By the people, for the people: CSG weekly update

The Chatham Student Government (CSG) meeting on October 2 began with a report from Stephanie Reynolds, CSG Advisor and Assistant Director of Student Affairs and Residence Life.  She reminded the CSG that Relay for Life registration is open and briefly mentioned the Circle of Six campaign.

Dean Zauyah Waite, CSG Advisor and Chatham University Dean of Students, then gave her report, during which she discussed several campus wide issues that need to be addressed.  She began by asking about the condition of the stairs leading from Spencer House up to the Chapel, which led to an immediate response from the Senate.

“Some of the steps are completely missing,” said Tahmina Tursonzadah, Class of 2017 President.  She went on to explain that she runs on those stairs, and they can be extremely dangerous, especially in the winter when it is hard to see which steps are crumbling.

The other points that Waite discussed regarded asking dog owners to keep their dogs on leashes when walking them through campus, asking bikers not to do stunts (which has been an issue recently), and installing ground lights along Woodland Road.

This prompted a response from some Senate members, who asked for more lights in the library parking lot, complaining of an overly friendly parking attendant who likes to hug students.

Waite’s final point of focus was the issue of the smoking benches.  She explained that they were removed, “in accordance to state law,” because the law prohibits smoking within 25 feet of a building with public access. Waite also explained that Chatham is not fully smoke free, but that that is a possibility in the future, and information about the issue will be sent out soon.

The meeting then shifted to Officer’s Reports, wherein Sarah Jugovic, CSG Executive President, talked about Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAC) Think Pink bake sale, and the Pittsburgh Student Government Council (PSGC) meeting that Chatham will host on October 14 with special guest Pittsburgh Councilman Dan Gilman.

Jenny Schollaert, CSG Executive Vice President, reminded the Senate that student organizations must participate in the first online Student Organization Forum (SOF) meeting, which will occur on October 7. She also said that student organizations must sign up if they want to be included in the Harvest Funfest or Mocktails and that the SOF room is open to any organization that needs it.

In regards to finances, Sam Elbaz, CSG Vice President of Finance, said that at the last Undergraduate Budget Committee (UBC) meeting, the Muslim Student Association, Sigma Tau Delta, Black Student Union, and the Artist Collective requested funds.  Elbaz noted that $5050.50 was requested and $4510.50 was allocated, leaving $7221.50 for the rest for the semester.

During Class Reports, nothing of consequences was noted aside from Class of 2015 President Skyler Wilcha’s reminder that tabling for the Senior Gift was occurring in Anderson.

The meeting’s New Business section was dominated by professor Jennie Sweet-Cushman, who came to petition the Senate to have a fundraising effort for “More Than Me,” a girl’s education initiative in Liberia that she worked with.

She explained that in Liberia, which is a post-conflict nation, “women were incredibly important to the peace process,” because, “they organized protests and sit-ins throughout the process.”  She also explained that Ebola is threatening to ruin all of that, which is why “More Than Me” is now working to help children affected by Ebola and why it needs the funds now more than ever.

She suggested a screening of the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” with a donation box at the entrance, but said that she would leave the actual planning to the CSG, which voted to form a preliminary committee to look in to the issue.

The other topic of New Business was the third annual Town Hall meeting, which is to occur on October 23. The Senate discussed whether or not the administration should be at the meetings in order to streamline the process, and the overwhelming majority of the Senate felt that this would be a good idea.

Wilcha brought up the point that the original rationale behind not inviting the administration was that they would intimidate students and students would not be completely honest with their opinions. However, she pointed out that this is not really a concern because Chatham students have shown themselves to be confident about sharing opinions. Erin Smith, Vice President of Communications, also pointed out that there are ways to anonymously submit opinions.

On the issue of Old Business, the CSG formed a committee to look in to the issue of the Shuttles. The committee will be lead by Brittani Berch-Schmidt, Class of 2016 President. The Senate also created a committee, headed by Tursonzadah, to look into amending the CSG constitution.

In Open Forum, Alex Waasdorp, Class of 2015 President, brought up her correspondence with Pattie Malloy, head of Dining Services, about creating a button for checking account balances on MyChatham, and Jugovic suggested that she make it a class goal for the year.

The smoking issue was also discussed in more detail, and a decision was made to send out a campus wide poll to collect student opinions.

Finally, Elbaz announced that she, along with Reynolds and Dr. Sean McGreevey, created a new program of mentorship between Seniors and undergraduates, involving a monthly etiquette dinner to discuss issues and hear guest speaker, and she encouraged the rest of the CSG to get involved.

CSG meetings occur every Thursday in the PCW room and are open to the student body.