On Thursday Nov. 7 the Student Senators for the class of 2023 held a student forum to meet with other First-Year students.
First-Year Class President Evan Bechtel led the discussion. Senators Joshua Jeong, Katrina Faulkner, Emily Ibañez Arroyo, Bao Tran, and Evan Hu also took part in the discussion. Senators Brook Espenshade and Maeve Hickey could not attend.
The senators discussed their role in serving the body and discussed some of their accomplishments so far. One major accomplishment was authoring a resolution as a group to define civic engagement for the Student Senate. The college uses multiple definitions. The First-Year senators have introduced a resolution to use the definition that the Center for Civic Learning and Action uses.
Bechtel also asked for feedback. But just 3 students attended the meeting, totaling less than 1 percent of the class, even with the enticement of free pizza that the senate provided. Bechtel said that he would has hoping for more turnout and that it, “It would have been nice to hear opinions from more of our constituents. We plan to hold more events like this in the future, and I think it will come down to an increase in publicity to get a higher turnout.”
The group discussed orientation, concerns with residence life, the social atmosphere of campus, inclusivity, and academic concerns. Students who live in Dreyer complained that the heat in their building was inconsistent, while those in Adams complained about the fire alarms, which have been a repeated issue. The group also agreed that First-Year Groups, or FYGs, were “pretty useless.”
Inclusivity was an especially hot topic. Jeong noted that students only sit with people of their ethnic group in the Dining Hall. Hu that it was difficult because “there is a different culture here.” He said that talking with people from a different background is difficult. The group agreed that because international students and athletes come campus earlier than other students and make their few closest friends during that time the separation started from the beginning of the year.
The students that attended still found the conversation productive though. Mary Ritter ‘23 said that she was “glad they focused on diversity and inclusivity at the meeting. Some of the people on senate hadn’t felt included.” She also appreciated that “they were very willing to listen and offer feedback.” Natalie Cist ‘23 said “I appreciated the discussion on diversity and inclusivity because I had thought about it but not had a conversation before.” Both were disappointed with the turnout though. “When I imagined the event I imagined more than 3 people,” Cist said.
Low attendance wasn’t the only hiccup the event had. The event was posted on Corq as starting at 7:00 pm. But the event didn’t start until 7:30. Bechtel did not know that the event was on Corq at all.