Student Council plans new outreach, technology initiatives

Axler says StudCo to meet around Grounds

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As the new school year begins, Student Council has big plans to better assist University students and address particular concerns.

Representative Body Chair Abraham Axler, a second-year College student, said two of the biggest issues facing college students right now are sexual assault prevention and college affordability.

“On a micro level, what we really want to do is engage with students on whatever issue they feel is affecting them most pronouncedly,” Axler said. “We do both the very big and the very small.”

Axler said Council is focusing this year on building relationships and improving technology.

“In terms of relationships, we are going to do something new called ‘StudCo Comes to You,’ in which we are going to have some of our meetings at different locations to reach out to other constituencies,” Axler said. “We might have a meeting at first-year dorms or a meeting at the Law School. StudCo meetings have always just been at Newcomb, which is not convenient for everybody. … We want to make it so that everybody can come to the meetings that they care about.”

Student Council meetings are held every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and are always open to the public.

“Our primary goal is to refocus on being dynamic and responsive to student needs when they have them and we have internal processes being set up to be able do that better,” said President Jalen Ross, a fourth-year Engineering student.

Council will also launch a new program called ‘StudCo Ambassadors,’ which will send representatives, committee chairs and members to CIO events and student gatherings around Grounds, Ross said.

“Going out and having these constant conversations with the groups of people that are representing all of the things students care about helps us to understand what the problems are, so we can better try to solve them,” Ross said. “These conversations will help us build relationships with people who we are supposed to be serving.”

To build Council’s technological infrastructure, Council recently entered into a partnership with the company Ventfull to create a mobile app that allows students to see events happening around Grounds more easily, Axler said.

“Anybody that has an event can tell us about it and we can put it on there so that students will see,” Axler said. “What’s cool is that you can vote on events, and the events that are more popular, students will see first.”

Ross said Council is also setting up a new, intensive training program for new members that will better prepare them for committees.

“This training will last a couple weeks and at the end of it they will know the contacts to make and they will know how to do simple things, like reserving space and that sort of thing,” Ross said. “This means that all 17 of our committees are going to be more effective because they are going to have members to come in being more effective right away.”

This year’s initiatives mark a continuation of major structural changes implemented last year, when the Council created new legislative committees.

“We have elevated and also expanded the role of our Membership Chair this year,” Ross said. “The chair is going to oversee the new training and is playing a bigger role in our recruitment process, ensuring we are getting the right people in the organization and a diverse spread of people from all over the place.”

Axler said he is excited for the new energy in Student Council this year.

“I think it’s the youngest StudCo has ever been in terms of who the Chairs are and who is on [the Executive Committee], so [we have] the opportunity to build a lot of programs and new initiatives and sustain that growth by retaining some institutional memory, so that’s really exciting,” he said.

Ross said Council has been working closely all summer to prepare for the coming year.

“We have a slew of incredibly talented people, who care a lot about his organization and, more importantly, care about making sure the Student Council is a service to the student body to improve the lives of all the students that go to school here,” Ross said. “We are all on the same page and I think we are starting off the year strong.”


Published August 31, 2014 in News









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