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Leaders seek to involve students more through activities

John Tierney | Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Finding ways to increase student enthusiasm – both for football season and student government – dominated discussions at the Council of Representatives meeting Tuesday night.

The Notre Dame Bookstore and the Shirt Project are partnering to sponsor a campus-wide spirit display Thursday by asking students to wear The Shirt 2007, Shirt Project President Brad LeNoir announced at the Council of Representatives (COR) meeting Tuesday.

“When everyone else thinks we’re done, we have to do something as students,” LeNoir said. “We have to show we’re behind our team. It’s still early in the season and we still have a chance.”

The Bookstore will offer a discount of at least 10 percent for students to purchase the Shirt on Thursday, LeNoir said.

Members also discussed ways to get students more involved with student government.

One way to boost involvement would be to market each student government committee to students already passionate about that committee’s particular focus, said Bob Reish, junior class president.

“We drive away a lot of potential,” he said.

“It’s either a lot of work or no work” to be a member of student government, he said.

Paul Robbins, Club Coordination Council president, said he was uncertain how to add to committee rosters without requiring new members to make a long-term commitment.

“The idea of getting input is important,” he said.

Sophomore class president Grant Schmidt suggested holding open, town-hall style meetings for everyone to attend. Student government would be able to select which meetings would be open to the public, so the committees could “leave it up to [their] discretion, and not just have people drop in,” he said.

Student body vice president Maris Braun said it is natural to have more interest in student government when major issues arise.

“When popular issues come up, we’ve always gotten a huge influx,” she said.

Student government needs to do a better job of capitalizing on that interest without overwhelming its committees with new members, she said.

“If people are passionate about an issue, they do a good job of coming to student government,” Braun said.

Chief executive assistant Sheena Plamoottil questioned whether students would find time in their busy schedules to attend town-hall meetings.

In other COR news:

– Schmidt proposed creating a new intramural sport conference between classes rather than halls.

The matches and games would occur during one week, he said.

Sorin senator George Chamberlain questioned the idea.

“Firstly, this could counteract dorm unity, which is a lot of what we’re all about,” he said. “Secondly, freshmen and sophomores could dominate the events. I feel like juniors and seniors are a bit more apathetic.”

Schmidt’s suggested athletic events included Capture the Flag.