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Roll Call: Words from the SGA Senate 11/2/11

Six students from the Student Government Association had the opportunity to attend a student leadership conference at the State House in Trenton on October 24.

At this conference, the Senate met with students from other New Jersey schools to represent the interests of each particular school.

The student leadership day was hosted by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey (AICUNJ) in hopes of increasing awareness of some of the budget cuts from the 14 independent schools in the state.

The students who were in attendance had the opportunity to learn about the legislative process and had a chance to voice concerns about such budget cuts to programs like the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) and the Equal Opportunity Fund (EOF).

Robert J. Polakowski, the Vice President of AICUNJ, wanted students to be a part of this process to make sure politicians in Trenton remained accountable for their decisions on issues that directly affect the independent schools in New Jersey.

Student Opinion Survey– Dr. Strohmetz, a Psychology Professor and the Associate Vice President for Academic and Institutional Assessment, attended last week’s executive board meeting to discuss the Student Opinion Survey. This, similar to the BESSE and NESSE students take, is a new survey for all undergraduate students to gauge their satisfaction with the University and various aspects including residential life, dining services, and academics. The Senate has offered to help promote it through various outlets. It will be sent out through email.

The Running Club’s constitution has officially been approved as the newest club on campus.

The club will bring students together who enjoy running and wellness.

They will meet to discuss running techniques and equipment, run together, and host events on campus and compete with other schools. The Running Club also intends on actively participating in community charity walks. The International Business Club has also been approved, which will bring students together from all majors and help one another with business initiatives. Guest speakers have already been booked and networking opportunities are in place. The PreLaw Club and Christian Crusaders will also be coming soon.

Advisor Nagy would like to announce that online parking passes will be enabled shortly. Nagy has been speaking to Aramark and assures that changes will be made regarding the quality and presentation of the food.

She has been going to the dining hall for at least one meal a day and sending her staff there as well.

Aramark’s menu will be rewritten so that it will include more recognizable food dishes and more of what students want to see. Aramark’s contract is up at the end of June and administrators are discussing whether to continue it or not. Also being discussed is the possibility of allowing meal plan swipes to be used in different food locations around campus other than just the dining hall.

Construction of the new 800 building was discussed. Plans for ground breaking are be underway. The building is expected to open September 2012.

It has been determined that 11 new parking spaces were added to the commuter lot. An additional 18 spaces were created throughout other lots for students, by assigning staff to other parking lots. Residents who carry instruments with them to Woods Theatre are now allowed to park in the Woods Theatre parking lot.

New recycling initiatives may be underway. Options include single stream recycling, and separating plastic bottles that will be resold.

During a meeting with Police Captain Dean Volpe and Ravi Shah, representing student safety and campus affairs, the traffic concern in the main residential parking lot was addressed. The issue will be studied by the Police Department.

Soraya Quezada, Academics Chair met with Dr. Nye of the Psychology Department last week to discuss new plagiarism initiatives. Nye explained the “Turn It In” program, used to check research papers for any signs of plagiarism. She wants professors to stress to students that this program is used as a tool and is not meant to replace actual grading or professor’s judgment whatsoever.

This is the first year that the program will be used. If professors use it and students are responding well to it, the program will continue to be used.

Quezada also met with Provost, Dr. Pearson last week and discussed scheduling conflicts. Pearson will work with students if they are closed out of classes needed for graduation. He will also discuss with registrar about sending email notifications when a student is accepted into a class after being on the waitlist.

The Senate’s Spirit Initiatives Committee intends on getting freshmen more involved with upcoming basketball games. The night before the first game the Senate will invite all freshmen to come to the MAC and give out t-shirts and novelties.

There will be a point system for each person who attends all the games. Students will be awarded prizes for different point markers.