This covers the SGA meeting on March 21.
President Amulya Deva, junior, announced the February senator of the month, Julia Shults, junior senator. Senator of the month is awarded to the senator with the most points, earned by attending SGA-sponsored events and promoting SGA, among other things. Shults received a bowl of Amy’s white-chocolate ice cream with Reese’s.
First-year senator Noelle Barrera announced that Trinity Diversity Connection’s event “Womyn in Art,” was postponed. The event will now be on April 10, as a part of Diversity Week. (Barrera is a news reporter for the Trinitonian.)
David Tuttle, dean of students and adviser to SGA, asked for more student feedback about the new contract between dining services and Aramark. Tuttle suggested that SGA host an event for students in Mabee to request feedback from students more directly.
At the Feb. 19 SGA meeting, legislative relations chair Chiara Pride, sophomore, had raised concerns about the increased demand for counseling services. After that conversation, SGA invited Gary Neal, director of Counseling and Health Services, to come speak at a meeting. Neal passed out a fact sheet before answering questions from senators.
Counseling Services increased their walk-in hours last spring and hired a new full-time counselor, Claudia Rodriguez Kypuros, in December 2017. The office has been seeing an increase in demand in recent years, which Neal notes is a national trend that he attributes, in part, due to the changing stigma surrounding mental health.
Neal hopes that the move from Halsell to Coates University Center next fall — a return to form for the office, which was temporarily relocated to Halsell in the fall of 2015 to make room for the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success — will help make the service more accessible and convenient, if less private.
First-year senator Mia Quintanilla asked Neal to go into more detail about how Counseling Services staff members are surveyed. According to Quintanilla, some students have reported bad advice and negative comments from those working in the office.
Neal explained that nearly every year they conduct a survey and he explained that increasing diversity on staff will help develop more specific outreach programs.
Junior senator Daniela Montúfar Soria asked if there was a physician dedicated to helping international students, and Neal said that though there wasn’t a person designated for international students, physicians have to get diversity training as part of maintaining their license.
COATES RENOVATION UPDATE
Jamie Thompson, director of Student Involvement and chair of the Coates renovation committee, requested feedback from SGA about the current renovations to Coates University Center. Thompson suggested SGA members make clearer what’s going on to anyone who asks, as well as create signs that clarify how to reach the Commons now.
Thompson also told SGA that there will be a search for a new university chaplain since Stephen Nickle, current university chaplain, will retire at the end of this semester.
President Deva joined vice president Rachel Daniel, junior, and chief of staff Monty McKeon, senior, in presenting changes made to SGA’s bylaws. The changes were minor and included changes to language and clarifications of position descriptions.
Unlike constitutional changes, changes to the bylaws do not need to be voted on by the student body. All changes were discussed, voted on and approved.
Last semester, SGA implemented feminine hygiene product dispensers on campus. Senator Washington, sophomore, and senator emeritus Nick Santulli, senior, met with Jim Baker, director of Facilities Services, to help make the initiative more permanent.
Baker raised concern about the process of restocking the receptacles, which suffered mechanical malfunctions. Washington and Santulli negotiated placing baskets stocked with the products in bathrooms.
Legislative relations chair Pride told SGA that Diversity and Inclusion is hosting Diversity Week and wants to host an event with SGA to discuss how to approach civics through the lens of diversity.
Chief of staff McKeon presented briefly on risk management, reminding the group not to haze and to check out more on Student Involvement’s website.