At DSG's weekly meeting Wednesday evening, senators, pictured above, swore to "preserve, protect and defend" the DSG constitution.
Philip Catterall / The Chronicle
At DSG's weekly meeting Wednesday evening, senators, pictured above, swore to "preserve, protect and defend" the DSG constitution.
  • DSG Senators were sworn in at a ceremony to open the 2014-15 school year. Freshman elections will take place Sept. 11.
  • The new tailgate model, DevilsGate, will give student groups a chance to rent tents for tailgating before football games.
  • A bike sharing program with four stops across the three campuses aims to launch in mid-September.

The first meeting of the Duke Student Government Senate began with the traditional inauguration of senators Wednesday evening.

DSG Judiciary Chief Justice Will Giles, a senior, presided over the ceremony in which senators swore to “preserve, protect and defend” the constitution of DSG. At large-members of the Board of Trustees committees were then confirmed into their new positions.

Members of the DSG Executive Board discussed their most pressing goals for the year.

“I want to make sure DevilsGate is an integral part of every student’s football weekend,” said junior Tucker Albert, vice president for social culture, referencing the new institution of pre-game celebration, which will begin with the home football game Aug. 29.

The new pre-game celebration is modeled after tailgating policies at Wake Forest University, said President Lavanya Sunder, a junior. She noted that living groups and various student groups are given the opportunity to rent tents to gather for DevilsGate.

In addition to many traditional gameday attractions at DevilsGate, the event will feature body painting opportunities, Sunder said. Students living on East and Central campuses have the added convenience of a gameday bus designated to bring them to and from Wallace Wade Stadium.

Executive Vice President Abhi Sanka, a junior, notified the Senate members that their attendance policy will be strictly enforced this year. Last year saw several instances of poor attendance records at Senate meetings.

The estimated launch date for a new bike-sharing program on campus is mid-September, Sunder said. Despite some “funding compliance issues,” the Zagster program will feature four bike stops—two on West Campus and one each on East and Central.

There was some discussion within the Senate body regarding the influx of construction projects on campus. Sunder noted that Duke administrators have been working extensively with student leaders in an attempt to show that renovations are not "an inherently negative thing," disseminating information about construction projects and mitigating any large inconveniences caused by the projects.

Sunder highlighted four areas she aimed to improve within the Senate body: visibility among the student body, access to the President's cabinet for senators, the need for more detailed presentations to the Senate and yield of Senate members.

She said the DSG website is being revamped to include a space for blogs from the senators chronicling the progress they have made on their ongoing projects in an effort to accomplish those goals.

Junior Billy Silk, vice president for services, noted he wants to improve the “dining sentiment” on campus. Since the closing of the West Union building, many dining venues have undergone change or closure.

“I hope to make Durham a lot more accessible to Duke students,” said senior David Robertson, vice president for Durham and regional affairs.

For the first meeting of the year, the Senate consisted of only sophomores, juniors and seniors. The election of first-year senators will take place Sept. 11.