Posts Tagged “Student Space”
If you’ve been to Lauinger since you’ve been back on campus, you may have noticed a small, but shocking change to the area—open spaces.
The bookshelves that once stood directly across from the coffee shop are gone, replaced by extra tables and chairs. The changes, which were among the many suggestions made by the Student Space Working Group last spring, provide a bit more study space to the library’s often-crowded second floor.
Midnight Mug itself got a bit of a redesign as well. In addition to those comfy couches and chairs, there’s a Starbucks-esque bar along the glass wall that allows for a few additional work spaces.
Brendan McElroy (COL ’12) said the addition is “a much-needed first step towards creating more space and accessibility for students to work in the library.”
McElroy added that he will probably take advantage of the extra study space, “provided the music isn’t too loud.”
What do you think? Should we be grateful that the University is responding to our demands for more study space, or is this a half-hearted attempt to appease students without making great changes?
Photo: Julie Patterson
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The Student Space Working Group (SSWG), which was once dubbed the only working group “with a snowball’s chance in hell of doing something constructive,” by Voice editor-in-chief Juliana Brint, released its report today on student space in Georgetown. The report’s title? Report on Student Space at Georgetown University.
So, it might not be the snazziest title. But once we read SSWG’s recommendations to expand on-campus student space, Vox didn’t seem to mind.
SSWG, which was founded in the fall of 2008, “extensively researched the space issue from an undergraduate level though surveys, interviews, and discussions,” according to the report.
Using the collected data and opinions, including the survey results that Vox broke down last September, the SSWG suggested that the University form a permanent working group to ensure that any and all student space recommendations are enacted.
“We look forward to using the Report on Student Space to ensure that student wishes are given priority when decisions are made at the highest levels of the University. Students are the reason for Georgetown’s existence, and their needs should merit a commensurate level of attention,” SSWG Communications Director Fitz Lufkin (COL ’11) said in a press release.
Concluding that “students are dissatisfied with student space overall and across a broad range of activity categories [and] Georgetown’s campus lacks a center of student life and this has adverse affects on the development of the community,” the SSWG recommended some big changes for the University:
- New South: “The New South Student Center is the best solution to address a range of student activities problems because it will provide a center for student life. The facility will feature club offices, a student ballroom, media offices and studios, dance studios, a café or restaurant, and lounges.”
- Lauinger Library: “First, a short-term renovation [that] includes but is not limited to an evaluation of furniture placement and purchasing, and further access to the internet and computer use through power strips and outlets. In the longterm, a more modern, efficient, and student friendly library must be built.”
- Leavey Center: “The Leavey Center should be reorganized to accommodate the increased activity resulting from Hariri and the science center … Key goals include creating a larger informal lounge for students, more meeting and event rooms, more space for student organizations, and more direct, open access to the Esplanade.”
After the jump, check out some more of the SSWG’s recommendations about on-campus student space.
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One of the lesser-known inalienable rights
FUNDING REFORM – THE BIG ONE: On Sunday afternoon, GUSA passed a resolution threatening to withhold student activity fee funding from advisory boards, like SAC, that do not achieve six new reforms.
First, funding boards must reduce reserve accounts so that they do not exceed 10 percent of the board’s yearly allocation, and surplus funds must be rolled into the general Funding Board’s reserve account at the end of the year. Second, advisory boards must set up an appeals process for clubs who are denied funding. Third, clubs must have the option of lump sum funding for the year instead of funding event by event. Fourth, minutes of all meetings, including information on votes, must be made available online. Fifth, members of advisory boards must either be approved by the GUSA Senate or elected by club leaders. Sixth, clubs must be given reasonable control over the money they fundraise themselves.
“It seems harsh, but it’s a necessary thing to do,” said bill sponsor Nick Troiano (COL ’11—Village A, A-D). “Past negotiations have sometimes fallen through.”
The bill was passed unanimously with no contentious debate.
“This has been a long time coming,” Josh Mogil (SFS ’11—Off Campus) said. “I think it’s amazing.”
Mogil said this reform was different than club funding reform in the past because this time GUSA reached out to clubs to seek their input.
The Finance and Appropriations Committee based their recommendations on an e-mail survey to club leaders and responses from the Club Summit held on Saturday. The Club Summit was a chance for student leaders to voice their concerns about club funding. The leaders were mostly concerned about the tediousness of the process, their inability to keep funds that they fundraised, the lack of transparency in SAC leadership, and the number of events that are rejected or underfunded.
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Because Sellinger just isn’t quite sufficient…
The Student Space Working Group—an organization founded in the fall of 2008 to address the lack of study space, social areas, offices for student organizations, and a centralized student center—recently got the chance to discuss their objectives with top University administrators at a summit organized by Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson.
SSWG Chair Max Glassie (COL ’10) and Communications Director Fitz Lufkin (COL ’11) both said they thought the administration was responsive at the summit. Plans are still in the talking stage, though, at least until the group finishes the “White Paper”—a student space proposal plan with information from surveys and interviews with students—that they are currently working on. SSWG hopes to finalize the paper by the end of the semester.
“Space is something that moves very slowly,” Glassie said “A lot of it is talk, and at this point we have to realize that talk is a really good thing and it means a lot of progress.”
Among the long-term proposals is a plan for creating a Student Center with a restaurant or café in the New South basement.
“There’s approximately 30,000 square feet of space under New South, which is largely unused,” Max Glassie, Chair of the SSWG said. “The plans include a conference center—one of the big problems students face now is the lack of adequate space for programming.”
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Posted by: Kara Brandeisky in News, Vox Populi, tags: Crime, Elections, Georgetown Fund, GUSA, GUSA Roundup, Hate Crimes, McCarthy, Rats, Student Space, Transparency
Tracy Flick for GUSA Senate!
SPECIAL ELECTION RESULTS: The election commission ran a successful special election that culminated in the election of the following senators:
- Townhouses: Matthew Ginsberg with 35 votes
- Harbin 6-9: Clara Gustafson with 46 votes
- Copley: Shaalin Parekh with 52 votes
- Village A E-H: Nolan Johnson with 15 votes
The only apparent glitch was that students in the districts received “about three emails or so” for ballots because of a problem with Hoyamail, according to the election commissioners. Nick Troiano (COL ’11—Village A A-D) thanked the election commissioners for running such an impressive election, compared to last year’s chaotic special elections.
The election commissioners noted there were far more candidates per capita for the special election than the actual election. The Harbin seat had nine candidates, the Copley seat had seven candidates, the Townhouses seat had five candidates, and the Village A seat had three candidates. They said in the normal election, there were 35 candidates running for 34 seats, whereas in this election, there were 24 candidates running for four seats.
GUSA President Calen Angert (MSB ’11) attributed the peak in interest to run for GUSA Senate to the timing of the elections.
“You have to have the Senate in place at a certain time, and I think students don’t have their lives together until a certain time,” Angert said. “I think this was a very good indicator of why there wasn’t a good turnout [of candidates] at the start and why there was a good turnout now. There wasn’t any additional advertisement.”
The new senators agreed with Angert’s reasoning and added that the seats seemed more accessible because no one had the elections “wrapped up.”
GEORGETOWN FUND PLANS: Angert told the Senate there was “nothing super new to report on,” but the senators wanted to hear more about the executive’s plans for the proposed GUSA Georgetown Fund. Angert said the current plans are only a rough outline that have not yet been sent to the Finances and Appropriations Committee, but the Senate discussed several aspects of the potential Georgetown Fund.
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In this week’s issue of the Voice, Molly Redden highlighted the campaign to increase and improve student space on campus.
As you may remember, last spring the Student Space working group sent out a survey to the student body to solicit opinions about campus space (and 1,137 students responded to the survey).
So what did the student body have to say about campus space? Take a look for yourself!
Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer
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Because Georgetown shouldn’t make you feel like this.
Earlier this year, the Voice‘s Kate Mays wrote about one student—Jared Pilosio’s (COL SFS ’09)—campaign to increase and improve student space on campus. Since October, the group Pilosio formed, “The Student Space Working Group” has been laying the groundwork for the movement—talking to administrators, visiting other schools to compare campus layouts—and they’re now going public with their project.
Some of the major issues they’ve been looking at are how Leavey’s function might change with the completion of the new MSB building, how New South/Riverside lounge could be used, and how to maximize the utility of student club rooms on the 4th floor of Leavey, but they haven’t come to any definite conclusions yet.
“We’re open to a large number of possibilities for spaces,” Pilosio said. “We wouldn’t want to jump the gun on what’s feasible.”
That’s where you come in: the working group is currently soliciting student feedback, through their newly created a Facebook group, weekly townhall meetings in the ICC on Thursdays and an online survey.
According to Pilosio, the survey will be part of a “White Paper” which will try to summarize the past, present and future state of student space on campus and will contain recommendations for the administration. Pilosio said the group hopes to have a draft of the White Paper at the beginning of next fall.
So, if you’ve ever complained about how the best half of Lau is apportioned off for grad students or what a sorry excuse for a student center Leavey is, this is your chance to actually do something about it.
Photo from Flickr user DigitalParadox, under a Creative Commons license.
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