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Board analyzes community, academic needs

Catherine Owers | Thursday, December 12, 2013

Alex Coccia, student body president and chair of the Campus Life Council (CLC) said the organization brings together students and faculty for a wide range of different perspectives on campus.

“When we come together to discuss issues related to student life, I think it’s very important to have those varied perspectives,” he said. 

This year, the council is organized into three task forces, Coccia said, in an effort to address comprehensive issues. The three groups focus on safety and health, community building and holistic student development, and they will draft reports of their findings next semester.

Coccia said the third task force focuses on students’ overall growth and improvement especially outside the classroom. 

This semester, the safety and health group initiated the prayer services following email alerts of sexual assault, Coccia said. 

“Now that’s a small action step,” he said. “At the same time, we’re talking about sexual assault and alcohol culture on campus. One of the things we’ll be focusing on next semester is doing focus groups with students to really get a sense of what people look for in parties and in building healthy relationships, whether people understand the signs of alcohol poisoning, and what the potential barriers are to helping someone who is intoxicated if they need help.”

The community building task force is examining programming, Coccia said, and examining “where people find their primary community.”

“They’re going to look at dorms that have a high rate of rector turnover, and they’re going to look at the effect that that has had on dorms, in order to help make recommendations on rector recruiting,” he said. “They’ve also been looking at Mass attendance information to see how we can better serve people in that area, and with consistent presiders. Also, they’re working with Diversity Council and the recommendations they’ve made recently.” 

The third task force has examined potential improvements in academic areas, Coccia said. 

“One of the things they’re looking at right now is office hours, what best practices for office hours are and ensuring students have a mentoring relationship with their faculty,” he said. “They’ve also been looking at class timing, to see if there are ways we can ensure that students aren’t getting out of labs at crazy hour of the night, so people can actually have time to work on their own and have extracurricular engagement, as well.” 

The CLC works to “benchmark” the practices of peer institutions, Coccia said, as well as soliciting student feedback, in the process of making recommendations. 

“It’s a very deliberate procedure, but it’s also good because it allows us to the time to have ongoing discussions, rather than just jumping in and saying ‘this is what I think we should do,'” he said. “We have the opportunity and the perspective to really challenge each other on various issues and make sure we’re going to make proper recommendations.”

Grade: B

CLC is primarily an advisory body, but it does not seem like they achieved many concrete goals this semester.

Contact Catherine Owers
at cowers@nd.edu