Student Government Address

October 11, 2019

Hello Everyone!

 

I write to you all to, yet again, provide updates about all that has been happening with Student Government these past few weeks. By far the biggest thing occurring are changes to the structure of the Budgets and Organizations Board (BOB). Through the input of student focus groups, faculty and administrators, it has become clear that the current structure of BOB is a major obstacle to community development, has a more or less adversarial relationship with the student body and is not organized to make sure clubs are good stewards of the university's resources. The past semester, our current CFO Bella Kudas has worked tirelessly with her board to try to improve BOB’s practices, make it more transparent and approachable and fix its tarnished reputation among students and club leaders. She has done an absolutely amazing job, but through this process we all became aware that the current structure and vision was not adequate to the task we were undertaking. Bigger changes are needed to shift BOB’s primary focus to community building, leadership development, and enhanced campus collaboration.

 

Myself and many others, have been on the receiving end of the seemingly arbitrary process that BOB conducted during past administrations. It seemed that the partisan opinions of those students who served on it made decisions that affected overall student life in a negative manner. This was unacceptable, and something that I hoped to change if elected. Additionally, it was a project Bella was immensely interested in. Therefore, we brought these concerns to the Dean’s office who completely agreed change needed to happen. Consequently, the Dean’s Office, as well as the Office of Student Activities drafted up a memo to put specific changes into motion as soon as possible. These changes include: 

 

Budget and Programming: 

  1. For this coming budget cycle, BOB Clubs and Organizations should propose their programming events and budget for the upcoming three semesters (Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021). This budget should incorporate underclass club members so that the clubs’ future leaders and members have a strong connection to proposed activities/events and overall club direction. 

  2. BOB will review these budgets in November 2019 based upon their current procedures and practices. 

  3. All Clubs and Organizations will propose desired event dates, times and locations for the approved budgeted programming by the end of January 2020. 

  4. A meeting will be held in February with club leaders, and members of the Student Engagement and Auxiliary Services staff to assist in the planning and booking of the events and spaces. (Note: not all the details of the event need to be identified in February, but we look to have the campus events scheduled for full promotion by the end of each March.) 

  5. Going forward, the BOB budgets will be approved annually each November for the upcoming Academic Year, and the January and February deadlines, as listed above, will continue. 

  6. All events must be entered into the Path, so that they feed directly into University calendar systems. 

 

Elections and Club Leadership: 

  1. We have learned that clubs and organizations thrive when they hold elections at the end of the Fall Semester for leadership to take place over the next calendar year, which includes instituting a practice where seniors engage in a senior advisor role versus a full leadership position term. As such, it is recommended that as many clubs as possible switch to this student leadership structure this year. For those clubs who do not, and hold elections at the end of the Spring semester, that club leadership cycle will end at the end of Fall 2020 semester and each club will transition then. 

  2. All Clubs and Organizations should hold elections in the Path, on their club specific Path page as well as, all club rosters, including faculty/staff advisors must be updated in The Path to reflect current leadership and membership positions. Student Engagement staff will host training sessions to help all clubs with these important items.

 

BOB By-Laws:

The By-Laws for BOB will be restructured so that they are focused on supporting student clubs and organizations for success and member roles are aligned with appropriate Launch communities so that we can further strengthen our campus-wide connection and play to the strengths that these communities naturally create.

 

As with any process of change on this campus, we value your input. All these changes have been created specifically because a large majority of students have asked for them. As such, please feel free to contact me at government@drew.edu if there are specific things not mentioned you would like to see come out of this restructuring. Likewise, there will be a meeting for all Club and Organization leaders on Tuesday, October 22 at 9:00 P.M., in LC 28, where students can learn about these new processes, offer their insight and feedback, as well as share some of their own club best practices or general concerns. We hope to see everyone there!

 

There are numerous other efforts and causes the senate and cabinet are involved in around campus, but I won’t continue to use up the generous amount of space which the editors of The Acorn have granted me. As a final theme to this address, I just want to stress that all we do comes directly from the voice of the students. Each and every one of you has a specific experience at Drew, specific visions of what this place is, and needs to accomplish your best work. We exist to serve you, the students, and are useless without your input. So please never hesitate to come to our meetings, reach out to your senators, or reach out to me directly at government@drew.edu. 

 

Until next time, I remain, as ever, yours in service,

 

Vincent Costa

 

CLA Student Body President

 

 

 

 

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