A Bwog staffer walks you through last night’s ESC meeting, from cross-councils food pantry proposals to ESC’s new internal “expectations.”
In a sharp departure from the heated and contentious debates of the last few weeks, ESC spent the majority of their general body meeting last night in calm and productive discussion. The majority of the meeting was devoted to the discussion of ideas for how to improve academic advising services on campus as well as expectations for future debates in the council.
Following committee updates, discussion opened with a brainstorm of topics to bring up during a future meeting between ESC and the Center for Student Advising. Most of the topics centered around difficulty in accessing quality advising; 2017 Class Representative Harry Monroe made the point that SEAS students usually decide their major early on in their academic career but are refused access to department specific advisors until they formally declare, sometimes much later on. Sustainability Representative Danielle Deiseroth, SEAS ’18, stated that its often difficult to plan for a college career when advisors aren’t familiar with all the majors or don’t have adequate institutional knowledge, especially given SEAS students’ packed course loads and the necessary forethought into class scheduling. As a closing point on the discussion, Technology Representative Vinay Mehta, SEAS ’18, brought up that a majority of the stated complaints have already been addressed and dismissed by CSA in the past and recommended that ESC check the notes from past meetings with CSA before bringing up new issues with the office.
Discussion then progressed on to “Group Discussion Expectations” and what ESC expects of its members during future debates. President Neha Jain, SEAS ’17, asked that criteria for suggestion expectations be that all expectations will make ESC “more respectful, efficient, and inclusive” during debate proceedings. A majority of the expectations focused on ensuring that members “challenge the idea, not the person,” striking a balance between being critical while still working toward a solution. Vinery Mehta offered possibly the most direct expectation of the group —”just don’t be a dick”— which was formally altered to “be kind” in the minutes. Discussion closed with the expectation that ESC members not “settle just because it’s convenient”; members were reminded to think of their constituents and adhere to the mission and goal of ESC during debates.
Following the end of the discussion period, a representative from GSSC came forward to present a proposal to ESC regarding the GSSC food pantry. After giving a brief history of the food pantry and basic information on food insecurity on campus, the representative explained that undergraduates from every school (in addition to some graduate students) were using the food pantry to address their food insecurity. Because food insecurity now presents itself as a inter-school issue, GSSC is requesting that the other undergraduate student councils make a one-time, 3% contribution from their discretionary funds to the food bank, in order to get the food bank up and running. University Senator Izzet Kebudi, SEAS ’19, asked if the representative had any specific figures about how many SEAS students were using the food bank. According to the GSSC representative, 80% of users are still GS, but the remaining 20% come from across the rest of the undergraduate schools (with a few graduate students included). Prompted by a question from 2019 Class Vice President Zoha Qamar, the representative explained that the long-term plan of the food bank is to become self-sufficient sometime by Fall 2017 and that the 3% contribution would go to stocking the pantry until donations picked up. Additionally, some of the funding would go to marketing the food bank as well as maintaining a physical location once one is found. Before running out of time in the general body meeting, the GSSC representative expressed that should undergraduate student councils choose to contribute, they would come aboard as partners of the pantry and would have equal voting and decision-making power about who sits on the committee for running the food pantry.
Image via the Center for Student Advising