Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t indulge your sweet tooth. Barnard’s SGA discussed a number of hot button issues at this week’s meeting, including its recent survey that promised free donuts and cookies to participants. JJ’s came up as well. Bureau Chief Dassi Karp recounts the important happenings west of Broadway!
The Desserts After Dark Survey: This semesterly campus-wide questionnaire was sent to find out: just what do Barnard students really want? (The answer, of course, is the free donuts and cookies promised to survey-takers). Barnard’s SGA really did its due diligence with these surveys, and at last night’s meeting, VP for Campus Life Angela Beam brought out the pie charts and bar graphs to thoroughly fill us in on the results
780 students answered the survey. Answers may have been influenced by the sampling method (students who are committed to filling out the survey may have different opinions than the rest of campus), but Beam seemed pretty confident in the results. It’s not as though the answers were surprising, anyway. The question with the strongest responses regarded Barnard’s sign-in/sign-out policy which, as brought up in almost every meeting so far this year, is really annoying. More than 70% of respondents disagreed with the current policy. Beam reminded everyone that SGA has no input on swipe-ins to Columbia housing, but that they will work with public safety to make the existing policy at least a bit less frustrating, likely by getting rid of the requirement for Barnard students to accompany their guests to swipe out when they leave.
Another issue that garnered a lot of support concerned ID cards and the still existent Barnard/Columbia dining inequality: the double swipe. Students with Columbia dining plans at Columbia dining halls may use their meal swipes to pay for guests, or to swipe more than once within a single meal time, such as when they want to stock up on snacks at JJ’s. Barnard students can do no such thing. This is especially a problem for first-years and upperclassmen living in the Quad, who are required to buy meal plans with an obscene amount of swipes, yet are forced to use their precious few points to get meals for visiting friends and family. It’s unclear if anything can be done about this, but the quote on the Hewitt mural seems especially applicable here: “activism can be about the journey rather than the arrival.” Just take it all in, and enjoy the process of attempting to infuse some logic into the bureaucratic jumble of good-hearted yet just-missing-the-mark attempts that is Barnard Dining Services. Because I don’t think any real change is going to happen.
A different interesting survey question asked, pretty simply,to describe what the Being Barnard program was. Being Barnard is an education campaign about wellness, identities, relationship, intervention, and violence education, and it gets a lot of funding to run programs on campus. Of those who even attempted to answer (less than a third of the respondents, apparently), only 8% could come up with an answer that named at least one of the program’s areas of engagement. And, Beam pointed out, a good portion of the 8% seemed to have been copy and pasted from Google. By a show of hands, most of the SGA Rep Council didn’t really know what it was either. The consensus: Being Barnard needs to work on its PR.
Speaking of things Barnard students don’t know about, most respondents weren’t aware that SGA holds weekly meetings open to the student body. So, PSA: they do. Mondays at eight. Come keep me company in the gallery seats.
Other results involved keeping the quad gates open later (pro), what to do with the magnolia (make it into pencils? wall decorations? do we actually care about this?), subsidized metro cards for internships (we don’t have the money for that, but everybody seems to want it), and career development (overall meh).
It was a busy night; Design for America also presented at this week’s meeting. They received SGA’s green fund, meant to promote sustainability at Barnard, last year with a proposal to create an interactive art piece on Barnard’s campus using recycled materials. Their new proposal is to work in conjunction with a public park in East Harlem with a local artist there. Design for America fielded questions about how this promotes sustainability at Barnard. SGA will vote on it at their next meeting.
Photo courtesy of Recipe Hubs