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Senators focus on improvements to campus life

Mel Flanagan | Thursday, September 8, 2011

Each senator voiced his or her idea to improve Notre Dame’s campus at Student Senate’s meeting Wednesday night.

Some issues, such as study space, were brought up multiple times.

St. Edward’s senator Kyle Ripp said the study spaces in his dorm are disappearing, and there aren’t many other places to go.

“Our only study space was some rooms on the second floor with about 20 desks,” Ripp said. “And this year, one of them was changed into a pretty small triple. That leaves us with one room and a lounge with couches where it’s pretty hard to get your work done.”

Keough senator Andrew Anderson agreed that with the rising number of freshmen, dorm study rooms are disappearing.

“We don’t have a place to study late at night when the library closes,” Anderson said. “I want 24-hour spaces outside of the dorm that aren’t Reckers or the LaFortune basement.”

Anderson also said it would be nice to have separate study areas for students in different colleges, for example a science study space or a business study space.

Many senators said they wish to see an increase in recycling on campus.

Grace Deardurff, McGlinn senator, pointed out that even though the University has garbage cans with separate bins for recycling, there are not many of them around campus.

“Even with those newer garbage cans, the recycling part is really little,” Pasquerilla West senator Maureen Riegert said.

Reigert suggested holding a campaign to decrease the number of plastic water bottles students use and instead promote reusable bottles.

Helen Costa, off-campus senator, said Senate should try to extend the recycling movement off campus as well.

“They don’t have recycling at all in my complex,” she said. “It would be great if there was a place where we could set recyclable stuff aside in each complex and someone from campus could come pick it up.”

Stanford senator Ross McCauley said he would like to see online webcams where students could view the basketball courts at Rolfs and see if any were open.

“It’s the worst thing if you get five or 10 guys and go down to Rolfs and you can’t get a court and have to wait half an hour,” McCauley said.

Calvin Belden, Morrissey senator, said an alternative to webcams could be an online count of the number of people who have swiped into Rolfs.

“We have to swipe in anyway — what if you could just see the current population there?” Belden said. “Or what if you scan in and then you can click ‘I’m going to go play basketball’ or ‘I’m going to go squat?'”

A few senators drew on their experiences as freshmen for improvement ideas.

Farley senator Ciara Dineen said she wished she knew the simplicity of different modes of transportation when she was a freshman.

“I heard Notre Dame was really scary and hard to get around, but now I know it’s really not,” she said. “I think there should be one source where freshmen could go and get taxi numbers and bus schedules, and then I think it would be a lot simpler for them to get around.”

Duncan senator John O’Brien said student government should provide freshmen with more information about the different branches of government that students are able to get involved in.

“I know they have Student Government 101, but I was busy freshman year and didn’t go to any of that,” O’Brien said. “It should be a really easy and simple meeting like all the ones that are mandatory for freshman.”