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Group sets agenda

Joseph McMahon | Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Council of Representatives discussed different ways of integrating transfer students into the student body Tuesday.

It also discussed what issues should be on its agenda once student body president-elect Bob Reish takes over for current student body president Liz Brown on April 1.

Representatives, who officially serve as members of the advisory body to the executive branch of student government, listed a number of issues they would like to see addressed, but focused on the integration of transfer students into University life.

“We need a conscious effort to welcome transfers to the class,” senior class president Bridget Keating said.

Student Union Board (SUB) manager Phillip Ross said transfer students “cluster together,” and said more should be done to integrate them into campus life.

Judicial Council president Ashley Weiss, who is herself a transfer student, helped run the orientation for transfer students last fall. Although she said more needs to be done to help ease the transition for transfer students, she rejected Reish’s idea of including transfer students in freshman orientation.

“Transfer students already have a year under their belts and bring a different perspective,” she said.

Chris Tillet, who served as a proxy for SUB treasurer Kadeja Gaines, said limited space in dorms often causes transfer students, especially those that enroll at Notre Dame, for the fall semester, to seek off-campus housing. He said many transfer students he had spoken with were upset at the lack of on-campus housing available to them.

“It’s a big complaint with a lot of kids that I’ve talked to,” Tillet said.

In addition, Reish said he would like to increase freshman participation in student government when he becomes president, and asked the Council how it thought he could get more freshmen involved.

Freshman class council president Kate Clitheroe said students who had participated in student government in high school would be the people most likely to participate at Notre Dame.

“We should target freshmen that have already been involved,” she said.

Executive assistant Sheena Plamoottil said one of the major goals should be to simplify the “Student Government 101” information sessions held at the beginning of each year for freshmen interested in student government.

“I found it hard to describe how our policies work,” she said.

Reish said perhaps student government could do a mass mailing to all incoming freshmen asking them to visit the student government Web site.

Student body vice president Maris Braun said one focal point of COR and student government in general next year will be energy and environmental issues.

Braun said she was disappointed with the lack of events focused on immigration after this year’s Notre Dame Forum, and said that COR should do all it “to keep up energy” with next year’s Energy and Environment Forum.

In other COR news:

u COR unanimously approved junior Pat Gartland as the new SUB manager.

Ross cited Gartland’s “extensive experience” in choosing the junior for the position.

“He has the organizational skills and had worked with SUB enough to be an effective board manager,” Ross said.

Gartland, who also writes his own stand-up comedy, said he will continue to plan events students will be excited about.

“My top priority is programming events that students want to see on campus,” he said.