the tickets do not expire.

“So then you could . . .” Secretary Sun Park ’16 said.

“Yes you can . . .” Brady said, acknowledging that it would be possible for students to hoard tickets.

Tickets will be distributed in students’ mailboxes on Mondays.

Small (and Big) Steps Forward

Brady announced the Panini maker is now available at Sharples. StuCo responded with applause.

“That’s a big step,” Capone said.

Brady also announced that snack bars will not be open late this semester. Linda McDougall told The Daily Gazette that an outside consultant has been hired to evaluate dining options and the College is waiting for his advice on the snack bar hours. It is possible they may resume late night hours next semester.

On Thursday, February 21, members of StuCo will help serve dinner at Sharples. Many members expressed enthusiasm and disbelief at being able to work at Sharples.

“This is going to be a learning experience. I’m excited,” Ibrahim said. “What am I going to be doing? Am I really going to be serving? Do I have to wear a hairnet?

Ibrahim reported she was able to insert a box on The Dash with a link to StuCo’s suggestion box. Ibrahim said she received 65 suggestions this week and has been replying to them via Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

“You are doing such a good job with that,” Park said.

Some suggestions seemed impractical. One asked if StuCo could create a program that would tell students which washers and dryers were available in residential halls, a service University of Chicago and Baker University already have.

Other suggestions included providing more recycling and composting bins and having coin machines in every residence hall.

Chartering Reform

After more than a semester of reforming the chartering process, Schlessinger said that the final piece of the puzzle is a “precedent rule” which would require clubs to show that they are active before being chartered. Schlessinger said many chartered groups are not active. For example, three creative writing groups chartered last semester are no longer active, though their charters remain.

StuCo voted unanimously that a club must be in existence for a month and supply a list of interested students before applying for a charter.

Puppy Study Break

Park announced she is currently working on providing a puppy study break, which it was one of her campaign promises to implement. Swarthmore used to have pet parlor parties every semester until H.R. told them pets were not allowed in the building. Park plans to have the puppy study break on the front porch of Parrish.

StuCo said they were interested in hosting more creative study breaks such as cupcake breaks and breaks with Braun.

Student Spaces

Lee raised the issue that many student groups want a space to keep their stuff long-term. He reported Assistant Dean for Residential Life Rachel Head was open to reevaluating assigning student spaces on campus.

“All the stuff for the Pterodactyl Hunt is stored in a great room in Parrish basement,” Lee said. “That’s prime real estate, and it’s opened once a year to take it out and put it back.”

“We need a student group locker room,” Brady said.

 

This article has been changed to reflect the following correction: Late-night snack bar hours have been put on hold while the College waits for advice from an outside consultant, not an outside company.


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4 comments

  1. 0
    Gabby Capone '14 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    For anyone who has questions about the Student Senate – which is being *piloted* and is most definitely NOT in any sort of final form – feel free to e-mail myself or studentcouncil@swarthmore.edu. A lot of time and consideration was put into selecting the Senate’s composition, general purpose, and logistics. These are all still up in the air and we love/need to hear ideas and concerns. It is always on our agenda for our weekly meetings – 6:45pm in Parrish Parlors and we encourage all those interested to come. I am posting on this report because I think it is important for clarification and because Paul raises a great point.

    I must emphasize that it is a *pilot*, and we chose the methods which would make it easiest to implement. It is neither perfect nor set in stone. StuCo is of the opinion that it is easier to put something into practice and then tweak it, than to get caught up in a discussion in an attempt to make it perfect from the get-go which can push implementation too far into the future. The whole “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” thing, but on a *slightly* smaller scale.

    Representation is a priority, but for the first semester we want the Senate to be a manageable and efficient size (which, in my mind, is less than 150 students). 1 rep from each group would mean 150+ reps. More representation does not mean better representation when there are huge logistical, organizational and moderating-related questions still up in the air. Getting reps selected from subsets of groups (e.g. environmental, competitive, cultural) was also considered, but would require a level of oversight and coordination amongst the 150 groups beyond what StuCo can handle, and would have made it impossible for us to get something up and running this semester. The Senate will have representation from MANY clubs through the 31 committee-members and 10 at-large positions, but not every club is going to be represented in this first semester. The benefit is that we will actually have something up-and-running which we can build upon.

    We chose to draw from committee-members for a few reasons. It’s self-selecting: those on committees have a demonstrated interest in college governance and policies or in student life/governance as a whole. They are appointed by the Appointments Committee, which is composed of elected StuCo reps. Committee-members have specific knowledge about the college’s policies, organizing bodies, plans, etc.; information which can be very useful for a Senate that wants to engage in policy discourses. Committees represent a broad spectrum of college life (from the Crum Stewardship Committee, to the Curriculum Committee, to the Cooper Series committee) while allowing us to keep the Senate under 50 students.

    There are 200+ students on college and student-run committees; selecting 1 from each of the 31 gives us 31 representatives. They are heavily involved both in college life and in different groups around campus; there are and have been committee-members in DU, SASS, and SLAP (which were groups named at random). Do not assume that committee-members are not involved elsewhere on campus. On the contrary, those who are *not* involved on campus *rarely* get appointed to committees (and if they do it is because they have other characteristics/experiences which make them a great contributor). There is no guarantee that every group is going to be represented using this method, but our priority is to get something off the ground using a systematic method that is *representative.* The 10 at-large positions will mitigate some of the detriments of only drawing from committee-reps.

    The purpose of the Student Senate remains unclear. It is not, however, being brought about *solely* for student groups to voice their concerns. The Senate is also tackling larger issues on a larger scale: improving student governance and coordination, being an effective and utilized channel for getting representative student input on the college’s policies and plans. If the aim of the Senate were to increase communication amongst student groups then, without a doubt, drawing from those groups would be a no-brainer. We do want the Senate to be a resource and forum for student groups, but we are also trying to improve student governance, and students’ engagement with college governance. (Eventually to the point where the Senate might even replace StuCo.)

    The Senate’s meetings will be open. Being a “representative” or not will not affect your ability to attend and contribute to the Senate meetings and discussions, or to work on its projects.

    Hopefully this absurdly long posts clarifies why we went the route that we did. I’d be really happy to talk about all of this further by e-mail, at a StuCo meeting, or in Sharples (with anyone!)!

    -Gabby Capone ’14
    StuCo Co-President

  2. 0
    Excited about free SEPTA tickets ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Great that this is happening. It will make access to Philly more equitable and generally easier for all students.

  3. 0
    Paul Cato says:

    Though I must admit that I am somewhat biased given the discrepancy between the amount of time I’ve spent involved in student groups and the time I’ve spent participating committees, I have to wonder if a student senate that void of representatives from *student* groups can really speak for the student body at large.

    Though perspective from committee members is certainly necessary, and though I’m sure committee members make up a significant portion of the student body, it seems to me that in the end more students define their college experience by participating in extracurriculars than in committees. If the student senate is to accomplish its goal (serving as a forum for dialogue between Swat students) I can’t help but think it essential that student organizations be given a chance to participate in whatever discussions arise in the Senate. Maybe it’s just me but when I first received an email detailing the idea I imagined a space wherein representatives from various clubs were given the opportunity to engage in discourse over issues important to campus at large (and thus important to members of the clubs they were representing). Because the committee selection process is quite selective some clubs are prevented from having their voices heard on various important issues, and though this comes with the territory (not all students can be on committees of course) a student senate seems like a way for said organizations to have their voices heard. Committee members are already provided a chance to have their voices/opinions/thoughts listened to, and this is not always the case with student groups. Members of DU, SASS, and SLAP are all made up of students with valuable opinions on campus-wide issues, and those opinions deserve to be heard even if those clubs lack representation on committees or StuCo (those were the first clubs to come to my head – I don’t know whether or not they have members on committees or StuCo). Creating another campus institution void of said voices seems counterproductive and against what I understood was the purpose of the student senate.

    But those are just my thoughts – it seems everything’s been set in stone and the structure of the senate is already underway. I hope non -senate-members will be given the opportunity to attend such meetings if they’d like and, if possible, a chance to voice their opinions on some of the topics discussed.

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