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Untitled Document

Residential Council Minutes :: November 10, 2009


Present: Ben Lowell (Chair), Andrew Tran (Policy Chair), Rachel Kahn (Program House Chair), Jillian Robbins (Lottery Chair), Courtney Mannino (Secretary), Greg Anderson, Sam Barney, Jerry Cedrone, EJ Chung, Evan Holownia, Sara Slama, Sara Sunshine, James Williams

Guests: Margaret Klawunn, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services


Introduction to Margaret Klawunn:
Thanks to ResLife because things have been going very smoothly this fall.

What is the student perspective?
In general, there is positive attitude surrounding dorm construction.
There is very positive feedback about the Caswell basement renovation.
New Morris lounge has also been a success.

From the numbers, reports of vandalism and alcohol/drug abuse are down.
RPLs have really done a great job facilitating conversation about these topics with their residents.
From an off campus perspective, reports to Providence police and Brown police have also decreased.

What about the Faculty Advising program?
Have we gone from too much to too little?
            Events are filling up very quickly.
            Are Meiklejohns necessary in attendance at the Faculty advising events?
These events seem to exclude certain students; for example, a biology concentrator very well might also be interested in attending an event sponsored by a history professor.
Maybe reminder emails should be sent to students advertising the advising central website.
Currently, emails are sent to concentrators in that specific department, as well as individuals who have stated an intent to declare in that particular department; some events are also class year specific; others are sponsored by the Swearer Center or the TWC - but there is a website that lists all the calendar events.

*Maybe something to look toward in the future is a general student dashboard where everything a student needs is readily accessible (Banner, email, campus life calendar) - as opposed to having the Daily Jolt, Faculty Advising Website, University calendar, morning mail, MyCourses, Banner, etc.
A portal page might be easier so people trying to reach out to students can post all information in a single place.

More thoughts about involvement with faculty?
It's always good to try to increase faculty presence around Residential Life areas (especially during move-in) because some students might be intimidated to otherwise approach a professor.
Advising Central is on the second floor of J. Walter Wilson, which might not be that convenient for students - especially because signage is not that significant.

Organizational Review:
What centers of campus life are under review and how much is expected to be cut?
3 Committees are specifically focused on campus life: Athletics, Student Services and Auxiliary (Office of Residential Life, Dining Services)
Event Support, IT Group and Administrative and Financial Functioning group can also impact decision regarding campus life.
The university is supposed to be focusing on making recommendations without a target amount (campus life represents ~17% of the university) - therefore, sizeable reductions will, and have to be made.
The university wants to preserve student services and improve them for students. This calls for reprioritizing.
            We also have to think about renovation and new construction.
How can be keep our business running and how can we organize things so that they make more sense to students? How can we make the availability of resources more known to students?
J. Walter Wilson has been a success because lots of offices are located in one location.
A new idea is adding an Office of Students' Fellowship and Awards.
*Move toward centralization is a very good thing, especially because working with the university can become very bureaucratic.

Is there anything that the university should not take away?
*Individual tutoring program cannot take any more reductions.

Procedure:Recommendations are collected and than passed to the Organizational Review Committee, and finally passed to President Simmons.
Immediate areas of concern: general student support (advising, what one would speak to a student life dean about, academic and non-academic disciplinary systems), special population support (first generation, underrepresented minority students, disability support services), Orientation.

Is there a way we can think about peer advising and try to generalize it in some way?
For example, Bolt Leaders, Meiklejohns, RPLs and International Student Mentors are all on campus to support their peers.

What is the university attitude to maintaining/reducing student employment?
There are 2 student representatives on the student employment committee.
The university is thinking that student employment is connected to the financial aid office and maybe this should shift toward career development. Maybe this should move toward thinking about these opportunities as potentially long term?
If we could make student jobs on campus more meaningful and inclusive of professional development, this might boost morale about student employment (places where staff are being cut might open up opportunities for students).

Through ResLife, Auxiliary Housing, Dining Services and the Faculty Club, the university is in a good position to generate revenue.
Essentially, we do not want to compromise the student experience.

If we can centralize things and increase synergy, will this reduce costs in the long run? (And still allow for preservation of the student experience)?

All campus offices are involved in student lives; why are offices located on the first floor of student residencies? What if ResLife, auxiliary housing and student life were all centralized to one location?
            This would increase revenue but also save the university lots of money.

Buildings in need of renovation?
New Pembroke 4 Lounge, Bear’s Lair lounge (want to create a 24 hour study space and a space for student groups), paint Grad Center suites, paint all NP buildings and carpet, install a trash room in VGQ A.

What about new housing?
Seems that students are interested in 4-person apartments (with a kitchen, lounge and bathroom).
Why is new housing needed?
People are living in converted lounges and 1 room triple/quads, people are living in program and Greek housing that they don't necessarily want to live in.
*Maybe a new hall will be an incentive for more upperclassmen to live on campus longer.


End meeting.

Submitted by Courtney Mannino, Residential Council Secretary, Fall 2009.