SGA Update

By Ben Anderson

The Student Government Association (SGA) held their first full meeting of the academic year on Sept. 23. SGA meetings are held in the Crest Room of the McCullough Student Center and are open to the student body. The Campus will provide bi-monthly updates on their proceedings.

SGA Launches Website

During the week of Sept. 3, one week before the start of classes, the SGA launched a new website. Past versions of the SGA website were updated infrequently and lacked up-to date information about members and initiatives. The new website, which can be found at sga.middlebury.edu, includes a brief bio of the president, cabinet members and senators, information from recent meetings as well as other information on the SGA.

Senate Hopes to Boost Portal Usage

The Sept. 23 meeting began with a reminder that representatives from Library and Information Services (LIS) will be coming to the Sept. 30 meeting of the SGA to brief the senators on LIS’ plans for the upcoming year.

Before the meeting, Senator Will Potter ’14.5 met with LIS to discuss their plans for the web service Portal. It has come to the attention of both LIS and the SGA that Portal is under-utilized by the College and Potter hoped to work with LIS to improve its image in the student body.

SGA and LIS are currently discussing plans to co-sponsor a contest open to all students to design a new college web service. The plan is still in preliminary stages.

However, many of the senators think that the issue with Portal goes beyond the design and questioned whether redesigning the site would in fact garner interest among students. Ryan Kim ’14, who attended the meeting, proposed that the lack of usage of Portal may be a publicity issue.

“How many of the problems Portal has been facing can be solved by a marketing push on the part of the SGA?” said Kim. Potter pointed out that LIS has conducted numerous student-wide polls on Portal and much of the comments they received indicated that students liked the content on Portal but were disinterested in the design.

SGA Ratifies SCOCC Candidates

Director of Membership Sydney Fuqua ’13 presented to the SGA the signatures collected by the prospective candidates for First-Year Senator and Student Co-Chair of Community Council. The candidates were ratified by the SGA with a unanimous vote.

Cabinet Seeks Ride Share Program

Chief of Staff Anna Esten ’13 then spoke about work that has been done to start a ride-share program at the College. The ride-share program would encourage car-pooling in the college community among students, faculty and staff. Various platforms are currently being researched. There was some interest in a format started by a student at Grove City College. The program would be free for the College and may change into a paid program, though the College could opt not to adopt it. The biggest issue with this program — a problem facing many ride-share programs, both ones that have been tried here at the College and around the country — is an issue of critical mass; the programs cannot seem to attract enough users to make the system effective.

Both LIS and Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR) have approached Esten about various ride-share programs. During discussions at the meeting, senators mentioned again that the failure of past programs was most likely an issue of marketing. The thought of starting an events program where shuttles or ride-shares are organized between Middlebury and Burlington on days when there are large events going on in Burlington was also discussed.

Arnowitz Floats Operational Account Bill, By-Laws Modification

President of the SGA Charlie Arnowitz ’13 polled the senators on their interest in reinstating an SGA Operational Account. The account would be accessible to Arnowitz when he needs to make SGA related purchases and would eliminate the need to pass legislation for each purchase. The straw poll received a positive response and Arnowitz will begin writing a bill to be presented to the Senate soon.

Discussion was started on Arnowitz’s plans to modify the SGA by-laws, but the discussion was ultimately tabled until next week’s meeting.

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