I’m here to encourage you to vote and to let you know about the accomplishments of Student Assembly this year. Before you start claiming that we’re useless, I’d like to let you know what Vice President Ian Tapu ’08 and I have done to build your Student Assembly this year and what we envision for the Assembly next year.
Our campaign promised you three changes to Student Assembly: internal SA reform, short-term projects and long-term accomplishments. We have transformed SA into an organization that empowers students to accomplish their goals and has made each of our lives easier, not just this year but for years to come.
We have accomplished internal SA reform by implementing 95 percent of the recommendations of the SA Review Task Force. We’ve focused SA’s energy from debate to action, emphasizing actual results over rhetorical pontification. We have streamlined money allocation and structure, and we have increased institutional memory.
We have built an organization that looks outwards to find ideas. Students have consistently asked us to compile booklists before the start of the next term so that books can be cheaply bought online. We accomplished this goal for many departments before this spring, and we hope to build on that progress for the summer.
We have implemented short-term projects, and rebuilt trust in SA. Social Event Management Procedures (keg policy) review will be complete in May, as will the administrative Committee on Standards review. Facilities Operations and Management allocated money for Novack renovation, and the library delayed the project by bringing in consultants. Class syllabi for 21 departments are online, and more are added every month. Five PANGEA events have brought together 20 disparate groups.
We have attacked big issues that face our campus. The new SA website has a centralized calendar, and while it might not be called “The Green” (the name given to the project during the campaign), it still works the same way as we envisioned. We are going further by creating a centralized information resource for everything, from off-campus housing to how to file a major card. The Moose is here, and a logo has been designed. The new financial aid initiative represents the culmination of lobbying by the International Students Association, Student Assembly and a host of other organizations.
The projects outlined above represent just a sampling of what Ian and I promised to do. The Academic Affairs Committee filled Lone Pine Tavern with faculty and students this winter, created a student-faculty programming fund and doubled the number of reviews on the SA course guide. Our Diversity and Community Affairs Committee has collected stories on the influence of socioeconomic class on the Dartmouth experience and hosted parties in alternative spaces, with many more to come. Student Life has organized Greeks Speak and the Mr. and Mrs. Big Green Competition. The Student Services Committee has piloted audio capture of class lectures, created a new purchase card system for organizations at Topside, and provided free temporary laptop replacements. That’s in addition to the thousands of questions we have answered by Blitz and in person and the discussions that each of us have every day with friends and strangers.
What’s next? I’m left with a lot of questions: Why do alumni try to recreate their Dartmouth experience rather than simply remembering it fondly and leaving today’s to us? What is our (the students’) definition of social space? Why, as students, do we pontificate about what we want and never seem to be willing to sacrifice for that goal? Why, as an institution, aren’t we more transparent? This list of questions can go on and on, but there won’t be time for me to answer them.
Your next leader will seek answers to these topics, and choosing a candidate who has the ability to create a strong Assembly will be in the student body’s best interest. Your vote determines who will be charged with answering these questions — keep them in mind when you’re deciding who should begin building the next Dartmouth.