Riordan and Logan hope to win election

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As some of you may know, the Student Senate Executive Board elections will be taking place on Monday, March 30th and Tuesday, March 31st in the Rotunda. This year the Student Senate has made dramatic changes on campus after hearing student concerns about specific issues. The Student Senate is traditionally known for their role in budgeting clubs and organizations and hosting events such as Parents and Family Weekend and Late Night Breakfast.


Notable Changes Thus Far:

However, this year the Senate has been extraordinary active facing campus issues, most notable being the security in residence halls and the new course evaluations. For instance, the Senate hosted a dialogue with the Department of Public Safety about campus security. As a result, the 24 hour residence hall lock was pushed by the student body and was supported by the Senate. Additionally, for the past few years, students were not pleased with the current course evaluations because they were too generic, while at the same time they wanted to view the results. This year the Senate took the initiative to promote a change for new evaluations and wanted to work with administration to make the results available for Bryant students.
The Structure of the Senate:

The Student Senate Executive Board and Legislative Body is voted by the student body at large. For those who don’t know, there are five representatives from each class that sits on the Legislative Body. In addition, there is an Executive Board which consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and As some of you may know, the Student Senate Executive Board elections will be taking place on Monday, March 30th and Tuesday, March 31st in the Rotunda. This year the Student Senate has made dramatic changes on campus after hearing student concerns about specific issues. The Student Senate is traditionally known for their role in budgeting clubs and organizations and hosting events such as Parents and Family Weekend and Late Night Breakfast.


Notable Changes Thus Far:

However, this year the Senate has been extraordinary active facing campus issues, most notable being the security in residence halls and the new course evaluations. For instance, the Senate hosted a dialogue with the Department of Public Safety about campus security. As a result, the 24 hour residence hall lock was pushed by the student body and was supported by the Senate. Additionally, for the past few years, students were not pleased with the current course evaluations because they were too generic, while at the same time they wanted to view the results. This year the Senate took the initiative to promote a change for new evaluations and wanted to work with administration to make the results available for Bryant students.
The Structure of the Senate:

The Student Senate Executive Board and Legislative Body is voted by the student body at large. For those who don’t know, there are five representatives from each class that sits on the Legislative Body. In addition, there is an Executive Board which consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, all of whom are also voted in by the student body at large. These positions can be held by any graduating class. Those running for an Executive Board position must obtain 100 signatures from the student body at large in order to be eligible where the Legislative Body must obtain 50 signatures from their graduating class.
Brian Riordan and John Logan for President and Vice President?

This year’s election is significantly important compared to past years because with Student Senate being more active and more campus issues being discussed, it’s essential for the student body to have the right voices at the right level. I decided to sit down with two candidates, Brian Riordan (Class of 2017) and John Logan (Class of 2016), who are running for President and Vice President (respectively) and asked what their plans were if they were to win.
Presence on Campus:

 

Molly: Why do you think this year Student Senate has become more active compared in the past?

 

Brian: This year, the student senators are very active and involved with other clubs, organizations, and areas on campus. In the past, the student body only knew us as “the budget people” and our main goal this year was to be known as more than that. We took the initiative to get what the students wanted, considering there are so many changes happening on campus.

 

John: Every year, the Student Senate has a retreat in the fall outlining the goals we want to achieve. It was evident that this year we wanted to increase our transparency on campus and let people know that any changes the students want on campus, they could come to us. Throughout the year, students did come to us and we acted on what they told us. I’ve been on Senate for the past three years and this has been by far one of the most active Senate I’ve seen.

 

Molly: If elected as President and Vice President, do you have any plans you did this year that was successful that you plan on continuing for next year?

 

Brian: Absolutely. I would like to further the idea that student senators can be approached by anyone to discuss anything. We had Gateway sessions this semester for the Class of 2018 to inform them of what we do and how they can get us to help them. Senate deals with every part of the university; the system is already in place for students to work for the changes that they want to see. It will be our job to continue to inform the student body of these opportunities.

 

John: A few weeks ago we had a table outside the fireplace in the Fisher Student Center which I thought went extremely well. I would love to do that a few times a month because it puts our face out there. During that tabling, we talked about the different committees on Senate including Academic Affairs, Public Relations, Student Services, and Student Life that help different issues on campus. The Gateway session is a new thing we did this year as well which I thought was successful. I would love to see us put together some sort of Acoustic Coffee House event that includes free food, drinks, music, comedy, and any other performers who would like to come. Oh, and I forgot about the most important thing that would be there: free coffee.
Controversial Issues Currently on Campus:
Course Evaluations

 

Molly: I know a few weeks ago the Student Senate held an open forum that was for the administration and study body to talk about changing the current course evaluations and then making them public for Bryant students. What are your thoughts on the issue?

 

John: This has been an ongoing issues for years now, but there hasn’t been any organization that took the lead to do anything about it. As a Senate this year, we decided to finally make a change and wanted input from both the students and the administration. Personally, I think it would be beneficial for the both parties, only if executed carefully. If done successfully, the professors can focus on their strengths and weaknesses and students would have access to better information about their courses.

I rarely go on “Rate My Professor” because students are either too extreme on both levels (if the professor was good or bad), and most of it are just students ranting because they received a bad grade. I can never trust a source like that, but again, if done professionally, I think this new system could benefit Bryant academics.

 

Brian: As the chairman of the Academic Affairs committee I have been dealing with this issue for the better part of a year now. The committee worked tirelessly on researching what options were available to us, and wrote a bill that was passed by Senate. So now the Senate is deciding on two options. The first one is to work with faculty to create a system that meets the wants of the students without making the faculty too uncomfortable.

The other option is for the students to create their own system, similar to what Brown and many other universities have, it could have whatever questions the students’ want and be available on the students terms. I personally believe the Senate and students could make a system and successfully implement it. It would be quite an accomplishment and a lot of work, but achievable none the less.

 

Molly: It feels although this is quite the project. What do you think altering the current course evaluation and making them available to Bryant students will achieve in the long run?

 

Brian: We all have friends at different schools and many of those schools have systems that let students view evaluations. So Senate went around and attempted to gauge how important this topic was, and in just two nights well over a thousand students signed the petition. Essentially a third of the student body told us that they want a tool to use to improve their academic experience on campus, and again, that was only talking to students for two nights. In the long run we will be providing that utility, whether that be with the faculty or doing something student run.
Aramark and Dining Services

 

Molly: I know that students have had mixed opinions on Aramark taking over for Sodexo for the food service. What are your thoughts on this?

 

John: It’s new for everyone, and I think students need to know this. In the beginning of the year it was tough for students because the food and management was different compared to past years. I think Aramark understood that their service wasn’t satisfying the student body and have continued to try and make progress. I also know the Senate has heard the voices of the student body and are trying their best to team up with Aramark to try and have better food options and quality.

I think this will take time and I think Aramark has implemented ideas already such as the 9:00 swipes at Nick’s Place and having Salmo open all day. I’ve also heard students say they would like some of the options they have at Nick’s Place be available at Salmo, specifically the grilled chicken. If enough students were on board, I would definitely be willing to try and make that happen.

If the Senate continues to work with them we can develop more ideas like that, such as asking students what they enjoy the most for meals, and homemade recipes they enjoy and how we can get that into Salmo, especially for dinner. The biggest issue now is that people are complaining about the food, but no one is really doing anything about it. That’s what Brian and I hope to do next year- actually do something about the issue.

 

Brian: The amount of complaints that come to us about the food in Salmo to me this year seems much more prevalent than last year with Sodexo. There are social media accounts about food, people using Yik Yak and tweeting about the food. I am someone who is not satisfied with the food offered in Salmo either, I think it is a big issue and it must be addressed. However I don’t think the social media use is enough to get any significant changes. We need a larger more coordinated effort, similar to the approach to security (issues) and course evaluation initiatives with a forum and a petition. Those are the things that need to happen in order for any change to occur, and we will work towards getting the students what they want next year.
Future Plans:

 

Molly: There seems to be a lot going on. Have you brainstormed any potential ideas right now that you would like to implement next year? I know these ideas aren’t official, but is there anything you would like to see on campus that currently is not happening?
John:

Food: I think one of the biggest issues on campus right now is the food. Personally, I would love to see the food options and quality increase. Because of my schedule, I attend Salmo maybe 3 to 4 times a week and I’m disappointed the majority of the time. Again, this could be just me though and the days I go. I usually get a bagel or cereal for dinner. The grille station has been creative a few times I’ve gone but I would like to see more variety in the entree. I’ve always wanted nachos at Nick’s Place too, but maybe that’s just because I’m obsessed with nachos.

 

Course Selection: The course selection process is another issue I’ve heard from students. Some students don’t get the classes they want, even if they wake up at five o’clock in the morning for the race to registration at seven o’clock. If we could develop a more efficient way to do this, that would be great. Many times if a student is on the waitlist for one class it messes up their entire schedule and it takes them a few weeks to finalize a schedule, which is unfair.

 

Internship and Job Opportunities for Non-Business Major Students: Many students that are not business majors have more trouble finding internships compared to business-major students. For example, 90% of the companies at the Career Fair are looking for business-major students while students who major in arts and sciences have to try and find connections in order to find an internship or job. I think this is unfair as well. It would be great to team up with Amica and try to accommodate something for those who are majoring in arts and sciences so they don’t have to walk around aimlessly at the Career Fair.

 

More Printing Money: Many students, like myself, are visual learners. I’ve already gone into the negatives and it’s only mid-terms. I know a lot of people have business or marketing plans they need to print out too and I like to make study guides and use color for different sections.
Coffee House Event or “Game” Room:

I would also like to see an Acoustic Coffee House performance. I think that would draw a lot of people in and clubs and organizations could partner up. I try to attend performance-related events on campus, and I’m always fascinated by the people who perform because I never knew they could do whatever they can do. It’s also a nice way for people to come together, eat food, and enjoy music. Another idea would be to put a “game room” in the Fisher Student Center. It would include more ping pong tables, a pool table, tv, couches, etc. That would take more work though, but if the students want it, I’m up for any challenge.
Brian:

Alternative Meal Plan: We are always thinking of new ways to improve campus. One idea that was brought to me is that students are forced to buy a meal plan if you’re a resident on campus, excluding townhouses, and with that, if you don’t like Salmo’s food, the majority of your meal plan is going to waste. I would like to see a newer option for a meal plan, one that gives far more money into dining dollars and less meal swipes. That way the food service provider can still get the meal plan money, but we as students could have more choice in what that money went to.

 

Student Involvement Fee: This next idea is more complicated so bear with me. The Student Involvement Fee (SIF) is part of your tuition, and it is meant to pay for your extra curricular experiences on campus. Whether that be speakers brought in through SASS or the Spring Weekend concert or any club on campus. Just from last year to this year, a few dozen clubs have started up, which is great as we always want students to be more involved and make more friends, but sadly the SIF fund does not grow with involvement. With more clubs and more students getting involved there is less money to go around. Next year I will start exploring options to get more money available to be able to fund more club activities.

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