Duke Student Government senators have been working hard on projects this past semester—but what in the world have they been working on?

With the Fall semester wrapping up, Senate committee members updated fellow senators about the status of current projects at a DSG meeting Wednesday. From expanded merchants on points to a new pre-orientation program, here are the project highlights from each committee.

Durham and regional affairs

Senators in the Durham and regional affairs committee have been working on institutionalizing voting registration efforts. Campus partners in this effort include University Center Activities and Events and the Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service.

“As a previous Durham and Regional Affairs Senator—especially one who’s excited about voting rights and the advancement of such—I’m really excited to see how voter registration becomes institutionalized at Duke,” said President Pro Tempore Jackson Dellinger, a junior.

Senators are also working on expanding the number of vendors in the Merchants on Points program, as well as pairing each East Campus dorm with a community non-profit. However, first-year Aly Diaz, senator for Durham and regional affairs, explained that iterations of the project had been attempted 15 times in the past and have not succeeded due to philosophical differences.

Equity and outreach

Sophomore Maryam Asenuga, senator for equity and outreach, has been working on a LGBTQIA+ and Ally Invitational Weekend that would “allow prospective LGBTQIA+ students and allies to experience Duke's campus and its acceptance for those within the community and those who advocate for it.”

Beginning next semester, Duke will also have its first social and programming group for low-income and first-generation students on campus. Dubbed the Low Income and First-Generation Engagement Program, the project was fielded by first-year Aditya Santoki, senator for equity and outreach. Santoki shared that he has also been working to bring the Ivy conference for first generation students to Duke next year.

Services and sustainability

Over-the-counter medications and other wellness products will soon be stocked in designated 24-hour wellness vending machines, thanks to the work of sophomore Liv McKinney, senator for services and sustainability.

First-year Yash Patil, senator for services and sustainability, shared his project for making laundry more equitable. Patil shared that he was working on having laundry fees added into tuition, similar to e-print allocations, so that students with financial aid could have their laundry fees covered.

Academic Affairs

Sophomore Saheel Chodavadia, senator for academic affairs, is working on a new pre-orientation program that will be ready for August 2018, barring complications. The new program will be named Project EDGE and will be focused on entrepreneurship, design and engineering.

First-year Anna Kasradze shared that she is working on creating an academic resource bank. Similar to a syllabus bank, this academic resource bank would make access to academic resources such as exams more equitable.

“A lot of organizations already have internal exam banks, and so we want to make sure that all students are on the same academic playing field,” Kasradze said.

Campus Life

Senators have been working on making programming funds available for independent students and are now working out what types of events should be funded and how much should be funded.

In other business:

The Senate accepted three Student Organization Finance Committee-approved funding requests. Blue Devils United, Duke Catholic Center and Duke Conservation Tech all received funding for events.

The Senate also approved a budgetary statute to fund Duke Disability Alliance Overdraft Expenses. SOFC Chair Luke Farrell, a junior, explained that Duke Disability Alliance’s account had been suspended for the past semester and a half because past leadership misused funds. The budgetary statute paid for the expenses incurred by the past leadership and allows DDA to access its account next semester. 

The Senate also voted to recognize Duke Machine Learning and charter Duke Speech and Debate. They also approved the de-chartering of 69 student groups.