Improving student life in 2016. Initiatives the student Senate should strive for

The Hudsonian
Editorial Board

The path to graduating from a community college is a short journey, but the impact student leaders leave behind can prevail for years.

As the Student Senate is less than three months away from campaign season, it’s important for freshman senators to look into the future and organize fresh ideas. This semester, it should also be a high priority for senior Senate members to hone in on their contributions to student life for the upcoming class.

Increase transparency

The Student Senate should strive harder to promote accountability online. Having weekly meeting minutes and annual budget information posted online will make information more readily accessible for students.

Donate to textbook sharing

Having new textbook editions published every year is unnecessary. Fighting outrageous textbook prices put on students every year is necessary. Unfortunately, pricing is largely out of student government control because much of the system revolves around college academic policy and federal financial aid.

This year’s class gift should go to one of Hudson Valley’s greatest gems — textbook sharing at the instructional media center. Any student can borrow a textbook for an assignment in the Marvin Library without having to gut their wallet.

Use social media to spread awareness

The ‘Hudson Valley Student Senate’ Facebook page currently has 18 likes and hasn’t had a new post since February 2014. In contrast, SUNY Adirondack, home to nearly half as many students as Hudson Valley, has over 100 more likes and updated their page earlier this month.

On Twitter, the Senate is a little more active, but still hasn’t tweeted since October. It’s difficult to get the campus involved when the organization’s social media presence is negligible. Moving forward, incorporating a social media committee into the Senate could bring the organization to a new frontier.

Incorporate stronger student feedback

Anyone who pays the student activity fee should be able to have their voice heard by student government without having to be directly involved in the Student Senate. Continuing the all-club’s meeting and making a strong effort to get as many club leaders involved as possible should be a high priority.

Leading focus groups and public forums is a smart way to form stronger opinions about what students really want. In 2012, the University of Illinois at Springfield started the “99 problems and you fix one” campaign which targeted listening to student’s complaints submitted online. These complaints ranged from dining service to parking. Starting an initiative similar to UIS’s Student Government Association would bring more power to the voice of senate outsiders.

Change club information

Students that wish to be involved should have every resource available on campus to do so. Having a list of club meeting dates posted around campus and online would be beneficial. It would be simpler for students to navigate where they wish to go without having to call or email club advisors listed in the student handbook.

Choose heavily trafficked areas to host big budget events

Throwing events at places like Joe Bruno Stadium and the McDonough Sports Complex will trash any chance at drawing in student crowds. Although college students are ravenous, they can’t smell barbecue chicken halfway across campus. It’s important to keep events in heavily trafficked areas like the Campus Center, BTC and the library (in plain sight).

Promote the food pantry

Last year, promoting the food pantry was a hot topic among senate members. This year, it’s fallen through the cracks. Being one of the best services for students struggling to afford food, it’s important to put a stronger emphasis on marketing the food pantry in the future.

Reach further into the community

Community involvement initiatives like the Copson House not only have put media attention on the Student Senate, but also have served as a networking mechanism for all students involved in the project.

Reaching out to collaborate with other student governments across the Capital Region is also worth pursuing. Local student government partnerships could have a far greater community impact.

The Student Senate can also work to promote the interests of Hudson Valley’s student body statewide. Last academic year, Student Senate involvement in the SUNY Student Assembly was nonexistent. In order for this to be avoided, the Student Senate needs a regular pipeline of members to be involved with the SUNY Student Assembly among 64 campuses every year.

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