SGA, Adams discuss ongoing goals
President William “Bro” Adams speaks at the State of the College.
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Student Government Association (SGA) Co-Presidents Laura Maloney ’12 and Justin Rouse ’12, along with College President William “Bro” Adams spoke before members of the College community during the annual State of the College address on Monday, Sept. 19.
Maloney and Rouse began the address by informing the audience of SGA’s initiatives for the year. The co-presidents addressed four main goals, including improving Colby-Waterville relations, advocating for the establishment of a gender and sexuality resource center, increasing school spirit and maintaining higher standards and expectations for all SGA members, specifically dorm presidents. The possibility of creating a gender and sexuality resource center remained a significant topic of discussion throughout the night.
After outlining their goals, the co-presidents discussed some of SGA’s ongoing projects, which include continuing the food and dining services committee and reorganizing the registered party system at the College. Maloney and Rouse also praised the “impressive surge” of student activism the campus saw last year. Overall, SGA hopes to create “a Colby that is more connected to the community around it—more inclusive and understanding, prouder and more spirited than ever before and better represented by its student government,” Rouse said.
Following Rouse and Maloney, Adams updated the audience on other College initiatives. He explained that the Class of 2015 is the “second-most diverse class in Colby’s history” and was “drawn from the biggest applicant pool in the history of Colby, with the lowest acceptance rate we’ve ever had.”
Adams highlighted recent campus projects, including the re-pavement of Campus Drive in front of the Harold Alfond Athletic Center. The effort cost over $1 million dollars and was made possible through a partnership between the College, Waterville and the state of Maine.
Additionally, Adams announced that the biomass building, “a hugely important project for Colby,” will start producing steam in January. This, along with other steps, will help the College become carbon neutral in 2014, Adams said. If the College achieves this status, it will be the first college of its kind in the northeast to do so.
The College is also currently planning a new science building, which will be located next to the Schair-Swenson-Watson alumni center, Adams said. Construction will likely begin during the summer of 2012. When completed, the building will house the psychology, computer science and mathematics departments, creating more room for the departments remaining in Mudd and eventually turning Roberts back into a residence hall.
Commenting on the College’s financial situation, Adams said that the endowment has returned to its 2008 level, and fundraising has also slowly returned to its level from that year, though the Colby Fund is “not quite there.” He said, “Financially, things are becoming much more like they were before the onset of the recession and the collapse of the financial markets,” though he reminded the audience that the economy still remains uncertain.
At the end of his speech, Adams answered questions from students in the audience, many of whom were eager to discuss the possible establishment of a gender and sexuality resource center. Earlier, Adams had read a memo he sent during the summer to the Multicultural Affairs Committee, the Committee on Race and Racism and other individuals. He explained that the College has created a group similar to the Pugh Community Board, designed to address issues of gender and sexuality. He also mentioned the idea of creating a staff position, which, if approved, would be implemented during the 2012-2013 school year at the earliest.
Though some students were concerned about the Pugh Center also encompassing these issues, Adams said that the Center “is precisely a place to make visible and to foreground all of these related concerns.” The last few questions from the audience were about Health Center hours and the hospitalization rate on campus, with regards to alcohol. Adams said that it is unlikely the Health Center will reopen at night because that service was “extremely inefficient.”
In terms of hospitalizations, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students James Terhune noted that hospital visits related to alcohol decreased by seven percent last year, compared to the 2009-2010 academic year. However, he said, “When you look inside the numbers, there were some more positive things.” Terhune cited a 40 percent decrease in alcohol-related hospitalizations from December to April of last year. Additionally, he said, “Over the entire 2010-11 academic year, the average reported blood alcohol level of those transported was down 21 percent from the previous year.”