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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Five student initiatives pass

By Megan Tcheng

According to an email released by Grinnell College’s Student Government Association (SGA) on Tuesday, Nov. 8, five out of the six student initiatives proposed for the Fall 2016 semester have been officially passed.

Student initiatives offer a platform for students to voice their opinions and propose potential improvements to campus life. In the past, suggested student initiatives have ranged from a motion to build a swing set on campus (now located just outside the JRC) to the purchase of a foam machine (rejected by the student body at least three separate times).

“Student initiatives are important because they give students an outlet to have their collective voices heard, both within the student government itself and within the administration,” said Toby Baratta ’17, SGA diversity and outreach coordinator.

Just last semester, over two-thirds of participating students voted in favor of bringing back the stir fry station in the dining hall, establishing the Grinnell College Textbook Lending Library and adding accessibility improvements to Lyle’s Pub. Such initiatives have already taken shape on campus.

This semester, after receiving over 800 votes and passing a total of five new initiatives, the SGA is now faced with the task of rationalizing, organizing and executing the proposed changes. Altogether, the successful initiatives — which include employing a Campus Therapy Dog, opening up the Quad as a study space, reinstituting Posse, improving campus lighting and introducing a longboard rack to the JRC and the Bear — vary significantly in their ease of execution and feasibility.

Andrea Conner, associate vice president for Student Affairs, described the difficulty of navigating between the five different initiatives.

“Some initiatives that pass are more demonstrative in nature … and will not lead to that specific action [i.e. reinstating Posse]. Others are already underway through other avenues … [and] others will receive attention through collaborative meetings with student leaders and the relevant College staff,” Conner wrote in an email to The S&B.

Under the direction of Eliana Schechter ’17, the Student Initiatives Committee is currently working to make the five initiatives a reality.

“We are currently looking at the feasibility of each of the five approved initiatives by reaching out to the authors of each proposal and then scheduling meetings with the faculty and staff needed to help with implementation of [the initiatives],” said Anita DeWitt ’17, SGA president.

Already, the long board rack and campus therapy dog initiatives appear to be on the fast track to becoming a campus staple. Baratta, the delegate for the therapy dog initiative, went into more detail about the drive behind the initial proposal.

“The [campus therapy dog project] was already being looked at and taken seriously by the administration. Autumn [Wilke, coordinator of disability resources] basically proposed the initiative as a way to gauge student support. Right now, we’re just trying to figure out the logistics of it all,” Baratta said.

Ultimately, student initiatives provide the student body with an opportunity to voice their opinions and enact real and lasting change on campus.

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