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Council selects task force issues

Aaron Steiner | Tuesday, September 16, 2008

After reviewing the topics discussed at the previous Campus Life Council (CLC) meeting and adding a few additional points, CLC members decided Monday on the creation of three task forces.

The task forces will cover a variety of student life issues, but will focus on three general topics: technology and study spaces within the dorms, student safety issues and a final task force on other dorm life issues, including welcoming new students to dorm life at Notre Dame.

Sustainability was also discussed as a possible task force, but council member and assistant vice president for Student Affairs Sr. Sue Dunn suggested that sustainability be an overarching topic of consideration for all the task forces throughout the year, rather than having its own force. The Council agreed with Dunn.

The task force on technology and study space issues within the dorms arose from discussion on a variety of topics.

During the previous CLC meeting, members discussed the lack of an accessible and user-friendly central calendar system. Council member David Wilbur, who is the off-campus Student Senate representative, said the Student Senate’s technology committee, which he sits on, is working with OIT to start using Google Calendars.

Wilbur said that eventually, in addition to dorm, club and other University events, professors would be able to use the system.

“The plan is eventually to put professors’ syllabuses up there as well, so homework is up there,” Wilbur stated.

Fr. Pete McCormick, rector of Keough Hall, discussed the plan in place to put Pharos printers in all dorms. This plan has not been carried out, although Wilbur stated it was still being worked on.

The second task force, centered on student safety and security issues, will address both on- and off-campus security issues.

Improving relationships with South Bend taxi services, organizing a forum for off-campus students to learn about issues affecting students off campus, addressing the relationship between students and Notre Dame Security Police and finding where specific safety issues may exist on campus are among the topics this task force will address.

“On Mod Quad there is a pathway between the dorms that is not well lit,” Lyons Hall Student Senate representative Catherine Flynn said. “Maybe if we can find a way to light that up a bit, that would help.”

Flynn had also mentioned security concerns inside Hesburgh Library at the previous CLC meeting. McCormick said that working to create a bike path or safer environment for bikers around the Notre Dame campus should be a consideration for the task force.

The final task force will encompass the issues affecting both freshman and other new students at Notre Dame and a variety of other dorm life issues.

The task force will review the changes made to Freshman Orientation this past fall, consider ways to better organize and synthesize the information that new students receive upon entering the University, and other dorm issues, including monetary and funding issues and disparities between dorms.

While the Council considered having more than three task forces or changing the concentration of task forces at the end of the semester, Sr. Mary Lynch, rector of McGlinn Hall, stated it would be wiser to plan to work for the entire year.

“It really does take time to track down all the people you need to connect with, … have meetings … and provide feedback,” she said. “It really does take close to a year.”

However, Fr. Jim Lewis, rector of Carroll Hall, said that the CLC is open to reorganize and restructure the task forces throughout the year, as the group sees fit.

The members will be assigned to the three task forces over the next week, and task force chairs will then be selected.