Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia
DePaul’s Student Government Association held its general body meeting on Thursday, discussing a variety of topics including several SGA ad hoc committees, the president’s and vice president’s reports, Courtney James’ advising report and this week’s upcoming elections.
Sustainability Ad Hoc Committee
Wesley Janicki, SGA’s executive vice president of facility operations, discussed the Sustainability Ad Hoc Committee’s first report. According to the report, SGA’s Sustainability Committee is tasked with “addressing and investigating sustainability at DePaul.” Janicki, who also serves as the chair of the committee, said he and Arantxa Reyes, SGA’s PR coordinator, spoke with George Brigandi, the new director of the MS in Sustainability Management program, in September regarding obtaining student feedback on sustainability.
Following the meeting, they emailed Scott Tharp, the coordinator of the SGA-IRMA Data Group to develop a survey to get student feedback.
“It was found that this option would take longer than the timeline that the Committee or George wanted to pursue, so Scott suggested creating a Student Pulse Survey,” the report read.
Janicki then met with several individuals to discuss creating the survey.
“That was one of the most successful Student Pulse Surveys that’s ever done,” Janicki said. “There was 1,726 votes which was more than the next highest one which was actually the Metra one which got 1,400. [The Student Pulse Surveys on sustainability] had the highest turnout [with a] response rate of 94.6% of people said they care about sustainability as opposed to the 5.4% but that was really good.”
Janicki said this was the first Student Pulse Survey conducted on sustainability and he believes the other surveys will be conducted biweekly until all the questions on the report have been answered.
Janicki added that the surveys are on several different platforms and encouraged others to participate in the surveys.
Janicki then discussed the other contents in the report including integrating sustainability into DePaul’s mission, goals for implementing sustainability at the university and a contact list of those mentioned in the report.
Mental Health Ad Hoc Committee Update
Francesca La Rocca, SGA’s senator for transfer students, gave SGA members an update on the Mental Health Ad Hoc Committee.
La Rocca said last year, SGA had a Mental Health Ad Hoc Committee that attempted to get free mental health care for all students. Previously, students were required to pay $5 per session but in light of covid-19, the fee has been waived.
La Rocca added that the committee is looking into improving DePaul’s mental health facilities.
La Rocca also said she believed it was important to start up this committee again this year. Initially Marcus Robertson, SGA’s executive vice president of student affairs, was going to chair the committee, but La Rocca will serve as chair “at least for the time being.”
“I think its really important right now,” La Rocca said. “Covid-19 is a really stressful time for a lot of people no matter what is happening.”
Undocumented Student Support Ad Hoc Committee
SGA President Alyssa Isberto discussed the Resolution Concerning Undocumented Student Support Ad Hoc Committee which proposes creating an ad hoc committee to support undocumented students at DePaul.
Isberto said there is currently a task force in place at the university to help these students. The task force includes “the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, the Office of Multicultural Student Success, the Office of General Council and the Student Government Association.”
“We just wanted to make an ad hoc committee so that we can get more student input and make it one of our priorities here in student government,” Isberto said.
Isberto added that one of the committee’s main goals is to make DePaul a sanctuary campus.
Robbie Merkel, SGA’s executive vice president of diversity and equity, explained the function of the committee.
“This committee is connected to the task force and kind of a third party, and it does allow for undocumented students and just students that are involved in this work to have an input on the task force when Alyssa and I bring back information to the task force,” Merkel said.
Merkel also explained the committee’s purpose.
“The purpose of it is also to define what we mean by sanctuary campus and to do more research, get a better understanding of what it is that we need specifically for our undocumented folks and immigrant community,” Merkel said.
Merkel added that they want to make the committee “as inclusive as possible” by getting “multicultural organizations” involved.
Isberto thanked the SGA members that participated in the Day of Action for undocumented students.
Isberto then discussed SGA’s meeting with Rev. Guillermo Campuzano, C.M. and others from the Division of Mission and Ministry this week. They will discuss DePaul’s mission statement which is reviewed every five years by the Board of Trustees.
Vice President’s Report
Watfae Zayed, SGA’s vice president, discussed the G.B. retreat on Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for members of SGA.
Zayed added that members of SGA must submit constitutional revisions, which were due Friday at 1 p.m., in order to allow SGA’s Constitutional Revisions Board to look over the revisions and present them during SGA’s general body meeting in the coming weeks.
Afterwards, Zayed presented revisions to CRB’s bylaws to allow for the board to have “no less than three members and no more than five members, excluding the Chair and Chief Justice of the Judicial Board.” Previously, the bylaws only excluded the chair.
Courtney James’ Advising Report
SGA Advisor Courtney James thanked those that helped start up SGA’s new website on DeHUB.
In addition, James said she would be emailing some members of SGA, “starting specifically with senators from academic colleges,” regarding a virtual version of DePaul’s tree lighting ceremony.
James also asked SGA’s members to get feedback from students regarding how members of the university can support students through the 2020 presidential election cycle.
SGA’s Elections Coordinator Jane Pallos discussed SGA’s elections this week. Pallos said SGA’s website was updated to include all the candidates that will be on the ballot.
Voting begins Monday at 9 a.m. and ends Thursday at 12 p.m. Pallos added that SGA will hold a “Meet the Candidates” event on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom which is open to the entire DePaul community.