Nov

14

SGA Discusses Seven Sisters, Survey Results

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Let’s be honest, the old ‘is Barnard part of Columbia debate?’ is still fun

Despite the lack of guests at this week’s SGA meeting, Barnard Bwogger Dassi Karp dutifully reports the council’s survey findings which included a disappointment with on-campus employment conditions, the experiences of first generation students and the availability of JJs. 

It’s been a while since Barnard’s Student Government Association has had a Rep Council meeting with no real administrative or student guests. But SGA had business to discuss, and they got right to it. This week, students reported back from a Seven Sisters conference that happened last weekend, and we heard this semester’s Desserts After Dark results. It was a pretty tame meeting, but not too boring.

The Seven Sisters is an association of historically women’s colleges in the Northeast. Of the seven, Barnard is one of six that still exists as an undergraduate institution. These six get together yearly to promote bonding and learning from each other. This year’s conference took place at Mount Holyoke, described by Rep for Seven Sisters Relations Julia Pickel as “very different from Barnard. It’s a rural campus.” Conference-goers attended sessions on topics such as gender identity at women’s colleges, controversial speakers and free speech, alumnae panels, and group brainstorming sessions. First-year class president Sara Morales, who attended the conference, was especially excited to share one of Mount Holyoke’s methods for sharing information about student groups: a “newsflush,” which consists of updates taped to the back of bathroom stalls. “It’s like wow,” Morales enthused. “I felt accomplished every time I went to the bathroom.” Good to know. SGA plans on taking this and other ideas garnered at the conference in to consideration.

The second half of the meeting was led by VP Campus Life Aku Acquaye, who demonstrated her slideshow skills with a series of graphs reflecting the results of this semester’s Desserts After Dark survey. The survey is designed to collect feedback from Barnard students to help SGA direct its efforts and priorities. This semester, the survey had 601 respondents, about 25% of the student body, which is lower than it has been in the past. Nevertheless, interesting (if questionably statistically significant) information was gleaned and shared.

39% of respondents said that they were not aware that Rep Council meets every Monday evening. “Obviously we don’t get a great turnout,” SGA President Angela Beam said, wondering what was the best way to spread the word. Not snapchat, apparently, as “there’s only like four people who follow us on snapchat, which is really funny,” according to Aku. Bwog articles about the meeting were not included in the survey, but I surmise there might have been at least five respondents there, too bad. The survey also asked students to comment on on-campus employment conditions, experiences as low-income and first-generation students, and career development. Students across all majors expressed a general disapproval of the effectiveness of Barnard’s career development office. “It’s good to hear that STEM students are lacking in some regard,” said Rep for Campus Affairs Mia Lindheimer. Usually, she explained, she hears more complaints about how career development only supports STEM students. But if even they, the technologically-minded people who are leading the rest of us humanities majors into a brighter future, are unhappy, Mia has a stronger complaint to present. Students also commented on food and dining policies, with 60% saying they would totally eat at JJ’s if it was open to Barnard students after 1 am. Because apparently, students on “this side of the street” don’t have drastically different eating and studying patterns than the other undergraduates who they study, socialize, and work with. Go figure.

Notably, SGA has obtained a tripod to hold the iPhone which livestreams the meeting. Apparently, each meeting has been getting between 200 and 900 views on the livestream. VP Communications Rhea Nagpal clarified that a view is recorded after about five seconds of watching with sound. But still–that’s something.

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