From proposing half-credits for labs to organizing canned food drives, Duke Student Government vice presidents each have plans this year for making DSG more visible to the University.
As DSG legislators begin more committee-oriented work rather than individual projects this semester, the four vice presidents may have more opportunity this year to implement their ideas through their respective committees.
Lyndsay Beal, vice president for academic affairs and a senior, said she wants to focus on permanently instituting course evaluations--specifically, the Student Accessible Course Evaluation System--and getting half-credits for time that students spend in science labs.
"Right now, [SACES]... is in trial mode," Beal said. "The administration and faculty council have approved it basically semester by semester."
However, Beal added, the program will come before the Arts and Sciences Council for final review in November, when the council will vote whether to make SACES a permanent fixture on ACES Web.
"DSG will probably do a resolution before then, saying that we support this, and then it will come up before them," she said. "At that point, it's really kind of its last shot."
Vice President for Community Interaction Thaniyyah Ahmad, a senior, said the major projects her committee will focus on this year are organizing the Relay for Life, events during the week of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Allen Building Lock-In.
Relay for Life, an event in which students organize themselves into teams and walk to raise money for cancer research, will take place in the spring. Ahmad said she hopes the event will bring students together for a common cause.
"I'm aiming not so much for the money, but for the community aspect of it," she said.
Facilities and Athletics
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Having tackled parking and transportation issues earlier this fall, Vice President for Facilities and Athletics Cliff Davison said his committee will work on two projects--organizing a canned food drive between Thanksgiving and Christmas and initiating Cable 13 coverage of DSG.
"It's kind of like a C-SPAN," Davison, a junior, said of the latter plan, which sophomore Emily Brady formulated and will chair. "It's not the most interesting sort of television... but if students want to know what's going on in DSG they will have access to it."
Other projects Davison plans to work on include implementing an environmental education program, making recommendations on the plan to turn the Bryan Center-West Union Building area into a "student village," and assessing the state of athletic facilities, specifically Brodie Gym.
The student affairs committee will focus on four issues this semester--safety, improvements to the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, social life and increasing administration visibility and accessibility--said Troy Clair, vice president for student affairs.
"Overall, I want to help bring student government to the next level... so that we're leading a practical dialogue that informs decisions that the University is making now," said Clair, a senior.
For safety, Clair said he wants to hold "town hall meetings," including safety dialogue among students, police and administrators.
Clair added that Mary Lou Williams Center improvements will range from updating technology to determining what services the building will provide.
Eventually, Clair said, he wants to organize a "Social Life Summit" that would bring together student leaders on campus to discuss social life issues and make recommendations to the administration.
"People say 'Social life died' or 'It's not what it used to be,'" Clair said. "We need to figure out, 'What's the state of social life at Duke?'"