New committees to push Initiative forward

by Mike A. Hamilton | 10/18/00 5:00am

In addition to the recent and potentially significant formation of the Greek Life Committee, the College has formed several new committees to attack issues rooted in both general campus life and the continuing evolution of the Student Life Initiative.

The new committees are broken down into two groups -- college committees and committees which have grown out of the Trustees' recommendations on the Student Life Initiative, which were released last January.

New college committees include the Financial Aid Office Advising Board and a committee on the newly enacted fireplace moratorium.

Committees that are results of the Initiative include the Extended Social Options Committee, the World Cultures Initiative Committee and the First-Year Housing Committee.

All of the new committees will include at least one student representative, while some will involve as many as eight.

According to Student Assembly President Jorge Miranda '01, a committee that will look at reforming the College's academic advising system is also in the works. He expects this committee to form sometime soon, partly as a result to an Assembly report on the academic advising system last year.

Assembly Vice President Chance Hill '01 and other members of the Assembly's Membership and Internal Affairs Committee will be responsible for sorting committee applications and accepting those students who they feel would do the best job. All students are eligible to apply.

Hill said selection will be done on "a case-by-case scenario" in which they will look for the best match between a student's background and activities and the requirements of the committee position.

According to Hill, the Assembly is also going to be proactive and encourage people whom they think would serve well on a certain committee to apply. He noted that between himself and the other MIAC, they know a relatively large pool of students.

According to committee co-chair and Dean of the College James Larimore, the World Cultures Initiative Committee will be comprised of approximately 21 people and will work closely with himself and co-chair and associate professor of English Melissa Zeiger.

He said seven of those committee members will be students, comprised of five undergraduate students and two graduate students.

But he added that input from all students, not just those on the committee, will be important throughout the process.

"What we will do is involve students at every step of the way. Students will be serving on committees, but there will be plenty of opportunity for input from [all] students and student organizations along the way," Larimore said.

Although he said he thought the schedules for each of the committees varied substantially, Larimore said the World Cultures Initiative Committee is expected to have a report done by Spring term so the recommendations can be put into motion as soon as the next academic year.

The committee will report to Provost Susan Prager, who will have the institutional power to decide what to do with the recommendations, Larimore said.

Students selected for other committees will also work closely with administrators and faculty members.

The four students selected for the Extended Social Options Committee "will work with Dean of Student Life Holly Sateia to discuss creating other social options for students, such as having events in Collis with alcohol, creating a miniature golf course [and] creating student social space," according to a BlitzMail message from the Student Assembly.

Students on the fireplace moratorium committee and the First-Year Housing Committee will work with Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman, while those on the First-Year Office Advisory Board will work with the first-year deans.

Miranda said that the formation of some committees was "inevitable" as a result of the Trustees' recommendations. Others grew out of the efforts of the Assembly.

Another committee, the First-Year Office Student Advisory Board, was initiated last year, when Miranda served as an intern in the first year office. Eight students will serve on this committee.

Hill said this number of new committees is nothing out of the ordinary, noting that there are usually about 20 or so college committees and an additional ten Initiative committees at any one time since the release of the Trustees' recommendations, although those numbers do vary.

Commenting on the complexity of the committee system, Hill said that sometimes it is "more decentralized" then he wishes for it to be.

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