SGA discusses sustainability, Campus Connect software at last general body meeting of the quarter


Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia

DePaul University Lincoln Park campus.

Three DePaul employees with knowledge of DePaul’s student information system joined the Student Government Association during its last general body meeting of the quarter on Thursday to discuss replacing the software utilized for Campus Connect.

Michael Wright, the assistant vice president at the Office of the Registrar, explained that the program, called PeopleSoft, is “really dated” and that no new code will be available for the program by 2030. As a result, the university is searching for a software program to replace it.

Wright explained the benefits associated with replacing PeopleSoft with a more modern student information system.

 “Modern systems that are coming out are much more flexible [and] much more configural,” Wright said. “We want to move to the next generation of software that will provide that flexibility and be a great tool for students.”

 Soumitra Ghosh, the vice president for enrollment management at DePaul, said the process for replacing PeopleSoft will be a “complex, multiyear project.” He added that the involved officials want to ensure students are “present in the conversation.”

 Caryn Chaden, DePaul’s associate provost for student success and accreditation, also emphasized the importance of having student voices involved in the replacement process, citing how often students utilize Campus Connect.

 “Having your insight about what that experience is like on these functions that you use everyday is really important to us,” Chaden said.

 Zoe Soteres, SGA’s senator for the Theatre School, asked if it would be possible to offer paid internship opportunities to students to help come up with “really innovative ideas” for implementing a new student information system to which Ghosh responded he could see it as a possibility.

Afterwards, SGA spoke about other items on its agenda.


 Sustainability Ad Hoc Committee

Wesley Janicki, the chair of the Sustainability Ad Hoc Committee and the executive vice president of operations, presented the committee’s second report. He gave an update on the recent Student Pulse Surveys and discussed their success.

 “These surveys have so far, seen unprecedented success, with 1726 responses to the first and 1738 to the second, beating the record by several hundred, and then beating it again with the second installment,” according to the report. “The first survey also saw a record yes-to-no ratio, with 94.6 percent responding yes. In the second installment, less than 20 percent of respondents knew about DePaul’s sustainability efforts.”

 According to the report, the committee conducted two surveys which were posted on several social media platforms: Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

 The committee will conduct two additional surveys between Nov. 4 and Nov. 18.

 Janicki added that he appointed Teagan Andrews, DePaul NetImpact’s vice president, as co-chair of the committee, who will help manage some of the committee’s duties along with the chair.

 “Teagan has been a successful entrepreneur in sustainability for several years, and brings excellent experience to the committee, as well as a plethora of skills,” read the report. “We believe she will prove to be a great asset to the team.”

Other items in the report include ways to integrate sustainability into DePaul’s mission, updating the university’s Institutional Sustainability Plan and a statement dedicated to acknowledging Indigenous People’s Day, celebrating “the knowledge and practices of Indigenous people that have guided our sustainable practices today.”


Undocumented Students Support Committee Report

Robbie Merkel, SGA’s executive vice president of diversity and equity, presented the Undocumented Students Support Committee’s first report.

The report discussed the Undocumented Student Support Working Group Committee’s meeting, SGA’s Day of Action event with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS), the committee members’ meeting with FWD and the committee’s first meeting on Nov. 3.


 Disabled Student Support Ad Hoc Committee

SGA passed a resolution to create the Disabled Student Support Ad Hoc Committee, which will address and look for ways to better support disabled students at DePaul. SGA Vice President Watfae Zayed will chair the committee, according to the resolution.


 Senate Presentations

SGA’s executive vice presidents (EVPs) of academic affairs, student affairs, diversity and equity, and operations (Keith Norward, Marcus Robertson, Merkel and Janicki, respectively) presented on several initiatives that the SGA senators in their committees have been working on.


President’s Report

SGA President Alyssa Isberto said SGA will no longer record its general body meetings, but that she will record a short video of her weekly president’s report to discuss what SGA is working on.

 Starting next quarter, Isberto will hold office hours 30 to 45 minutes prior to the start of SGA’s general body meetings.

 Isberto also discussed the resolution passed by SGA during last week’s meeting urging DePaul’s Faculty Council to implement the same grading relief policies used at the end of last spring quarter to better accommodate students and the burdens placed on them by the Covid-19 pandemic, the presidential election and the subsequent social unrest across the country.

 According to a statement released by SGA, the Faculty Council responded to SGA’s request saying it was “too late” to consider the request at their meeting prior to the end of the quarter and that there was resistance among faculty “to continue this policy under any circumstances, let alone as a result of the election outcome.”

 SGA added that it “advocated” for this initiative earlier in the quarter, but that the Faculty Council said their request was “premature.”

 Isberto said the council would not be able to consider the resolution until their meeting in December.

 As a result, Isberto, along with other members of SGA, discussed ways to continue to advocate for grading accommodations this quarter, settling on an email action where members of SGA and the student body at large can email the DePaul administration, Faculty Council and college deans to urge them to implement the grading relief policies this quarter.


 Vice President’s Report

Zayed discussed SGA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Town Hall that occurred Wednesday and SGA’s meeting with President A. Gabriel Esteban.