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Student Senate: Department grades

| Friday, December 7, 2012

The Department of Academic Affairs worked to reform several academic policy measures, and revised its own constitution.  Department director Maxwell Brown led the department as it coordinated the Last Lecture series, assisted in the library renovation process and advocated for the restructuring of other university policies related to DuLac.  Academic Affairs also created an interactive study spaces map on InsideND and continued the College Readership Program.  Despite the department’s achievements, Academic Affairs earns a B+ because it failed to meet its own objective of marketing its initiatives to the student body. 


The Department of Campus Technology appointed technology commissioners in each dorm to resolve students’ technical support problems more efficiently, fostered the development of mobile technology through multiple events at a “Mobile Summit” and supported Academic Affairs’ initiative to create maps of campus study spaces.  Department director Yiting Zheng led her department as they worked to place computers in O’Shaughnessy Hall, better support cell phone service on campus and support initiatives undertaken by the University Council for Academic Technologies.  The department earns an A for its work this semester because the initiatives both thoroughly addressed the needs of the Notre Dame community and were efficiently implemented.


The Department of Community Relations hosted several large events for students, including a new student bus tour, a welcome picnic with the Robinson Community Learning Center and a community earlier this fall.  Department director Kelsey Eckenrode guided her department through collaboration with the Co-Campus Council, which has allowed connections between area campuses and residents to multiply.  Community Relations also has planned a CommUniversity Day for the spring and a student discount program but because the department has pursued a thin array of initiatives, it earns a B-. 


The Department of Constituent Services made its presence known on campus through visits to Hall Council meetings and a Facebook campaign aiming to connect students to their representatives in student government.  Department director Liza Manfred guided her team as they organized student feedback and suggestions to the appropriate departments, and has planned several initiatives for the spring including ‘Senate SparkNotes,’ an on-campus farmer’s market and a leftover apparel sale.  The department earns an A- because its initiatives are creative and varied, but it could still engage more deeply the student community.


The Department of Gender Issues pursued an extremely wide array of initiatives, including revision of the discrepancies across the residence hall alarm system, improvement to Contemporary Topics, promotion of a Gay-Straight Alliance, assistance in the planning of Sexual Violence Awareness Week and revision of language in NDSP sexual assault email notifications.  Department director Matt Devine plans to continue his department’s support for their initiatives already in place, and to work toward planning a more effective freshmen orientation.  Gender Issues earns an A+ for the excellent variety of its initiatives and its success in seeing them put into place.


The Department of Internal Affairs monitored revisions to last year’s Student Union reform, the creation of new Class Council bylaws and adjustments to the Student Union Secretary position and the orientation for new senators.  Department director Benjamin Noe also led his department as they crafted a new rule for the Senate permitting proxy attendance for unavailable senators, the new campus ministry representative position and the write-in amendment for campus elections.  Internal Affairs earns an A for effectively monitoring recent reforms while also continuing to streamline student government further.


The Department of Residence Life installed hydration stations in Rolf’s Sports Recreation Center, the Rockne Memorial Gymnasium and in the residence halls.  Department director Parker Dwyer led his department as it installed hand dryers in the residence halls, worked to delete meal times in the dining halls and installed a sub-committee specifically promote diversity in housing. The department plans to also install high efficiency washing machines in the residence halls and further promote diversity in housing.  Residence Life earns a C+ because though it has effectively responded to diversity issues, it has focused in too much on the installation of hydration stations and has neglected to pursue a variety of policy initiatives.


The Department of Social Concerns has finalized a “ServeND” website to make it easier for students to pursue service opportunities and nearly has competed a food nutrition booklet to aid South Bend residents using food stamps.  Department director Pail DiGiovanni guided his team as it ran a Sept. 11 letter-writing campaign and a lecture on Syrian conflict and refugee situation as a join effort with Acousticafe.  The department has planned a broomball event, charities to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims, a documentary series and a charity run.  Social Concerns earns an A- for its efforts this semester; although the department has concentrated its efforts on a few initiatives, those initiatives have been extremely successful.


The Department of University Affairs worked to promote general safety on campus by conducting safety audits, expanding NDSP Safewalk services and renovating sidewalks.  Department director Michael Masi led his department as they reviewed the incoming HAWK system on Twyckenham Road, student ID cards, implemented hydration stations in DeBartolo Hall and restored campus statues.  The department also plans to collaborate in planning of the 2012-2013 Forum, while promoting efforts towards sustainability in student government.  University Affairs earns a B+ for its effective initiatives, especially for those related to campus safety; however the scope of its initiatives is limited and too heavily focused on sustainability efforts.