StuCo Report: Formal Parties, Elections, and Small Starts

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.

Weekend in Review

Last night’s StuCo meeting kicked off with an animated discussion about the Yule Ball. Some members suggested that the party could be held in Upper Tarble rather than in Sharples. There have been concerns recently about the cost of holding the event in Sharples.

Student Groups Coordinator Lanie Schlessinger ‘15 said that Upper Tarble has the capacity to hold all the Yule Ball attendees.

Elections Next Week

Co-President Victor Brady ‘13 reported that platforms for winter StuCo elections are due next Monday night at 11:59 p.m. Elections will take place starting at 12 a.m. Wednesday and go until 12 a.m. Thursday night. Since the request for platforms went out last week, there will be no conflict with the two-week waiting period, as there has been in the past.

There will be five openings for the 2013 spring-fall terms for the following positions: Co-President Gabby Capone ‘13’s position (one of two Co-Presidencies), Secretary, Student Outreach Coordinator, Appointments Chair, and Campus Life Representative. As of last night, no platforms had been submitted.

There will be a meeting in Paces Café at 10:30 p.m. tonight for students interested in running or for “anyone who just wants to chat,” said Brady.

Re-Envisioning Group Chartering

“I have this brilliant-beyond-brilliant idea that instead of doing chartering the way we’ve been doing it we could make it much more simple,” Schlessinger said. Schlessinger, who sits on the StuCo Chartering Committee, currently participates in brief meetings with newly-formed student groups interested in receiving a charter, which allows the groups to apply to the Student Budget Committee–not affiliated with StuCo–for funding and to advertise on board space on the first floor of Parrish. In essence, chartering allows StuCo to act as a gate-keeper for groups that want to go to SBC.

Chartering is a formality, a way of saying you have your stuff together, said Schlessinger. “There’s no criteria. We’ve never voted no [on a group]. We’re not really allowed to vote no.” Other members of StuCo pointed out that a past Student Groups Advisor voted no on multiple groups’ charters, though there was agreement within StuCo that the present chartering process is a bit redundant.

“I kind of see that because a lot of the decisions that you make don’t have a big impact,” Student Life Representative Tony Lee ‘15 said.

Schesslinger later explained over Facebook that in the future it would make more sense for the SGA to “meet individually with groups to coach them through the process of becoming an established group on campus. In these meetings we could discuss how to get space, how to get funding, and how to publicize events.”

After each SGA meeting, the group could be approved for a charter. Only then could they apply for SBC funding.

During the StuCo meeting, Appointments Chair Will Lawrence ‘13 told the group that any change would have to be embodied in constitutional reform. Schlessinger plans to put a referendum on the issue in next week’s ballot.

Coffee Bar Sunday Hours

The Science Center Commons Coffee Bar was open yesterday–the first Sunday ever–as part of an initiative for expanded food options on campus. The initiative is one of several “Small Starts” StuCo has been pushing this semester. Already StuCo is seeing an extremely positive response from students. “We have a lot of encouraging emails . . . probably more emails that we’ve gotten ever” Brady said.

“This is the greatest thing ever! Thank you so much,” read one email. “I love Victor Brady,” read another, Brady said.

Free SEPTA Tokens

President Rebecca Chopp has responded optimistically to StuCo’s proposal to fund students’ rides on SEPTA, as Haverford and Bryn Mawr currently do. Her meeting with StuCo representatives “was extremely positive,” Brady said.

Funding sources have not yet been identified, but Chopp said that she would let StuCo know shortly which might be available. She expressed concern about the program’s sustainability, but suggested that tracking quantitative data about the program’s operations could be one way to persuade future administration and board leaders to continue it.

StuCo now needs to talk to Student Activities Coordinator Paury Flowers, said Capone, because the Haverford and Bryn Mawr programs are run out of those school’s corresponding activities offices.

StuCo Formal Party

“People love getting dressed up,” Brady said, “but maybe not going to something quite as niche-y as the Yule Ball. Well, I said, we should have a StuCo formal, which was met with resounding approval.”

“Where was this support coming from?” Capone asked.

“The four people I talked to,” Brady said, to laughter.

Many of the StuCo members were similarly enthusiastic about the proposed formal. “I think it’s totally a void in our school,” Schlessinger said.

Details have yet to be decided. It might be held in a space like Upper Tarble, but there is a possibility of holding it outside, perhaps in the amphitheater, or on Parrish Beach.

“Dry or wet?” asked Student Life Representative Tony Lee ‘15. “That’s the biggest question.”

Appointing Committee Members

Lawrence is nearly ready to begin interviews for committee appointments after receiving “immense interest in applications . . . like too much,” he said. Among all the committees to be filled, the only spots without applicants are one of two on the committee to replace Myrt Westphal and three of four on the RA Selection Committee.

Appointments Chair has traditionally been considered one of the most demanding StuCo positions. “It’s kind of going to be crazy because there’s going to be a ton of interviews,” he said.

Bike Share in Home Stretch

The effort to bring back a Swarthmore bike share is paying off, and StuCo will be getting a lot of help in its implementation. Cycling Club is now chartered, and as they organize themselves, said Lee, there is a good chance their members will help manage the bicycles, which have been procured by StuCo. A lot of the members of Cycling Club are mechanics, said Lee, so StuCo wouldn’t have to pay them.

Democratic Calendar for Shane Lounge

Secretary Sarah Dwider ‘13 has been looking into placing an 80 square-foot cork-board monthly calendar in Shane Lounge as a catch-all list of events for the community. Dwider was not present at the meeting, but has been in contact with other members who spoke for her. The details will be worked out by Dwider in the coming weeks. While a Student Life Rep might help manage the calendar, students would post events themselves.

Board of Managers Luncheon

Fifteen members of the Swarthmore community will join the members of StuCo at the Board of Managers Luncheon this Friday from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in the Scheuer Room. According to Brady, Capone’s email invitation to the student body received all fifteen responses in less than ten minutes.

These luncheons are opportunities for students to meet and chat with members of the Board and to participate in a broadly-themed discussion. This time the discussion is on the role of the liberal arts, a theme which dovetails with the administration’s push to develop a Liberal Arts Institute.


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