Senate Discusses Mandatory STEM Courses

Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.

The 57th Student Senate met for the fifth time on Wednesday, March 5 to elect new representatives to two committees and address the addition of mandatory Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) courses to the curriculum as general education requirements.

When the E-board presented updates, Council of Organizations Chair Matt LaSpada reported that the council recently accepted seven new clubs, including a League of Legends club and a sculpture club.

After E-board updates were announced, outside bodies were recognized, including NYPIRG.

NYPIRG President Eric Wood said that Tuesday, Mar. 11 will mark three years since the Japanese Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis. To bring awareness and education to the disaster and how it continues to impact us today, NYPIRG will host an event on Tuesday, March 11 /in Student Union Room 100 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“There are still a lot of devastating things occurring,” Wood said. “This event is to educate people on the dangers of nuclear energy and the present state of Fukushima.”

Another focus of the event is on green energy and solutions for approaching the issues related to nuclear energy usage, particularly because New York State is home to multiple nuclear reactors. The event will feature multimedia elements, such as photos and video clips.

Following Wood’s announcement, fourth-year biology major Rachel Kaminski presented to the senators on the Residence Housing Student Association (RHSA) E-board’s new presence at weekly senate meetings.

Kaminski said each senate meeting, a member of the RHSA E-board will attend to report on the association’s upcoming events and present updates to develop a more amicable relationship between the two organizations.

She announced that a Mardis Gras-themed Buzz! Karaoke night would take place on Friday, March 7 in Scudder Hall, as well as a conference to promote student leadership will be held Saturday, March 8.

Next, the senate voted and filled the representative seats on two different committees.

First-year business major Elijah Byer was elected to the business seat of the Academic Affairs Committee, while fourth-year finance and accounting major Clinton Kelly was elected to the business seat for the Budget Goals and Plans Committee.

“This committee is another opportunity for me to gain experience in this field and help out in the New Paltz community,” Kelly said before listing his qualifications and credentials for the position.

Senator Nadia Alirahi, a representative on the Liberal Education Committee, presented to the group the committee’s most recent developments on general education (GE) curriculum course requirements.

Currently, the committee wants to eliminate the two STEM courses they were considering implementing as GE requirements. Senators discussed alternative options to this provision.

“The Liberal Education Committee has been charged with restructuring the GE system,” Nadia Alirahi said. “We are getting a lot of feedback from a lot of departments and we are trying to incorporate suggestions and appease both the students and the faculty.”