On Sunday, January 24, 2016, the Swarthmore Student Government Organization (SGO) reconvened for the first time since Winter Break. Dean of Students Liz Braun and Aurora Winslade, Swarthmore’s new Director of Sustainability, were invited to speak. The meeting convened at 7:03 p.m. in SCI 105.
Renovated Mephistos No Longer Dry Space
After an active search for under-used spaces on campus, the administration, in collaboration with the Space Matters student group, decided to give Willets’ Mephistos Lounge a facelift. Braun said that Mephistos was repainted, and furnished with new multipurpose furniture, gaming consoles, and a projector with a drop-down screen. Additionally, Braun announced that Mephistos is no longer a dry space. Students hosting registered events in Mephistos can pick up a key from the Office of Student Engagement to gain access.
OneCard Campus System in Progress
Braun also gave updates on the progress of the OneCard Committee. In response to various concerns, the administration has been planning to institute a OneCard system similar to those on other college campuses where the student ID would serve as a key and dining card. The committee interviewed three vendors and established this as a three-year project. The locks to exterior residence hall doors would be replaced first, followed by those of academic buildings, labs, and rooms with expensive equipment. The OneCard system could also potentially give students more flexibility with their meal plans.
Council of Education Policy (CEP) Discussing Graduation Requirements
The committee discussed the Drafted CEP Report, which sought to restructure existing graduation standards, including distribution and language requirements. In the committee’s discussion, special majors, physical education requirements, club sport status, academic credit for internships, and other issues were brought up. The Daily Gazette was unable to procure a copy of the CEP Report. An SGO member suggested adding an ethnic studies requirement.
New Chair of Diversity Salman Safir‘16 Introduced
Salman Safir‘16 was elected as the new Chair of Diversity, replacing Mosea Esaias ’17.
Aurora Winslade Swarthmore’s New Director of Sustainability, Facing Student Environmental Concerns
Prior to joining Swarthmore, Aurora Winslade studied sustainable food systems at UC Santa Cruz, with a focus on the relationship between the individual and economic and environmental challenges. Winslade also spent more than ten years at the University of California Santa Cruz helping develop sustainability programs and policies, and founded the Sustainability Office at the University of Hawaii in 2012. At Swarthmore, Winslade will be working with the Green Advisors.
At the meeting, many SGO members, including Chair of Environmental Impact Bennett Parrish ‘18 voiced concerns about the lack of clear and consistent signage for the recycling system on campus. Dean Braun admitted that Swarthmore has a variety of systems, which makes it difficult for people to recycle correctly and consistently.
Another problem that garnered visible nods of agreement is the pile of cardboard boxes in the mail room. The members agreed that the space by Shane Lounge is too small and inconvenient for recycling, but there may be demand for the boxes, if there is a way to store them for future use. Chair of Academic Affairs Bobby Zipp ‘18 said, “I’m always looking for a cardboard box to use to mail stuff out. And sometimes I don’t want to spend money on buying one from Target.” On the topic of storage, Senator Tiffany Yu ‘18 said, “Storage options aren’t that great on campus. People just throw things out because they have nowhere to put it. I know it may be impossible to create more storage spaces, but that could be the solution to start reducing waste.” Braun responded with reasons for the lack of storage.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m. A copy of the minutes for this meeting are available on SGO’s website.