Treasurer Releases Student Congress Updates

Written by Brian Tidwell
This year, one of Student Congress’s main goals is to nurture increased communication between Congress and the student body. With this in mind, I want to share with you some of the successes that your elected representatives had last semester, and I want to inform you of our plans for the current semester.

To begin, Student Congress is looking forward to continued collaboration with various student organizations on campus in order to foster Southwestern’s spirit of community and, most importantly, ensure that your voices are heard and that your needs are met.

Last semester Student Congress had several successes, each one bringing us closer to our ultimate goal of more effectively representing you.

The first of these was ensuring adequate student representation on the Commission on Planning and Action for 2010. Student Congress worked with members of the commission to place a second student consultant on this very important board. Student Congress also passed three pieces of legislation last semester.

The first ensures that the campus wide election of the student representative to the board of trustees will continue forward smoothly.

The second, our environmentally-minded “trayless” legislation, was designed to cut out the use of trays in the commons, eliminating wasteful consumption and furthering Southwestern’s commitment to the environment.

The third advised the designers of Southwestern’s 2010 “grid,” or class schedule, to ensure Student Body Forums occur at a time when the greatest student, staff and faculty participation can be present.

Our Student Body Forums have played a crucial part in Congress’s role to make the student voice heard. We have addressed a wide range of interests that directly relate to you.

Breaking the mold of our traditional Student Body Forum, we hosted a round table discussion in the Bishops Lounge to connect the Student Body directly with Senior Staff, providing a constructive space where students personally interacted with members of Senior Staff and raised issues such as gender-blind housing, sexism on campus and economic transparency, which Congress intends to pursue over the course of this semester.

Additionally we have hosted forums that addressed the campus smoking policy, which was co-hosted by Colleges Against Cancer, as well as the campus environmental policy which was co-hosted by S.E.A.K., and resulted in the discussion that ultimately led to Trayless Week.

One of our greatest successes this year has been the campus-wide Inauguration Viewing Party, a collaborated effort that combined a variety of student organizations, faculty and staff to let the campus truly celebrate the historic moment together.

Your representatives on Student Congress appreciate your response and participation in these events, and we look forward to seeing more students at each of these events in the future.

Our first, which will be held on Feb. 17 in the Bishops Lounge, will feature President Schrum speaking directly to students regarding the state of Southwestern’s finances. While the event will be structured towards student needs and concerns, Student Congress wishes to extend an invitation to both faculty and staff to attend this important discussion.

Student Congress has many exciting items on the agenda this semester, including working with the Robertson Center to make their hours more accessible for students.

We will also be attempting to pass legislation relating to gender-blind housing in the Lord and Dorothy Lord Residential Centers on campus. Student Congress will also be conducting surveys to work on student retention at Southwestern.

Student Congress has had a highly successful and productive year, and with your valued input and suggestion, we hope to continue striving for excellence.

Brian Tidwell

Student Congress Treasurer

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