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Task forces achieve goals

Aaron Steiner | Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Campus Life Council (CLC) has worked effectively to pass two resolutions this semester, two more than the same group had passed by this time in the last two years. The first resolution encourages discussion about installation of Pharos printers in all dorms. The second, passed at the last meeting of the semester, asks Student Affairs to review its limited role in Transfer-O.

Grant Schmidt, the student body vice president, said the Task Force on Technology and Study Spaces in Dorms, which he chairs, is working to address three projects: installing printers in all dorms, improving study spaces around campus, and developing a calendar system utilizing Google Calendars.

The group’s promising resolution regarding the installation of Pharos printers in all dorms is the council’s biggest achievement of the semester.

The resolution calls for the purchase of additional printers, a project that has been pursued by Devin Fee, the Student Senate Campus Technology Committee chair, throughout the semester.

Schmidt’s group detailed numerous arguments in support of the initiative.

Fee has noted that now is a prime opportunity for the installation of more printers in dorms. The University’s contract with Xerox expires at the end of the calendar year, and Fee said OIT and the Procurement department are negotiating a purchase of used Xerox printers that would be installed in dorms. The resolution – which was also passed in Senate – will help support those discussions.

The resolution reflects on Fee’s work in his capacity as a senator – and as not a member of CLC – during the semester and his collaborative work with OIT. Schmidt’s group supported that work through a resolution and strong arguments in favor of it. The resolution also has the possibility to improve student life at Notre Dame quantifiably, which is the ultimate goal of the committee.

Schmidt’s task force also helped to gain additional study space during finals week. Schmidt worked directly with Dave Prentkowski, director of Notre Dame Food Services, and Ann Firth, vice president of student affairs, to get the space in South Dining Hall and the Career Center.

This achievement is an example of the work achieved outside the typical resolution process, but nonetheless initiated in part by discussion among task force members.

Meg MacCaughey, chair of the Task Force on New Student Introduction, has led an investigation into the organization of Transfer Orientation, finding that unlike Frosh-O, Student Affairs and its divisions like SAO and ORLH are not involved in Transfer-O.

The resolution passed at the last meeting reflects that investigation, and while it does not provide specific recommendations, it calls for Student Affairs – to whom the document is submitted – to “begin discussions” and “convene a review committee” to address the role of that office in Transfer-O.

The last group, the Task Force on Student Safety, chaired by student government parliamentarian Nicole O’Connor, is the only task force on the council that has not passed a resolution. The group has, however, begun productive discussions about their goals and begun work on a needed initiative: the creation of an off-campus Web site.

This is another example of the work done outside of the resolution passing.

The Web site, which is in large part due to the work of Keenan Hall senator Gus Gari and the Student Senate’s Community Relations Committee, will give information about attractions, retailer and activities in the community as well as include information regarding safety off campus.

The Web site is slated to launch in March 2009.

The group has also looked into outdoor lighting in the Mod Quad area, safety in Hesburgh Library, and the creation of bike lanes around campus.

The council’s work has been often a team effort, supporting the work of Student Senate members on initiatives like printers in dorms and the off-campus Web site, or supporting work of individual members of student government.

But the council must continue to address its own goals, especially focusing on those that aren’t addressed by outside groups – for example, MacCaughey’s group’s work on Transfer-O.