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Members reflect on past year, look forward

Megan Doyle | Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Campus Life Council wrapped up discussions for the year Monday with closing comments on the academic environment on campus and the Council’s effectiveness as a part of student government.

Former student body president Grant Schmidt presented an executive summary of the previous weeks’ talks on intellectual engagement.

“The point of this document is really a transition piece so the ideas that we have worked on do not get lost in conversation between this year and next year,” former chief of staff Ryan Brellenthin said.

The summary included setting up an online debate forum for students to share their ideas in a blog format, keeping lecture topics general and more appealing, encouraging more dorm events and connections between the academic commissioners and televising lecture and events through NDtv.

“One of the great blessings of this University that I have experienced over a period of time is that people are not cutthroat with each other,” Sorin College rector Fr. Jim King said.

The suggestions that the Council members will pass on to the incoming student government focus on extracurricular competition that is fun for students and unique toNotre Dame, said former senator Chase Riddle.

The Council also reflected on other discussions from the span of the year and provided feedback for future Council members.

“The great part of this Council is that it is not just students,” Schmidt said.

Rectors and administrators on the council are able to check some student opinions, but also provide affirmation for others, he said.

King said he hoped to see the Council hold future discussions on the role, importance and quality of hall government.

“What attraction do I have to join hall government if I am made to feel like a gopher?” he said.

The government inside residence halls needs to be more autonomous and less directed by outside groups, King said.

Over-programming on campus has led to hall government taking the role of liaison for different agencies, and dorm events fall from the precedent, former director of external affairs Gus Gari said.

“Hall government should be student-based and student-run rather than agency-based,” he said.

Former Hall Presidents Council co-chair Brendan McQueeney emphasized the need for tangible goals to bring action to student government rather than turning meetings into lists of announcements.

“By having these simple conversations we are really making a difference and improving the University,” Schmidt said.