Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Meeting with Dean Braun
StuCo President Simon Zhu ’11 and Vice President Deivid Rojas met with Dean Bruan to discuss various StuCo initiatives.
StuCo is forming a new funding committee that focuses on a broad scope of projects. This new committee is funded from the rollover in the Student Activities Fund and encourages more sustainable project ideas from students for the school. The committee would be composed of faculty, staff, and students. Dean Braun was very open to this idea and said that any administrative level will be welcome to this idea. She recommended for this idea to be a pilot program to see how successful it is and to have flexibility in the future.
Dean Braun also recommended some guidelines for the funding process and what sort of projects the committee funds. However, Rojas mentioned that guidelines may be a little difficult, especially since the committee is intended to cover a broad scope of ideas and project initiatives. Other StuCo members suggested having at least preferences; for instance, ideas that are not just one-time events but ongoing projects.
On another note, Rojas discussed strategic planning process and ways to get students more involved and giving committees feedback. He recommended having a question on the upcoming StuCo ballot on what students would like the next fireside chat meeting to be about. StuCo representatives voted unanimously for this. Student Events Advisor Luis Penate ’13 suggested including more information about the four working groups in the ballot.
StuCo members also discussed how they could help make the strategic planning process more transparent to students and how to engage more students in the process. They expressed frustration at finding a proper platform for students to give feedback regarding Strategic Planning, especially since the number of comments on the website and turnout for the fireside chat have been rather low. Anna Stitt ’13, Student Groups Advisor, suggested sending out a campus-wide email informing students about their student representatives on the Strategic Planning committees and encouraging students to write on the Strategic Planning website and to contact their representatives for feedback.
Board of Managers Meeting
The Board of Managers voted to table the SLAP’s neutrality agreement. The members are unsure about the future of the Inn project and the board will decide on the petition in February when they have a better idea of how Swarthmore is pursuing the Inn project. Zhu and Rojas will also publicize further details on the Board of Managers’ decisions in a later campus wide email.
Student Budget Committee Updates
Naomi Liang ’12, Student Budget Committee Manager, came to StuCo to debrief members about SBC’s current budget and the student activities fee.
First, SBC is in danger of overspending for this academic year. Halycon and LSE are requesting additional funds, approximately $30,000 total, such that funds from the Unrestricted Account may be low. The committee anticipates allocating funds from the Contingency Account (an emergency fund that is set aside to be used if the Unrestricted fund is used up) to compensate for this shortage. The College also has 13 more new student groups than last year.
Liang also discussed decreasing the Student Activities Fee by five dollars from this year’s $340 to next year’s $335. Given the substantial rollover in the previous years, SBC has decided to lower the fee by a small amount to “better reflect the actual amount of funds being used, induce the committee to considerate spending, and recognize the current economic climate,” Liang said. SBC also made sure that this decrease was not too dramatic and Liang spoke with the Business Office to ensure that there would not be an intergenerational inequity where a decrease in the fee for one class year will result in an large increase for a future class year. The total decrease in the Student Activities Fund from this fee change will be $7,000. StuCo members voted unanimously for this fee change.
For the resource guide, StuCo members are currently waiting for the Deans to confirm and/or edit their sections of the guide.
There will be a ‘Meet the Candidates’ election meeting on Monday; Rojas will send a campus wide email reminder regarding it.