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.
This week’s CamCo meeting was marked by an important announcement: Student Budget Committee (SBC) President Jacob Adenbaum ‘14 is stepping down within two weeks to help ease the transition into an SBC without him. He said that he is unsure who should replace him.
“I don’t have a good successor in place for SBC. […] It’s better if I step down now,” he said.
He will use the rest of the semester to find and train a successor.
CamCo also talked about the magnitude of the projects it should tackle. Co-President Jason Heo ‘15 said that smaller, fewer projects might be the way to go.
“Get three concrete things done,” he said.
Co-President Lanie Schlessinger ‘15, however, cited The Daily Gazette‘s (DG) comments section from last week’s CamCo report as evidence that people want CamCo to tackle bigger issues. She expressed the hope that the newly created Student Assembly could help with larger-scale projects. Salman Safir ‘16 suggested that CamCo’s press chair pay attention to DG comments in the future.
Safir then raised the question of gluten-free foods on campus. Some venues, he said, do not handle gluten-free products as they should. CamCo is working on the issue, and members said the situation is already improving.
Safir added that some Jewish students who live on campus are required to pay for the meal plan, even though they cannot eat at Sharples. CamCo concluded this was a bigger issue than one meeting could handle and moved on.
Next, Student Groups Advisor David Ding ’16 took the floor. Ding said that the student body is disjointed and has no clear focus. To address this, he proposed that CamCo try to push student events in a specific direction. His plan is to incentivize certain types of events and “reach into what is being planned on campus.”
Student Assembly Senior Class Senator Gabby Capone ‘14, present at the meeting, responded that this plan might be hard to implement.
“You can only have so much cohesiveness on this campus […] and I’m kind of okay with that,” she said.
Adenbaum asked if the school needs a “top-down approach to programming,” to which Ding responded that the school could promote equity if it held more large-scale cultural events, for instance.
Student Activities Committee Co-Director Josh Hallquist ‘14 said that large-scale events are less feasible under the current system.
“SAC is suspicious of anything bigger than $500,” he said, adding that he thinks this is a good thing because it means only extraordinarily motivated groups can organize large events.
Schlessinger added that she does not think there is a need for a top-down event planning system.
“I don’t know if this is fixing a hole,” she said.
Ding concluded the conversation by promising to flesh out his ideas and present them again at the next meeting.
Environmental Impact Chair Olivia Ortiz ‘16 said she was going to speak about environmental issues, but did not have enough time. She proceeded to summarize current trends in green activism on campus, saying that an intersection between social justice and green activism had formed. A big problem, she said, was communicating with the student body on green issues.
“We don’t reach as much of the student body as we could,” she said. CamCo agreed to work on improving this.
Schlessinger then proposed filling some empty Student Assembly seats by appointment. Others suggested this process be transparent and public.
Towards the end of the meeting, CamCo members discussed Sharples tabling. Ding said that about 30 people showed up to the CamCo table last week, with several asking about specific issues. Schlessinger suggested the format be changed, and CamCo discussed various timings and how to populate the table. Ding offered to continue manning the table himself, though others thought one person would not be enough.
“You want to see the faces, not the face,” Student Life Policy Chair Shaina Lu ‘16 said.
The meeting ended with a discussion of a Small Steps Forward request that a history of student activism be put online. CamCo members discussed various ways to do this and stressed that activism has a longer history than just last spring.
They also discussed ways to cooperate with Student Assembly, though the details of this arrangement are not yet finalized.
This is the last CamCo report in this format. Starting next week, CamCo meetings will take place completely off the record and The Daily Gazette will report on summaries provided by CamCo members after the meeting.