Student Council Resumes
The Student Council (StuCo) will have its first meeting of this spring semester on Tuesday, February 7th from 7-8 PM in Olin 127. All students are invited to sit in on the general assembly meeting. As the government resumes operations, it will be interesting to see how the business will be conducted in this session.
StuCo, at this time, intends to hold general assemblies every other Tuesday. In these meetings, representatives report updates from their respective committees while officers inform the government of important information and updates on their councils.
As a First-Year Representative, I have hopes that the state in which StuCo operates will continue to improve this semester, and I hope that I may be re-elected so that I may continue to serve. Before our first meeting, we, the incumbent representatives and officers, have begun by coordinating our schedules to look into how best to give committee assignments and plan council meetings.
Representatives are assigned to committees each semester. In committee, we serve as the student body’s voice while working with the faculty committee members. In total there are currently 14 committees which allow for student representatives, being: the Strategic Planning Council (SPC) which works to establish and maintain a sustainable culture of improvement, Paideia which supports the mission of Paideia across campus, Safety which supports campus safety policies, Curriculum which focuses on overarching aspects of the curriculum and how they work together, CARE which reviews admission, advising, financial aid, and retention reports, Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) which is a plan to implement and assess a focused set of initiatives designed to enhance student learning across the university, Diversity Enrichment which leads efforts to promote the diversification of Southwestern University, Prevention and Well-being which focuses on mental health, substance abuse, and sexual assault, FYS/AES which reviews and sets policy for FYS and AES, Sustainability which determines how the Green Funds are distributed, Traffic which reviews traffic citations, Staff Affairs, Information Services, and the Campus Improvements & Space Utilization (CISU) which is responsible for talking to constituents and recommending small-scale campus projects to the Senior Staff for approval.
Last semester I served on the CISU committee which receives an annual fund of $50,000 available for the committee to allocate to projects that impact the Southwestern community for the better. Students are allowed to tell members of the committee projects they wish the campus would pursue. The committee then deliberates over whether they should allocate funding for accomplishing said project. As a representative, I was able to participate in committee discussions and serve as a voting member in determining which projects we should pursue.
Councils serve as internal operations of the StuCo. Representatives can volunteer to work with officers in the Historian council which works to communicate with the student body about what the student government is doing, the Parliamentarian council which reviews and makes suggestions regarding the StuCo bylaws, the Organizations council which deals with student organizations, the Wellness and Events council which manages events, and the Finance council which allocates funding. While councils were not as active in the fall semester, many officers have more plans for this spring semester.
This semester, elections are expected to occur, but the time and date of voting are to be announced by the officers. Student Council is an important outlet for student representation in the university’s committees that otherwise would only have faculty input. Additionally, StuCo serves as a way for better student coordination across campus. For these reasons, it will be even more important going forward for StuCo to be communicative in its actions and to lobby for students effectively.