Student Senate Brief

The 60th Student Senate met on Wednesday to discuss matters concerning the structure and function of the body, including the means by which seats are filled on committees affiliated with the Student Association (SA).

Currently, SA has over 20 committees, and there is no uniform process by which students are elected. As per the SA constitution, some committees require students to be elected through the Senate, while others mandate that a portion of the seats be filled through the Council of Organizations. Nicole Striffolino, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Governance, admitted that there is no clear motive behind some of these mandates and rather than serving any administrative purpose, they continue to restrain efficiency in the election process.

Striffolino also announced that she is now accepting candidacy forms from students interested in running for seats on the Senate next semester.

“We’re looking for motivated, committed people to join the table,” Striffolino said, urging senators to recruit prospective candidates in their classes and extracurricular activities.          According to SA guidelines, any student may run for a seat on the Senate provided that they have paid the annual activity fee and are in good academic standing. Candidacy forms are available in the SA office (SUB 428) and are due on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Executive Vice President Kelsey Ryan reported on the matters discussed at the Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) board meeting earlier in the day. According to Ryan, a representative from Coca Cola addressed concerns regarding the campus-wide ban on the sale of plastic water bottles.

When members of the CAS board voted in favor of the ban last spring, it was stipulated that bottle refilling stations would be installed in several locations on the campus, and that reusable water bottles would be made available to the student body. Concerns voiced to members of the board indicated that students were dissatisfied with the lack of new bottle refilling stations, as well as the minimal distribution of free reusable water bottles on campus.

The representative from Coca Cola argued in favor of lifting the ban, offering instead to partner with the university to implement various green initiatives throughout the community. Though receptive to the proposed recycling initiatives, Ryan reported that the board ultimately elected to uphold its original decision and maintain the ban.

W. Mark Colvson, the dean of the Sojourner Truth Library, presented to the Senate on the progress of the renovations to the library. The renovations to the library, which began in the fall of 2014, were deemed necessary in order to make better use of the space and to introduce more natural light on the main floor.

In his presentation, Colvson highlighted some of the improved features of the library, including 10 group study rooms, a late-night study area, as well as a gallery space for displaying art. Peet’s Coffee & Tea, a California-based company, will occupy the newly-expanded cafe annex near the main entrance. Renovations to the library are slated for completion over the upcoming winter break.

Colvson hopes to see the library open its doors to students and staff in January, kicking off a semester-long series of events to celebrate the reopening. Eager to begin plans for the celebration, Colvson is making an appeal to students and organizations eager to collaborate in the events.

“The library is the center for creative and scholarly work,” Colvson said. “We are looking to host events that highlight the importance of collaborative learning and creative expression.”