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Members flexible in achieving key initiatives

John Tierney | Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Council of Representatives (COR), an advisory board to Student Body President Bob Reish, has demonstrated flexibility and adaptability, especially in its handling of appeals to the COR Collaboration Fund.

The COR Collaboration Fund, which can be tapped into by clubs who need additional money to plan events, has been appealed to at least four times this semester, Reish said.

COR took approximately one hour to make a decision on a fund appeal to benefit Cirque du Lac on Sept. 2, which prompted a full-scale review of the appeal process on Sept. 9.

COR decided to take steps to change the appeal process in order to make it more efficient, after having unanticipated challenges the previous week.

“Last week was kind of historic,” Reish said on Sept. 9. “We’ve never had a fund appeal for that large.”

Reish and COR members determined that there was a problem in the way that the council was equipped to handle the appeal, and attempted to address those problems the following week.

Before the Sept. 9 changes, the group appealing to the COR Collaboration Fund was not represented at the meeting. Instead, their case was presented by a representative of the Club Coordination Council.

However, on Sept. 9, COR decided to change the procedure of the appeal process and invite a representative from the club making the appeal to present their own case. The club representative is required to leave the meeting during the closed-door appeal discussions, but is available to take questions about their event.

COR members recognized the importance of the Collaboration Fund for many clubs, some of which are unable to fund their larger events without dipping into it, even with proper planning and organization.

“The whole point of this fund is to put on events for people around campus,” Sorin senator Mike Sayles said on Sept. 9.

Since making the procedural changes to the appeal process, there have been three appeals to the COR Collaboration Fund. The three appeals have moved more efficiently than the initial appeal on Sept. 9.

The changes that COR made to the fund appeal process are indicative of the common-sense approach that this year’s student government takes to problem solving. Reish and COR members saw a problem with the appeal process and fixed it the following week.

The changes to the appeal process have tangible effects for students, as they make it easier for clubs to get the money they need to put on large-scale events, such as the German Club’s Okdomerfest and Lyons Hall’s Cirque du Lac.

COR has also been successful in bringing in guest speakers from the administration to clear up problems of students misunderstanding University positions.

On Sept. 16, Reish invited Brian Coughlin from Student Activities to discuss changes made to Freshman Orientation. The changes were initially offensive to many students, but Coughlin explained that the bulk of the offensive changes were results of implementation of the new policies, not of the policies themselves.

Another set of misunderstandings were cleared up on Dec. 2, when Bill Kirk explained to COR members that his office is about education, not about punishment.

By bringing in administrators into COR meetings, Reish redirected COR. Instead of simply serving as an advisory board to the president, COR now helps its members get better information that can be distributed to its constituents. COR has taken dramatic steps this semester to become a servant to the student body, instead of only the president.