Following a semester that saw students adapting to changes in dining and construction on campus, leaders of Duke Student Government reflected on the first half of their terms. The Chronicle's Carleigh Stiehm sat down with president Stefani Jones, a senior, to discuss Fall accomplishments and her goals for the Spring.

The Chronicle:
In your opinion, what were the biggest accomplishments of DSG this semester?

Stefani Jones: Some of DSG's most important work this semester has been reactive to concerns with construction and campus changes. With respect to dining changes, we successfully extended the hours at the refectory, started a lunchtime food trucks program, and expanded the number of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options on campus. We also worked on increasing communication of dining and construction changes, with an open house, West Union updates video and a big push on social media. We have a record number of students using Fix My Campus, and we've been responding quicker and more effectively to a lot of student concerns. Lastly, after the unexpected cancellation of the Duke Bikes program, DSG led the effort to bring a new bike-sharing program to campus, which we expect to be implemented next semester.


TC: How do you feel these accomplishments benefit the student body?

SJ: Construction has had a major impact on the student experience this year, and it's really important to make sure that changes are effectively addressed and communicated to students. We want to make sure that the student experience is not only protected, but also improved, in the interim.

TC: Do you feel that the senate has effectively met the goals it set for itself this semester?

SJ: Our senate has done some great work this Fall, but there's still more to be done next semester. There are a lot of great senator projects in the works, from [Counseling and Psychological Services] reform to sustainability issues to increasing course offerings on North Carolina politics and history. I'm excited to see the progress that the senate makes this coming semester.

TC: Are there any ongoing initiatives that will be continued next semester?

SJ: Most of our initiatives are ongoing, and we're hoping to make more progress early next semester on a number of important issues. We're meeting with administrators before break to review our proposal for the improvement of gender neutral housing, and we're working on final approval for the bike-sharing program. We've also laid important groundwork for changes to be made next semester on alcohol policy and building independent house community.

TC: What are your goals for next semester?

SJ: It's sometimes difficult to keep momentum once elections begin and the end of the year approaches. I'm committed to making sure we don't lose the important progress we've made as the year continues. I personally want to refocus on gender issues and a review of the expansion of PACT training, as well as increased transparency in the student conduct process. I'll be working hard on those issues in the upcoming months.

TC: What were some of the biggest challenges DSG faced this year so far?

SJ: It's been difficult this semester to balance the amount of time spent on reactive projects, like dining changes, and proactive ones, like alcohol and residential policy. Now that we've spent some time addressing the major impacts of construction, we'll be able to focus on some of the longer-term issues facing Duke students.