Student Government Association (SGA) discussed reworking the Saint Mary’s co-exchange program, which allowed students from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s to eat at both schools’ dining halls, at its meeting Wednesday night.
In response to student concerns, student body president Rachael Chesley and student body vice president Laura Smith met with the vice president for Student Affairs to get more answers on the issue.
“We are really taking in what [the students] are telling us,” Smith said. “We are really trying to compose everything everyone has to say. They can always come to us with their concerns and we will always be their voice.”
In their meetings with Karen Johnson, vice president for Student Affairs, Chesley and Smith discussed alternatives to the co-exchange plan, but Smith said “co-ex’s are not going to go back to what they used to be.”
As far as budgeting for the tickets, Smith said $25,000 a year came from Saint Mary’s general fund and $25,000 came from Sodexho, Inc., its food provider.
Although co-exchange tickets are not available to everyone, Smith said they would still be there for students who need them for a class or club on the opposite campus.
“Students who really have the need weren’t able to get the co-ex because of the limit,” Smith said. “With this in place, the tickets are being removed for social reasons. Anyone who has a class can bring your class/club schedule and you’ll be covered.”
Saint Mary’s students have begun petitions and Facebook group pages about the issue. Chesley said students have been calling for a forum for students to express their ideas and opinions on the program.
“Obviously, it is upsetting,” Smith said. “We want there to be discussion, let us know what you think.”
The day of the forum is still tentative, Chesley said. They are hoping to hold the session next Tuesday or Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and possibly have Johnson and Barry Bowles, director of dining services, in attendance. Chesley said she would contact the student body as soon as the date was finalized.
“There is a way to go about things in a confident, direct way and still be respectful,” Chesley said.
Chesley also discussed one of SGA’s goals of keeping students in the Student Center until midnight. During fall break, Chesley said a lot of remodeling will be taking place in the Student Center. Once construction is complete, the Convenience Store will be moving into the café area of the Cyber Café.
After the move is made, the Student Center and Cyber Café will be open until midnight.
“We wanted to keep students in the Student Center Lounge, and this is an accomplishment,” Chesley said.