The Student Association (SA) at SUNY New Paltz has created a number of committees, enabling students to have a say in administrative matters and decisions made on campus. Although some are newer than others and still going through the introductory processes, each has the same goal of getting the student body involved in various aspects of academics that ultimately affect them the most.
Committees are created through the student senate, which chooses to approve or deny the proposal of what the they will accomplish, and confirms students to the available seats. These fall into two categories; some directly affect SA, while others are involved with Faculty Governance.
One of the committees most recently created was the Sustainability Committee, which was formed to make sure campus is as sustainable and green as possible. Two students, – third-year international relations major Max Lasky and fourth-year elementary education major Lauren Brois, – were elected to fill seats on this committee at last week’s senate meeting.
“Committees can get a lot done,” said SA President Jennifer Sanchez, “[and] almost anyone can join any committee, except for the faculty governance seats which need to be filled by major.”
The faculty governance committees consist of faculty, staff, administration and SA, and include the Academic Senate, Academic Affairs Committee, Budget, Goals and Plans Committee, Curriculum Committee, Academic Appeals and Educational Technology Committee. Each committee has a seat for representation of one student from every school on campus, except some require two out of the liberal arts school.
“Most of the positions in these committees are open, and we are definitely looking for students to fill these seats,” Sanchez said. “It is important for us to use the available seats that we have in order to ensure that we are participating actively in our college experience.”
Large scale events are planned annually by SA Productions and the Senior Week Committee plans events including a fashion show, career resource programs and a ball for the graduating class, while Budget and Finance Committee is in charge of approving or denying monetary requests for such events.
SA Executive Vice President Eve Stern said that one of the most important committees to get involved in is the SUNY New Paltz chapter of New York Public Research Group (NYPIRG), which holds a strong focus on higher education.
“It’s great to get involved in because students think that problems don’t always affect them, but higher education and tuition rates affect everyone,” she said.
Stern is also the leader of the University Police Committee, which elected Senate Chair Terrell Coakley and Sens. Chris Albach, Jonathan Espinosa, Karen Ortiz, Erica Peña and Victoria Samakai Tuesday night. The committee was created for students to form better relations with the University Police Department and help students who feel they have been treated unfairly during any encounters with the UPD.
“I feel that the committee is a great liaison between the student body as a whole and the police force,” said second-year history major Josh Simpson. “It helps represent those who feel they weren’t able to represent themselves.”
Although students often feel they have no say in decisions made on campus, the reality of the matter is quite the contrary, and more committees are always being formed in order to ensure this.