The Hughes Trigg Student Center should be an example of an ample and complete college experience: students need innovative technology, performance areas, lounge spaces, meeting rooms, dining zones, kitchenettes, and gaming spaces. The New HT will offer the opportunity for our students – who represent various countries, cultures, nationalities, and values – to unite our entire community together in one shared space, as Mustangs. In order to accomplish our goal of a New Student Center, the Senate must continuously remain active and engaged at all time with University Administration. While continuously reminding administration of the necessity of a new Student Center, the Senate will continue discovering new avenues of funding to more promptly bring the Student Center to life, as the Chamber has done over the past year. I want to work with all student organizations to make sure they have adequate spaces in the center and everyone’s voice is heard in our new space. This includes town halls and online forms of submission so that any student may submit a question, comment, concern, or suggestion. The committee in charge of the renovations, which I sit on, has a wide representation of students on our campus; however, I would like to see more students from other areas of campus in on the discussions. I will work with the Student Center Governing Committee’s Chair to not only merge the renovations committee with the SCGC, but also open up these meetings to any student so that anyone who wants to be involved can be. I am fully prepared and understand the tasks at hand in moving forward with the Student Center because of my time with this committee.
We are not seeking to remove anything from the center, but rather open it up and add to it, so that it is once again a place student’s seek to spend time in. I will insure, seeing that Hughes Trigg is for all students, the building is completely brought up to ADA standards, and all renovated areas are accessible and accommodating to disabled students. As a hub for communication and connection across campus, social, and spiritual boundaries, we seek to make it the central heart of SMU. So that all students from all cultures and backgrounds can come together and celebrate what we have in common. We are all Mustangs, and I want the Student Center to exemplify that.
Before any of these renovations occur though, I want to make sure that power over the Student Center is given back to the students. This Center is for students by students, administration should be making absolutely no decisions about what comes in and out of Hughes Trigg without first contacting student representation. I would like to see the Student Center Governing Committee back in the meetings about our Student Center making the decisions that administration have been for too long. Administration has slowly been taking power away from the students, specially in terms of Hughes Trigg. Unfortunately, we do not see this. In four years we are gone, and often what we have seen and experienced is not passed on. After merging the renovations committee with the Student Center Governing Committee, I will work tirelessly with the chair to make the Committee’s voice the only voice of our Student Center.
Microaggression is perhaps more relevant on college campuses in 2017 then in any post civil rights era. Everyday speech (although mostly unintentional) induces focus on our current imperfect, racial society. Nevertheless, there is a fine line on what is considered politically correct and what breaches the first amendment. I will insure that every student and organizations’ first amendment rights are upheld. Understanding the line between hate speech and free speech is difficult. I will, however, work with members of our community to make sure the line is never crossed. I will continue supporting any and all events that give students the chance to learn and grow in thought, no matter what that event may be or what political ideology it falls under. I will actively participate in programs throughout the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and hold monthly meetings with President Turner and administration with Black @ SMU to encourage student, staff, and faculty education on racial/sexist slurs. I will assist with creating a diversity and inclusivity curriculum as well as work with specific colleges. For example, Dedman, to expand programs, like the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, or LGBTQ Pilgrimage, to a wider variety of students. I am in a unique position to serve the student body as an Orientation Leader, and can help to shape our programming to incoming students to be more aware and conscious of their actions. Beginning diversity training as an incoming freshman is the first step in fulfilling the dream of a unified campus, but the next step is continuing that diversity education at least once a year for all students. I would also like to work with Student Foundations in making Homecoming a more inclusive experience for all students. Working with administration to increase faculty of color as well as making sure SMU’s percentage of incoming freshman and transfer students of color remains high and competitive is a top priority. I will also pursue ways to keep communities on campus accountable for breaking our Student Code of Conduct, especially in instances of Diversity, continuing the work of the previous year’s Senate.
“…sincere regard and respect for all SMU students, faculty, and staff.” This is the last piece of our Values Statement. If elected, as the Chamber and I have in the past, I will live out the entirety of our Values Statement, with special attention to this line. Every student and organization is valued equally on this campus. Every member of the Senate recites the statement before we begin Chamber on Tuesdays. I will seek to further instill our Values Statement in the hearts of all students, particularly through Orientation and the Collaborative Values Week.
Did you know that other schools have fantastic relationships with Aramark? That is something we can have, continuing and expanding a monthly meeting with representatives of Aramark and opening them up so that more students can attend is crucial. We must work with Aramark to make sure the highest standard of food is available to our students, at the times our students want them. We will also work with Aramark to update and possible add dining options on campus that are not included on the dining plan (like Subway, Campisis, etc).
As a Pre-Major senator, I began my Senate career working on the Finance Committee. During those months, I also sat on the Finance Task Force. During this time I researched how student fees were allocated, and where students could get funding other than senate. I learned during this time that while more and more students are getting involved, student organizations are multiplying and growing, and more events are being thrown, Finance Committee is not receiving any more funding. The money we need is growing exponentially, and the money we receive is remaining stagnant. Therefore, during my time as President, I will work directly with the Finance Committee to petition administration to allocate more money to the Student Senate so that we can give you, the students and organizations, the resources you need to make campus the enjoyable and learning environment it is.
Members of the Senate have been working towards making our campus more eco-friendly for some time now. As president, I will continue to support the conversion of SMU to a greener campus and will work will members of the chamber in their endeavors. These first steps are more recycling bins on campus, and making sure that the recycling that is being collected is not just thrown in with the other trash.
Continuing to demand higher standards of safety for our students is an important part of Senate. There can never be enough lighting on campus, and still when walking from the library to my car at night I see dark spots, or times where it has been dark for an hour and the lights have yet to come on. Bike theft has always been a problem, and over the past year SMU PD has done an outstanding job in identifying and catching the local bike thieves. That being said, I would like for the Senate to continue identifying new and innovative ways to provide more biking areas and parking locations for students. I would like to see more disaster drills take place and in more areas of campus, and for the pertinent information of such drills to be made available to student and faculty so that we all may be prepared. More and continuous education on sexual assault goes hand in hand with the same such education on diversity, and I look forward to working with and supporting Not On My Campus in their mission to eradicate sexual assault on our campus. I will also continue working with the Health Center to insure that the best care is brought to the students that need it quickly.
Over the past year, relations and collaborations with the Faculty Senate have grown very strong. Through connections with administration like this one, Senate has done many great things in the past, such as extending the drop date and our resolutions on campus safety (which I helped author). As President I will continue to foster these necessary relations with our Faculty Senate so that we may press forward with solutions to SMU community issues that are harder to get past the Administration.