DSG Executive Vice President Patrick Oathout spoke about election policies regarding campaign posters at the group’s meeting Wednesday
DSG Executive Vice President Patrick Oathout spoke about election policies regarding campaign posters at the group’s meeting Wednesday

Duke Student Government approved funding for a park cleanup aimed at involving students more in Durham.

Sophomore David Robertson, senator for Durham and regional affairs, took the floor Wednesday on behalf of the DRA to request funding for the event in conjunction with the Trinity Park Neighborhood Association. During Saturday’s event, students and local residents will remove trash and invasive weeds from Ellerbee Creek trail near East Campus. The committee for Durham and regional affairs is looking for ways to encourage students living off campus to participate more in neighborhood life.

“The goal of Saturday’s event is to create a forum for open dialogue so students and the people living around them have an opportunity to learn about each other and about the neighborhoods they live in,” senator Rosie Williams, a freshman, added.

In organizing the event, Robertson met with Adam Haile, president of the Trinity Park Neighborhood Association, to discuss the community’s needs. Robertson said he hopes that the attendees are evenly split between Duke students and community members.

“We wanted to work with the community to address their needs rather than have Duke students come into the situation and do what we thought needed to be done,” Robertson sad.

Like Knock and Talks—a Duke program in which police officers visit student homes to remind them of the responsibilities of living off campus—the goal of the event is to foster a sense of comfort between Durham residents and Duke students, Williams noted. Because many student groups and independent students enjoy the option of living off campus, Williams said she believes forming positive relationships within the neighborhoods is crucial.

“We found it important that they do something community service-based because it shows that we are all working towards a common goal,” Williams said.

The committee has reached out to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Office of Student Conduct and Duke Partnership for Service to promote the event.

“We are trying to create a more collaborate atmosphere between the off-campus students and the neighborhoods in which they live,” Robertson said.

Starting 10 a.m. Saturday, students will gather at the clean-up site at 800 Green Street. Although the event is geared towards off-campus students any interested student is encouraged to come, Robertson added.

Sophomore Derek Rhodes, vice president for Durham and regional affairs, could not be reached for comment.

In other business:

Executive Vice President Patrick Oathout, a junior, proposed an amendment to the Spring 2013 election rules and procedures based on vote deductions in this Fall’s election of freshman senators. Noting that freshmen candidates who were docked votes because they created a website 10 minutes before the official start of the campaign period or because their flyer partially covered that of another candidate, Oathout proposed that the Senate soften the rules and let the Board of Elections determine violations. He argued that a large set of prohibitive rules would discourage students from running and that the intent of the candidates was more important than rules students can find loop holes around.

Junior Daniel Strunk, chief justice of the Judiciary, took the floor during public forum to propose that DSG play in active role in increasing holiday decorations in common areas around campus. Strunk, a Chronicle columnist, argued that the decorations would foster social cohesion, increase performance on final exams and promote holiday spirit.

Freshman representatives Will Gallagher and Victoria Diggs have agreed to look into the possibilities.