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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

New Initiatives Pass

By Darwin Manning

The Grinnell Initiative voting process took place last Wednesday-Thursday, and saw a total of 13 submissions. Nine were passed.

The Student Initiative Fund Renewal (an abidance to the three-year terms of agreement) which stated that after three years it would be voted on again to see whether students still wanted to continue with this relatively new process, was passed by a whopping 97 percent.

“Its’ predecessor was the President’s executive committee, but that committee was not as focused as the current initiatives process and that is why there needed to be a change towards the system we have now,” Vice President of Student Affairs(VPSA) Ben Offenberg ’11 said.

Offenberg wrote the initiative for VPSA Renewal, while serving that position. This job entails the VPSA to be on committees, while the President interacts directly with administrators.

“Three years ago the school created the Vice-President of Student Affairs, because they found the President getting bogged down in tons of committees he had to visit,” Offenberg said.
Megan Goering ’08 and Nick Blencowe ’08 created StiFund Committee and the VPSA simultaneously, and wanted to make it necessary for it to be renewed every three years, according to Offenberg.

“StiFund has been very fluid, however, with the Vice President of Student Affairs what exactly the vision is sometimes is a little blurred, and so that’s good because depending on, who is in power they can mold to each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Offenberg ’11.

Another initiative that received a high percentage of votes in favor was the Waivers for Transcript Fees, created by Karl Kremling ’10, passed by over 93 percent.

Kremling decided to make this initiative when he noticed that last semester the Registrar started charging six dollars for each transcript received through the new online service.

He was disheartened by the lack of provision for low-income students, which could put a strain on applying to summer programs, post Grinnell Research or Graduate schools.

“This was a message to folks at the John Chrystal Center,” said Kremling ’10. “Providing access to fee-free transcripts is in keeping with Grinnell’s motto, to not place limits on its students’ post graduation plans.”

Joanna Demars ’10 along with Solomon Miller ’13, who writes for the S&B, also created an initiative to give a permanent seat to students after two semesters of experimental incorporation of students on the Committee of Academic Standing.

“We’re hoping to make this shift for student voice permanent and to give the students a vote on the committee,” Demars said. “When the students are present, the committee feels that their voice makes the decision rendered more just and well-balanced.”

Not all the initiatives dealt with administrative issues. Sejan Miah ’12 worked on giving students a more diverse selection of fruit in the dinning hall, as well as longer hours for the Kistle Science Library. The diversification of fruit initiative would include a survey to see which fruits are most popular and careful picking of fruits determined by which are in season.

“I decided to carry out my first initiative out of growing discontent with regards to our quality of fruit,” Miah said. “Students deserve a more diverse selection of fruits, it will also encourage healthier eating habits and is not too expensive.”

Miah’s second initiative came out of growing concern that it made little sense to not have both libraries, Burling and Kistle, which is in Noyce Science Center, operate under the same hours and the desire of students to have more hours available for work study.

Perhaps the most creative initiative passed was the submission to paint the hallway leading to Lyle’s Pub, from Paul Tavarez ’12.

“I think students can have a better connection to the space if they can change and customize it,” Tavarez said. However, Tavarez’s other initiative to paint the walls of resident halls met a different fate, as it failed to pass by a margin of 34 percent.

The other two initiatives that were advanced were the Honey Bees Initiative, which is a plan to implement a honeybee sanctuary next to campus, where the community garden currently is. As well as the Eggs-To-Order at lunch, which the student body can hopefully look forward to at least once a month.

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