Taking stock of what we have accomplished so far
One year ago, we ran a campaign in which we promised to investigate socio-economic class issues, learning differences and institutional support for multicultural groups on campus. Since the beginning of our term, we have made gains in these areas that we would like to share with you.
In the fall, we formed a Socio-Economic Class Task Force. Its mission was to investigate ways we could reduce the extra costs of college (textbooks, school supplies, etc.), provide more emotional support to first-generation college students and to improve the campus culture around this topic.
The team we assembled is a dynamic and committed group of students who have worked very hard this year. Starting at the end of this semester, you will notice that we have expanded our Rescue Sale services to include school supplies, which will be available for free via Campus Life to students who are struggling to buy supplies.
With the help of the library staff, we have made graphing calculators available to borrow in the libraries. We are currently exploring the idea of expanding the host family network to more students who might benefit from having this type of support during their college experience. Additionally, we will be reaching out to alumni to act in a mentoring capacity to students.
Currently we are looking into an alternate Senior Pledge fund that would finance gift cards to the Colby Bookstore that would be granted based on merit and financial need. By the end of this year, we will have an informational docket instructing current and future students on how to be a cost-savvy college student.
At the beginning of the current semester, we expanded and energized our Learning Differences Task Force. Its mission is to find ways to improve the experience of students with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning differences as well as to heighten awareness and understanding of learning differences on campus. The experiences and perspectives of the other students in this task force are varied and insightful. It is another truly dynamic group.
While the official task force has just begun meeting regularly, we have already researched models from different colleges and universities and isolated programs and policies that we believe would be effective at Colby. Some of these ideas include having Student Academic Advisors, online study group planning, and planning/study aids available online.
Our efforts to improve the institutional support for multicultural groups on campus has endured this year. We worked extensively with Jess Acosta and Paul Spangle to help create a new paid position: the Student Gender and Sexual Diversity Resource Officer. Berol Dewdney has done a remarkable job already by working with the Bridge, the Feminists’ Coalition and Male Athletes Against Violence (MAAV) to develop an exciting Women’s History Month and Pride Week.
Please look for these events as they are advertised in the coming weeks. While we are thrilled with Berol’s commitment and energy, we still believe this position should be occupied by a full time staff position and supplemented with the help of students. As we look to develop new student positions that pertain to various multicultural issues, we want to encourage underclassmen to continue asking for more institutional support in the form of professionally trained staff members.
As a final note, as we find ourselves in the midst of election season, we would like to offer advice to all who hope to see a lively SGA next year. First, vote. This is one of the many ways you can help shape the direction of the college. Second, read the platforms carefully. All the candidates are truly remarkable people so we urge you to vote based on the issues on which they intend to focus. Finally, attend the SGA Presidential Debate. It is your chance to hear the presidential candidates discuss pertinent issues and verbalize their philosophies. Good luck to everyone involved in this year’s election!
Thank you to the Echo staff for giving us space in this week’s edition to update the campus on the SGA happenings.
-Leslie Hutchings ’11, President
and Athul Ravunniarath ’11, Vice-President