Senate committees outline progress on projects
Student Union Senate urges Washington University to become carbon neutral in the latest draft of the Green Energy Report. Other senate committees are also making progress on their projects.
The recently-drafted Green Energy Report, which urges the University to become carbon neutral, has been a priority for the Campus and Residential Experience Committee. Currently, the committee is in the process of reaching out to the rest of Senate, the University administration and environmental campus organizations to garner input.
“A big committee project that we are going to try and pass in about two weeks is our green energy resolution, which is something we did a ton of research [about] at Wash. U. and [got] input from environmental groups on campus…Basically, it tries to encourage Wash. U. to get on a carbon-neutral path,” Campus and Residential Experience committee chair sophomore Philip Keisler said.
Going forward, the committee will continue to emphasize sustainability and inclusivity in their initiatives, including a push to make reusable plates the default option in dining halls and to increase transparency of food prices to aid students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
The committee also wants to work to improve campus safety and generate feedback from constituents regarding the change they want to see.
“Especially with recent events, [safety] is a very important issue to the student body,” Keisler said. “Members of the committee are on advisory boards to the administration on the issue of safety…so we can make sure that we’re representing [the students] because they are the ones most directly affected by safety concerns on campus.”
The Academic Affairs Committee, chaired by sophomore Anne He, has been working on various initiatives to engage more non-STEM students in career-related activities. The most notable of these efforts is the Humanities and Social Sciences Career Mapping event.
“All through last semester and this summer, we’ve been helping the Career Center plan events catered specifically toward non-STEM students, given the general lack of career opportunities and resources for them,” He said. “The Humanities and Social Sciences Career Mapping event [Sept. 26] is one we’ve been working on for a while, and we hope it serves as a starting point for many more events and resources to come.”
Another initiative for the Academic Affairs Committee is extending the add/drop deadline in order to give students more flexibility when choosing classes.
“Moving forward, my committee is deep in discussion on how we can extend the add/drop deadline for courses in order to give students more time to decide if a class is right for them,” He said. “There’s been pushback from Olin [Business School] and Sam Fox due to the argument that many of their classes form teams for group work early on, but we’re currently working to overcome this challenge.”
He emphasized the importance of reforming the process of selecting a four-year academic adviser, but remains confident that SU will be ready to tackle these types of issues with its reshuffled structure and newly sworn-in senators.
“Our last main focus will be creating a four-year adviser matching survey, which will hopefully allow students to opt-in to choosing an adviser that matches their specific interests or identities,” He said. “It’s a lot to take on, but we have some incredible new senators on board and they’ve brought so many ideas to the table already, so we’re excited for this year.”
According to the speaker of Senate junior Sophie Scott, although these committees are separate entities, many of the problems facing campus are multidimensional and sometimes require several committees to collaborate on a solution.
“[Senate wants] to be able to identify where intersections exist, to encourage more collaboration across committees so that we can have the most effective advocacy in the projects done on campus,” Scott said.