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Reish presents state of student union

Joseph McMahon | Thursday, November 6, 2008

Student body president Bob Reish lauded the accomplishments of his administration while saying that a lot of work still needs to be done, specifically in the area of student safety off campus, in his state of the student union address at the Student Senate meeting Wednesday.

Reish said his administration has worked on “bridging the gap between students and student government” by focusing on becoming more approachable as well as more visible around campus.

Reish focused much of his speech on the issue of student safety off campus, which has become the hot-button topic this year. He said he had been working with the ad hoc committee on Stadium security, which was recently created by University president Fr. John Jenkins, and assured the Senate that “tangible progress is being made, although you may not yet see it.”

However, Reish said student government has decided to create its own committee to address student safety. Various members of student government, including many from the Council of Representatives (COR), had been holding closed meetings to plan the committee.

Reish said off-campus president Billy Lyman had recently “stepped up” to chair the committee, whose goals will include creating an off-campus listserv, designing an off-campus Web site which will “provide more legal information for students” and finding new ways for students to get involved off campus.

“We’re trying to interact with the South Bend community,” Reish said.

Student safety had also been the major topic of discussion when Reish and student body vice president Grant Schmidt met with the Board of Trustees. Reish said the meeting was very successful.

“We’ve already seen changes from the University and also from student government.”

Reish stressed the importance of student involvement in on-campus activities as well, and cited Sorin’s pep rally protests as evidence of how student action can lead to real change.

“We’ve already seen modifications based on their actions,” he said.

Reish also cited the tangible accomplishments of his administration, pointing especially to the new DVD rental program. Reish said 110 students had signed up, which “means 110 new faces visiting student government.”

Reish also said more than 3,500 students had completed the recent student government survey, which was many more than he expected. He cited this as evidence that “student government is more approachable and student government has become more meaningful.”

In closing, Reish charged the Senators with the task of making student government more visible and a bigger part of the lives of Notre Dame students.

“As members of student government, I extend this challenge to you [the Senators],” he said.

In other Senate news:

u The Student Senate also held a brief discussion addressing the concern that there is not enough study space on campus. Academic Affairs Committee chair Ryan Brellenthin said good study space is defined as an area that has “good furniture, good lighting, good wireless connectivity and good temperature.”

Schmidt said one concern was finding a place for groups to study.

“We’ve been trying to find a central spot for students to meet,” he said.

Cavanaugh Senator Robin Link cited discrepancies in study space between dorms, noting neighbor Zahm Hall has much more study space than Cavanaugh.

However, Morrissey Senator Austin Holler said there is plenty of study space on campus.

“I feel like there’s plenty,” he said. “The only time I feel there is an issue is during Finals week.”