StuCo Report: Existing Initiatives Moving Foward

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.

No Quorum

Not enough members were in attendance this week to achieve a quorum, the minimum number of representatives to be able to conduct business.

All members present murmured about the need for measures to insure better attendance at StuCo meetings or at least to know about the level of attendance.

Septa Tokens for Students

StuCo Co-President Gaby Capone ’14 passed out her proposal for the provision of SEPTA tokens to Swarthmore students for “co-curricular activities” (activites somehow pertaining to or in support of a student’s course of study at Swarthmore).

She mentioned the two possible structures of such a project, modeled after the programs of either Haverford or Bryn Mawr. She explained that Haverford has 50 tickets available every week and they are offered to students on a first come first serve basis. At Bryn Maw, you request a ticket via email and then pick it up at certain hours. Capone continued on to say, “we think  something like Haverford’s program is easier logistically.”

If this program were to be implemented in the spring, it would run for 14 weeks providing Swarthmore’s community with 40 tickets every week, at the cost of $5600. Capone said that after speaking with Dean of Students Liz Braun, the Dean highlighted the concern that the activities office might be currently overextended. At the mention of this, those present all agreed that the van coordinator already has a long list of responsibilities, and, StuCo Co-President Victor Brady ’13 suggested the creation of a student transportation committee to oversee such a program as well as provide oversight for other currently existent programs. The general question of where to get funding for such a committee remains.

Brady suggested the language of the proposal should be tightened to suggest that this is an initiative which “is” being done rather than one which “can” be done.  Capone agreed to expand proposal to include Committee and tighten the language. All agreed that a sexy name for the committee was necessary. Upon Education Policy Representative Rachel Stein ’15 verbalizing her concern for the overuse or potentially confusing rush for such tickets, Capone assured the group that the first priority was to simply get people using the tickets.

StuCo Underwhelmed by SBC Transparency

A general disgruntlement with SBC was expressed. Campus Life Representative Tony Lee ’15 initiated discussion by saying there were problems with the current StuCo appeal process to SBC’s budgets. Lee stated that there was an issue of transparency which made assessing the appeals near impossible and leaves student groups unsure how much total money they have or where it is going.

Lee said it would be nice if SBC gave reports throughout the semester and explained their reasoning. “We have no sense of the relative size of appeals,” explained Tony. He said that StuCo was not informed enough to make good decisions on any appeal which, in his words, “puts us in a hard place to make a hard decision.”

Capone agreed, saying that it was imperative to round out the online appeals process. Brady added that many of the recent appeals have been time-sensitive in nature, increasing the necessity of a streamlined online process.

SBC Wants to Buy Furniture

Financial Policy Representative Natalia Choi ’15 introduced SBC’s application for $740 to spend on furniture for their new office. They are requesting the money for a couch, desk, two swivelly office chairs, and two mats for said chairs. Brady joked, “Have they heard of a floor?” Capone expressed dissatisfaction with the request for $300 for rolling chairs when they could find something perfectly serviceable on campus.

Stein suggested giving SBC $500, but SBC would have to write up a new application first. All agreed to reject the current request when StuCo has a quorum at a later meeting.

Bike Share to Be (Re-)Implemented Next Semester

The college’s bikes are still in the process of being fixed. Lee said that he had talked to the founders of the not-yet-chartered bicycle club who had plans to write the repair of the bicycles and the Bike Share into their charter. The club wants to get started next semester, so the bikes should be fixed by then, Lee explained. The conversation then devolved into questions of the timing of chartering. Brady stated there were currently 12 charters up for approval and the goal is to have them all done by Friday.

Sunday Afternoon Coffee Bar Proposal

Brady said he is due to propose the idea of the Sunday afternoon coffee bar hours to Dean of Students Liz Braun on Monday. If approved, the new hours will take effect next semester.

Event Planning Advice

Campus Life Representative Ali Roseberry-Polier ’14 brought up the issue that when student groups plan conferences or other events that other schools’ groups come to, they often don’t know what is involved. “Someone should tell people how to plan a large event with staff that knows how to do stuff,” Roseberry-Polier said. She said it is important that facilities knows to make sure the rooms in use are heated and cleaned. All agreed that it was necessary to come up with standardized ways of planning larger events as well as standardized ways of imparting this knowledge to group leaders planning these events.

Board of Managers Luncheon

Capone mentioned that StuCo is invited to attend the second Board of Managers Luncheon of the year. Usually, Capone explained, the topic of discussion has been decided before StuCo could provide any input. This time, however, Braun asked for StuCo’s input.

A brainstorm ensued in which Capone listed previous topics such as high impact summer experiences and diversity. Capone then suggested such topics as interdisciplinary programs and Swat’s relationship with the surrounding community. Brady suggested sustainability and Swarthmore’s core values. Roseberry-Polier concluded that the group should brainstorm and send emails later.

Traditionally, The Daily Gazette and The Phoenix are each invited to send a reporter to the luncheon as well.

Parrish Parlors Piano Quiet Hours

As the sounds of the piano in Parrish parlors drowned out the conversation of StuCo members, all agreed that piano quiet hours should be instated. Brady took note of it on his hand.


  1. No wonder StuCo elections fail to get campus wide interest – if the members themselves can’t find the time or interest to go show up for the meeting, why should the student body care who we select to be on the Council? We are occasionally chastised for mocking StuCo and saying they don’t do anything, but when they literally can’t do anything because of the actions (or inactions) of the reps, it’s easy to see why we have that perception.

  2. SBC Chair here.

    I’d like to correct a few misconceptions evident in this report.

    -Appeals: the fact that there have been many appeals in recent weeks does not necessarily reflect a failing on the part of SBC. This year a tight budget has required SBC to turn down more proposals than in the past. Since every group has the right to appeal a decision they don’t like, and since the only cost to doing so is a treasurer’s time, of course StuCo should expect to hear as many appeals as they have this term.

    -Transparency: I don’t think this is a transparency issue so much as an information issue. One rep says that “we have no sense of the relative size of appeals” and “StuCo was not informed enough to make good decisions.” Appeals in fact include statistics that show the relative size of the appeal (in the context of a weekly spending target and the group’s annual budget). Appeals also include lists of arguments and counterarguments that are often several pages long. Additional information is always available, but StuCo has not requested any in the appeals they’ve settled this term.

    -Furniture: This fall SBC moved into a new office in Parrish that is twice the size of the previous one. Currently, the only furniture we have on hand are a few chairs from the 90s salvaged from the old office; if more than 2 treasurers come to our office hours they have to stand. SBC figured it was a worthwhile investment to make the office a comfortable place for treasurers and staff because we collectively spend dozens of hours a week there; we have decided not to wait for the college to provide furniture since some existing requests have been outstanding for weeks. $740 is not unreasonable for five pieces of furniture (which is why SBC approved that number in the first place) and was even noted to be a maximum estimate in the proposal. I question StuCo’s grounds for skepticism since they “have no sense of the relative size” of expenditures by their own admission.

  3. “StuCo Co-President Victor Brady ’13 suggested the creation of a student transportation committee to oversee such a program as well as provide oversight for other currently existent programs.”

    Guys, another committee? Don’t we have enough problems getting students on the one we got? Make it a position (“Public Transportation Coordinator”) and have done with it! 🙂

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