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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Student initiatives begin to take shape

Grinnell will not be getting a foam machine or build an outdoor ice rink, but Bucksbaum may install a printer and the Outlook email system may switch to Gmail as a result of this year’s student initiatives. In total, 13 of the 18 proposed projects passed.

As chair of the Student Initiative Fund Committee (StiFund) chair, Ron Chiu ’13 will now work to implement the initiatives that passed.

“If a person sees a problem on campus he or she can submit a proposal to us, we revise it with them and then the initiative goes on the ballot,” Chiu said. “Then the student body votes. Every initiative that gets a majority of at least two-thirds passes.”

The swing set outside of JRC is an example of a successful peer student initiative. Photograph by Tessa Cheek.

The initiatives are paid for by a combination of SGA money and the department that’s being affected. However, other sources are also considered.

“We always try to get initiative authors to think of outside sources for funding. … This can be anyone from faculty departments to administrators,” Chiu said.

Robert Logan ’13’s proposal passed with 87% approval.  His initiative was to bring back GOOP (Grinnell Outdoor Orientation Program), a pre-orientation program that took 25-30 incoming first years to canoe in Wisconsin. This fall was the first year since the program’s inception seven years ago that GOOP hasn’t take place due to of a lack of funds.

“I really wish GOOP would have happened this year,” Danielle Phillips ’15 said. “It would have been a great way to meet people before I even arrived on campus.”

Bob’s Underground was the target of three different proposals. They were met with some scorn, since SGA funds much of Bob’s maintenance and Bob’s often runs a deficit, but all three passed. Once implemented, they will make the café handicapped accessible, equip it with new kitchen materials and buy new lamps, tables and comfortable chairs.

Other results were met with disappointment.  The outdoor ice rink proposal received 63% of the vote, only 2% short of passage.

“I think there were some misconceptions that [the rink] was going to be something complicated and expensive,” the proposal’s co-sponsor Ethan Ratliff-Crain ’15 said. “But most of the supplies are still around from last year, making the total cost of the operation less than $200.”

Despite the failed passage, Ratliff-Crain hopes that students will still be able to revel in skating this winter.

“Because virtually the same initiative passed last year, SGA informed us that we should still be able to do it [build the rink]. … All the supplies are still around, [so we] can use the plan from last year and hopefully coordinate with enough people to pull it off smoothly,” Ratliff-Crain said.

Like the ice rink last year, not all initiatives take effect immediately. If this is the case they can be reactivated in the future. However, some never see it past the drawing board.

“Some don’t get implemented at all because of bureaucracy,” Chiu said. “Case in point [was] the initiative to open up Quad as a study space; [it] took about three months and failed in the end.”

The results from all of this year’s initiatives are now on P-web.

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