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Praise, with minor stipulation

It seems I have been remiss in something.

Duke Student Government has made great strides since Oct. 24, and I haven't said a word about it.

Since that day a few weeks ago, when the "Duke 24" town meeting was held in the Bryan Center, DSG has done some of the best work I've ever seen from them.

The direct results of the meeting were: The freshman meal equivalency plan will be reinstated in some form, Bostock will soon be open until 4 a.m. and parts of Wilson gym will be open 24 hours a day. There is even talk that the library may start opening 24 hours if the 4 a.m. plan is successful.

I cannot overemphasize this point: These policies, for which students have been clamoring for years, are a huge success for DSG. They have taken wishes and empty promises and turned them into action-and they deserve the credit for it (assuming they follow through, as I believe they will).

Besides these three facilities victories, DSG has also put together a new Krzyzewskiville policy that eliminates black tenting and balances the rigors of tenting with the rigors of a full course load. It looks like K-Ville will not be the rule-by-committee (of parents) it was last year, and students will again self-govern the tent city.

I have criticized DSG for its elitism and lack of communication. It is clear that they have begun to rectify these problems. DSG brought students and administrators together to look at facilities management and reached out to the student body for its input on K-Ville policy.

DSG has started to fulfill its duties as a student government, and may be working toward a cure for its institutional impotence. The town hall meeting is an excellent example of how DSG can be a more powerful force on campus, despite a slow start to the year. This is not the end of what DSG can accomplish; it is only a glimpse of the power they can wield, the change they can effect.

But these early actions still leave much to be desired. In particular, I would like to see better publicity for DSG meetings and the promised student-senator dinners. In addition, DSG has often talked about and voted on ARAMARK's dining contract, but never actually done anything about it.

I think there are also some ethical issues in DSG that deserve a very hard look, like how politics or personal preferences may be determining what actions our senators take. But Vice President of Academic Affairs Joe Fore has been working hard on making more course evaluations available for students, and his guest column on Oct. 13 urging students to choose classes for themselves instead of for their majors or requirements is exactly what he should be doing in his post.

It's important to stress here that DSG is not a monolithic, faceless group. An organization is first and foremost its people, not its rules or structures or tenets. DSG is composed of the people taking notes across the aisle in econ, the people who live down the hall, the Cameron Crazies jumping around next to you. They are leaders outside of DSG. They are passionate about Duke and about changing it for the better. DSG deserves credit as a body, and DSG members deserve individual credit for the recent achievements. If you see these people on the quad, in class, or on facebook, thank them for doing their elected duties with competence and results:

Jesse Longoria, Brandon Goodwin, Joe Fore, Logan Leinster, Brenda Bautsch, Paige Sparkman, Lauren Troyer, Adam Chandler, Ajay Kori, Atin Garg, Bryce Walker, Craig Bohn, Daron Gunn, Duncan McKenna, Elise Schmidt, Emily Jones, Emily Pontzer, Erica Stalnecker, Genevieve Cody, George Fleming, Jamie Campbell, Jason Gross, Javier Rodriguez, Jeff Buchan, Jeff Vaughn, Jeremy Marshall, Jordan Giordano, Josh Solera, Julie Yu, Kathleen Greene, Keshia Williams, Kristin Pfeiffer, Lauren Garson, Lee Kornfeld, Madison Li, Mark Jelley, Matt McNeill, Matthew Hoekstra, Michael Koler, Nicole Cederblom, Nisha Choksi, Pete Dickos, Racine Harris, Russ Ferguson, Ryan Strasser, Samson Mesele, Scott McKenzie, Shannon Murphy, Sunny Kantha, Tina Hoang, Tom Musgrave, Tyler Green, Vishal Amin, Wei Li.

To all of you, from me: Thank you, and I look forward to seeing what you can accomplish the rest of the year and beyond.

Elizabeth Rudisill is a Trinity sophomore. Her column runs every other Thursday.


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