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Around the Table: 8/29/11

A pot of coffee sat alongside Student Body President Greg Larson as he called the first Student Senate meeting of the academic year to order last Thursday night – perhaps an indicator of the lengthy agenda that was to follow.

“Change is going to be the word of use for this year,” Larson said in the beginning of his report.

One of those changes will be the introduction of strategic meetings. These will be agenda-free, discussion based meetings held once a month to address student issues. The first one will be Thursday, Sept. 1.

Instead of completing traditional office hours to hear student concerns, senators will be pairing up and spending an hour each week visiting with students at on-campus locations. The idea for strategic meetings came from a leadership summit that the senators completed for the first time prior to the start of classes.

“To start the year off doing something we’ve never done, I think, is pretty neat and hopefully indicative of things to come later on,” Larson said.

Larson also updated the senators on the status of WeCar, a campus car-sharing program. WeCar will no longer be coming to Drake this year due to a hail storm which damaged much of Enterprise’s rental fleet.

Larson and Sen. Seejo Valacheril have also been active advocating for high-speed rail development that will travel between Chicago and Omaha.

“Faculty Senate did pass the creation of a J-term, kind of loosely,” Sen. Kayleigh Koester announced in her report.

However, decisions have yet to be made regarding financial aid, faculty compensation and residence life issues.

Technology Liaison Sen. Stephen Slade also introduced that the Drake Office of Information Technology has created a Twitter account (@DrakeOIT) to field concerns and keep students informed of technology issues.

“We can’t fix problems unless we know about problems,” Slade said.

Both motions on the agenda passed.  Sens. Valacheril, Nate Bleadorn, Tanaya Thomas, Erin Hogan and Amanda Laurent were appointed to the Senate Judicial Committee, with Laurent serving as chair.

Valacheril was appointed by unanimous ballot to serve as the President Pro-Temp, in any circumstance in which Larson or Vice President of Student Life Matt Van Hoeck would be unable to complete his term.

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