Senate discusses Student Conference Committee findings

 Photo by Qui Li ’21  Students attend the second senate meeting of the 2018-2019 academic school year.

Photo by Qui Li ’21

Students attend the second senate meeting of the 2018-2019 academic school year.

BY MELISSA JOHNSON ’20

On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the Student Government Association’s Senate met for the second time this semester, spending the majority of the meeting collaboratively choosing a focus for the year. Senators split into small groups to discuss their individual ideas, then shared with the whole group. They then voted on each suggestion and settled on a goal for this year: “integration.”

Co-chairs of the Student Conference Committee, Jackie Rich ’22 and Izabella Czejdo ’20, also presented the results from a campus-wide student survey from last year.

The survey was administered to the classes of 2018 to 2021 and was taken by 1,118 students, about 51 percent of the Mount Holyoke student body. The topics covered on the survey ranged from academics on campus to general student life questions.

“[The Student Conference Committee] is an SGA committee that focuses on developing, spreading and analyzing the annual campus-wide student survey,” said Rich.

One question asked of students in the survey was “Why did you choose MHC?” The results showed that 84 percent of students chose the College because of the “quality of education,” followed by “classroom experience” and “financial aid.”

Students were also asked in the survey what their feelings are about freely voicing their opinions on campus. Reportedly, 58 percent of respondents do not speak their mind in fear of “being called out,” and 69 percent of respondents do not speak their mind because they do not know the appropriate terminology.

When students were asked whether they agreed with the statement “I would use and enjoy a playground on campus,” 71 percent of respondents said that they either strongly agree or agree with the idea of having a campus playground. Only 28 percent of students disagreed with the idea.

“This is actually an idea that was tabled last year [and] put to the side, however, this idea is being revisited again this year,” said Czejdo ’20.

Another issue last year’s survey identified was that only 52 percent of respondents feel connected to peers in their major or minor. Senators took this information from the survey and suggested that through the “healthy integration” focus this year, an academic working group might help to better that statistic and connect students to their peers of their major or minor better.

That’s not the only survey result that senators are using to create change. The Student Conference Committee will be sending out another campus-wide survey for all students to take within the next few weeks.

“The next survey is coming out soon, so let your constituents know about it and take it yourself,” said Rich. “The information from this survey is shared with the administration, Board of Trustees and others who can make changes for this campus.”

After the Student Conference Committee presented, Chair of Senate Salina Hussain ’21 had senators brainstorm eight different working group topics based on the previously determined focus idea of the year. Senators will vote on the final eight groups within the next week.

Senate concluded with the announcement that the next Senate meeting, on Tuesday, Oct. 23 will be a town hall meeting with Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Jon Western and Associate Dean of Faculty Dorothy Mosby. All students are welcome to attend.

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