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Senate passes resolutions calling for UHS self-scheduling, subsidies for RecSports passes

The Notre Dame student senate passed resolutions Wednesday aimed at making recreational passes more affordable and improving the accessibility of University Health Services (UHS).

In the past year, RecSports announced they were switching from a pay-per-class system to a pass system for group recreational and fitness classes. Now students can pay $95 for a year-long pass, $60 for a semester pass or $35 for a half semester pass. 

Sophomore senator Derick Williams from Keough Hall introduced resolution SS2223-09, which seeks to fix financial issues caused by the switch to a pass system. Williams brought up concerns that the pass system is too expensive and prevents students from enjoying recreational opportunities. 

In the resolution, Williams calls for the Office of Student Enrichment (OSE) to coordinate a plan with RecSports to subsidize passes or provide financial assistance for students with demonstrated financial aid. Williams said he hopes the subsidies will come in the form of free or reduced price passes for those with demonstrated need seeking a pass. 

Williams also expressed concern that the cost of the recreational passes was having a particularly negative effect on those struggling with their mental health.

“Recreational and fitness classes can serve as a useful tool for students to relax and reflect as a therapy and treatment method for mental health concerns,” Williams said.

In the second part of his resolution, Williams called on the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being and the University Counseling Center to work with RecSports to “identify ways in which a RecSports pass can serve as a further resource for sustaining mental well-being.” The resolution passed unanimously.

The senate then passed resolution SS2223-10 which calls on UHS to implement an online self-scheduling system. The resolution was introduced by McGlinn Hall senator Lauren Taylor.

Currently, appointments can only be made by calling UHS. Taylor and resolution co-authors Sisy Chen, the director of health and wellbeing, and Hunter Brooke, the Carroll Hall senator, argued that this system discourages students from seeking medical attention. 

“UHS offers many vital resources to support a healthy campus community, but the only way for students to schedule an appointment at the UHS currently is via phone call — a process which troubles students with significant hold times, inefficiency and inconvenience, and frequently requires students to leave a message and await a return call,” Taylor said.

The authors argued that the method of scheduling over the phone is outdated, claiming that other similar universities have self-scheduling systems in place.

With the resolution in place, UHS will work with the senate to look into developing an online self-scheduling system.

Also announced at the meeting was an initiative to ensure that menstrual products are available in the unisex bathrooms in men’s dorms. 

Next Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the senate will host a new program called Student Policy Collaboration in the Hesburgh library. Students will be able to come and voice their concerns and give ideas to senators.

Contact Liam Kelly at lkelly8@nd.edu

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Senate discusses ‘Lake Dillon,’ class council elections

The Notre Dame student senate met Wednesday evening and approved orders regarding the suspension of first-year class council elections and the future renovations between South Dining Hall and Dillon Hall. The senators also discussed proposals on the addition of sustainability points toward the Hall of the Year competition and subsidizing student RecSports passes. 

The senate’s second meeting of the semester was led by junior and student body vice president Sofie Stitt. Stitt put forward a new format designed to streamline the meetings and a new minutes approval voting process. 

After a unanimous vote, senators announced upcoming campus-wide events, including the South Bend Farmers Market on Friday and a new initiative called Cookie Chats. The chats are an evening version of coffee chats aimed at connecting students with student government leaders.

The senate quickly approved Judicial Council president Madison Nemeth’s order SO2223-07 to suspend first-year class council elections if there is a candidate running unopposed. 

Resolution SS2223-08 covered the upcoming renovations between South Dining Hall and Dillion Hall intended to fix the largest puddle on campus known as “Lake Dillon.” The sidewalk maintenance is scheduled to start and finish during fall break. The approved order is meant to thank the Office of Facilities Design and Operations for their efforts in listening to students’ complaints about the sidewalk and ensure that the construction is finished before students return to campus after break. 

“In the meetings that I’ve had with quite a few senators they have talked about that, that’s huge,” Stitt said of the final phases of the renovation.

Senators touched base on the progress of their resolutions during new business. 

Senator Derick Williams said he will soon meet with the necessary administrative employees to make RecSports more accessible to students. 

“The Office of Student Enrichment seems very open to subsidizing some passes,” Williams said. 

The resolution also aims to address mental health concerns across campus. Williams said he plans to discuss with the University Counseling Center a way to offer RecSports passes for people interested in using them as “mental health rejuvenation.”

Additionally, the senate covered a resolution discussing the addition of sustainability points to the Hall of the Year competition.

Transfer student and senator Luca Ripani said he is working on a resolution to call for amendments to the transfer student course requirements and registration process. Ripani shared his struggles as a transfer when registering for University requirements such as philosophy and theology — courses that are not required at public universities. 

The meeting ended with senators promoting upcoming events on campus they are involved in. Lewis Hall is hosting their annual LHOP on Friday from 9 p.m. to 1 p.m. and the first Acousticafe will be held on Thursday from 8:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. on Library Lawn. Finally, first-year class elections are tomorrow.

Contact Kendelle Hung-Ino at khungino@nd.edu.

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Student body president delivers state of the student union address in first senate meeting of the year

The Notre Dame student senate received a state of the student union address, amended the 2022-2023 senate bylaws and nominated members to the Campus Life Council and committee on the constitution during its first meeting of the semester Wednesday evening.

Student body vice president Sofie Stitt took over the reins from there, presiding over the meeting alongside senate parliamentarian Jared Schlachet. Stitt explained that as chairperson of the senate, her job is to lead the meetings while Schlachet ensures that the procedure outlined in the constitution is followed.

The senate quickly voted to approve the minutes from the prior meeting before student body president Patrick Lee delivered a state of the student union.

Student body vice president Sofie Stitt speaks during the first senate meeting of the year in the Montgomery Auditorium in LaFortune Student Center. (Photo by Peter Breen/The Observer)

Lee communicated a categorically positive expectation for this academic year in his speech.

“I think we’re in a good spot. We have brilliant people here and plenty of good ideas, and knock on wood, but COVID seems to be in the past,” Lee said.

The chief student government executive encouraged the many branches of the student union to continue to work hard in order to positively impact the Notre Dame community.

“If you think that wages are too low, you can raise them,” Lee said. “If you think that residential life or any group on campus has issues, we in this room can really do a lot to sort it out.”

The president’s speech ended with a call for student unity. 

“I think really what I want to tell you guys today is whether or not we as a student union succeed is not dependent on administrator response. It’s about our own effort to follow through and our ability to work together,” Lee said.

The next time Lee will address the student senate is in six weeks during the assembly before fall break.

Stitt concluded the executive announcements portion of the meeting by urging senators to make themselves visible to first-years and asking the representatives to fill out a survey to help improve dorm gyms.

Next on the agenda was the nomination of senior Meghan Swantkowski as president of The Shirt Project. The senate moved quickly from questioning to debate before confirming Swantkowski as president of the club.

The senate then approved in a block vote three nominations to the committee on the constitution.

“The committee on the constitution is a senate committee that essentially reviews constitutional amendments before they are presented to senate and also evaluates and debates potential changes to the student union,” Schlachet said.

More contested than the three committee on the constitution nominations were the nominations of one male and one female senator to the Campus Life Council . 

“The council is a group of student leaders, rectors, faculty members, and representatives from the office of Fr. Gerry [Olinger] in the Division of Student Affairs,” Lee explained.

After 30-second speeches by the both nominated senators and their supporters, sophomore Connor McCloskey from Keenan Hall and sophomore Trista Brantley from Breen-Phillips Hall were elected to the council in a closed vote.

The senate then considered order SO2223-06 to amend the 2022-2023 student senate bylaws to clarify section five, which outlines the process for approving the student union budget for the new term. The order passed without debate.

Before wrapping up the meeting, the senate listened to a resolution calling for self-scheduling at University Health Services.

Finally, senators heard announcements from their fellow representatives. Of note, first-year class council elections will be held Sept. 15.