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The Dartmouth
April 15, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Student Government Senate meeting discusses housing, Wellness Days and Wi-Fi expansion

Chief of staff Anthony Fosu ’24 said improvements to Wi-Fi on the Green would be finalized on Oct. 6.

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On Oct. 1, the Dartmouth Student Government Senate met for its third weekly meeting of the fall term. Led by student body president Jessica Chiriboga ’24, the Senate discussed updates in campus technology, housing construction projects and new teletherapy rooms on campus.

Chief of staff Anthony Fosu ’24 discussed the Senate’s work with Information, Technology and Consulting, the College’s technology services department.

Fosu provided updates on efforts to increase on-campus technology accessibility. In an interview after the meeting, Fosu said Wi-Fi availability on the Green will debut on Friday, Oct. 6; DSG first announced Wi-Fi on the Green in December 2022. In the subsequent 10 months, officials signaled improvements to the program “beginning this summer,” including the recent installation of Wi-Fi access points on the Green, that will soon make Wi-Fi available in the area, Fosu said.   

Among other technology-related updates, Fosu added that the amount of GreenPrint money allocated to each student has been increased from $60 to $75 — a change DSG first made public last month. Additionally, the College is replacing Xfinity On Campus services with Roku streaming services. The Senate is still working with Student Life to finalize its set-up, but Fosu said the program aims to be available for students to rent within the academic year. 

Hanover Town Liaison Nicolás Macri ’24 discussed the College’s Sept. 27 announcement for a “new plan” for housing on campus, which will mark development at 25 West Wheelock Street and designate the North End housing complex on Lyme Road for graduate students. 

After the meeting, Macri said the College had been planning to build accommodations for 250 to 300 students in apartment-style units, in accordance with a zoning amendment passed during the May 2022 Hanover Town Meeting. Macri and former student body president David Millman ’23 had proposed the amendment during the meeting, which now enables the College to begin construction on West Wheelock Street. 

“It’s a great win-win,” Macri said. “Undergraduates are right by the engineering building and Foco, and graduate students get a place in Hanover instead of being exiled to nearby Lebanon, if they’re lucky, or even farther.”

While paperwork has not been filed or approved yet, Macri said construction at 25 West Wheelock is expected to begin by the spring of 2024, with new housing ready for use by the fall of 2026. He added that the completion of the West Wheelock project will create flexible housing accommodations, allowing the College to renovate the Choates, Fayerweather and Massachusetts dorms.   

According to Macri, DSG Senate has been working closely with assistant director of housing renewal Ed Lewis to make progress on both developments. 

While in session, the Senate also discussed its goal of increasing accessibility to mental health services on campus. Mental health has been a key issue for DSG under Chiriboga, who secured a $10,000 grant to construct a tranquility room on campus, which debuted in January. 

Since December 2022, the Senate has been working on renovating three sound-proofed rooms — one in the Blunt Alumni Center and two in Baker-Berry Library — to provide privacy to students with teletherapy appointments, Chiriboga said. DSG is also considering institutionalizing Wellness Days, during which students are given time off from classes to recharge and relax for their mental health. 

“The main debate is whether [Wellness Days are] actually effective, or if they are simply more performative and don’t address the structural factors,” Chiriboga said.

Student body vice president Kiara Ortiz ’24 said she was concerned about the potential counterproductiveness of Wellness Days, which she added could substitute the amount of asynchronous work students have in lieu of their classes. 

“Especially at an institution like Dartmouth, where terms move so quickly, it’s ‘Will they let you take a day off?’” Ortiz said. “Or is it a day when you’re like, ‘it’s time to do my midterm.’” 

Chiriboga said the Senate is awaiting a report from the JED Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing mental health resources, to determine further action.

The DSG Senate meetings occur weekly on Sunday at 7 p.m. in Collis 101 and are open to all students. 


Correction (Oct. 5, 2023): A previous version of this article stated that the College would soon begin renovating Mid Massachusetts Hall. In fact, all three Massachusetts dorms will be renovated.