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Group reviews Council rules

by Megan Doyle | Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Student body president Catherine Soler delivered her State of the Student Union address to Student Senate Wednesday before its members passed a resolution to revise the Off-Campus Council.

“It is very encouraging to see that we have accomplished many of the goals that we set out to,” Soler said. “We have introduced Student for South Bend discount program — the first of its kind in our community; the Rent-A-Text Program is up and running; and there are now three different varieties of hummus in the dining halls.”

Soler said other projects have been pushed forward throughout the semester, such as the completion of a computer cluster in Jordan Hall and long-term plans for renovations to the DeBartolo Lounge.

“Additionally, we have maintained the successful programs of past administrations such as TRANSPO, College Readership and the Lease Fair,” she said.

The administration approached the close of first semester in after unforeseen challenges.

“We have been thrown into various situations that were unexpected such as taking on the responsibility to redo pep rallies, representing the student body during the period of high arrests and being leaders in the time of great sadness with the passing of Declan,” Soler said. “In all of this I am proud of the ability — and not just from [student body vice president] Andrew [Bell], [student government chief-of-staff] Nick [Ruof] and me — but all of our student leaders who stepped up in these situations, no questions asked, and fulfilled our responsibilities to represent the students and live out being someone from Notre Dame.”

Student government looks at the future optimistically as it will continue to develop projects like the eND Hunger campaign and improve community relations, Soler said.

“Tonight we have the proposed amendment to the structure and role of the Off-Campus Council,” she said. “This is an important internal step to finding long-term solutions to good neighbor relations, protecting the welfare of our student and promoting great relationship with our community.”

Off-Campus Council president Ryan Hawley presented a resolution to the Senate to change the structure of the Off-Campus Council.

The resolution proposed two significant changes.

“We want to change the constitution so students currently on campus who plan to move off campus can run for Off-Campus Council positions,” Hawley said.

Positions on the Off-Campus Council were only open to students who moved out of the residence halls before their junior year. After the change, students who did not live off campus during the previous year would still be eligible for office.

“There is very limited junior pool that lives off campus,” Hawley said. “That group is not representative of the entirety of the people who live off campus.”

The officers do not need to have lived off-campus during their junior year to manage the Off-Campus Council during their senior year, Hawley said.

“In the past there has not been a really interested candidate pool,” Hawley said. “Tons of people on campus are interested and qualified, and we want to afford them the opportunity to run.”

The second change was the addition of Off-Campus Council ambassadors.

Student body vice president Andrew Bell said the ambassadors would function off campus like senators in on-campus residence halls.

“For every dorm, there is a senator who is local to you and gets information to you,” Bell said. “Ideally there would be someone who lives at Irish Row with you who can do the same.”

Breen-Philips senator Erin Burke said the changes would help off-campus students with community relations.

“I would like to support this resolution,” Burke said. “We have spent a lot of time discussing how we can make the Off-Campus Council more active and more effective to help students be good neighbors.”

The Senate passed the resolution with a vote of 25 in favor, two opposed and no abstentions.