This week’s Student Senate meeting began with a motion that would confirm the Grand Marshal’s appointment of Molly Dugan ’18 to Independent senator. Dugan gave some background about her past experience, and referenced her success in increasing membership in her previous projects. No questions were asked by the Senate, and Dugan’s appointment was confirmed with a vote of 21-0.
After this, Academic Affairs Committee member Shreya Patel ’18 exhibited the work done so far on an electronic collection of courses. This project has an end goal of circulating the more specific course outlines designed by professors so the students looking to take these classes may have a better understanding on what its objectives are. Patel reported that students would like to find out the work and content of each class, and the publishing syllabi allow for a deeper look into their academic future. In addition, Patel stated that graduate students would benefit as they would be able to track what information they have already taken in and use this information to compare RPI to other prospective schools. So far, those dealing with the project have exchanged information with the Registrar’s office along with other key administrators, and confirmed the support of the department heads. Senate Vice Chair Christina Gilliland ’15 asked about what was currently holding the program back. In response, Patel recounted that there were still some heads of administration that needed to be contacted. Provost Dr. Prabhat Hajela is one of the most important contacts to make, as his office would be the main supplier and organizer of the syllabi. Many of the senators present questioned how this information was to be sorted and held. Academic Affairs Committee Chairman Marcus Flowers ’16 stated that these decisions have yet to be made and still need the assistance of higher level administration. Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15 questioned the project’s upkeep in future years, followed by a question by Mason Cooper ’17 about quality assurance of the syllabi. Flowers answered by stating the project was still in its early planning and once it is implemented, the long-term upkeep will be made.
Following the agenda, reports were made by the various committees which involved the Student Senate. Chairman of the Rules and Elections Committee Melanie Todis ’17 reported that substantial progress is being made on electronic voting. Chairman of the Facilities and Services Committee Michael Han ’16 stated that substantial and surprising progress was made on pet-friendly housing, and within its subcommittee, the Hospitality Services Advisory Committee Subcommittee Chairman Joe Venusto ’17 conveyed that this work currently consisted of benchmarking peer institutions and to see how they handled student feedback to their food services and to analyze the comparative pricing of the meal plans. Kees Cranendonk ’15 gave a report on behalf of the Student Life Committee. In the past week, the committee discussed making universal access a potential project. SLC has also begun to examine results of the recent Reddit thread concerning the Counseling Center and its services. In addition, Cranendonk mentioned the installation of new doors in BARH is in the works by ResLife, which would effectively separate the dining hall from the actual rooms of the residence hall. Keraga finished the meeting with his report, which publicized the need for more membership in HSAC, the Constitution Committee, and Student Government Communications. Keraga mentioned that all of these groups are receptive to members, either from within the Senate or from the general student body. For those interested, he may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.