Institutions around the country have access to their libraries 24 hours a day-7 days a week. As Student Body President, I would like to make it so that at the very least the library is open 24 hours a day on weekdays. Right now, during the parts of the year that the library isn’t open 24 hours a day, the only space available to students is the Education Center Lobby. This is a great space in my opinion and I was incredibly pleased when Executive Vice President for Student Affairs Victor Wilson agreed to allow this space to be open 24 hours and to replace the old furniture with furniture that would be better to study in, but at the end of the day, the resources of our library trump it. I know from experience that there are sometimes nights where a paper takes far longer than we expect to write or we need a space to study in. The library for many allows a distraction free space with printers, large tables, study rooms, and of course books. I want to make sure that the student body has a safe space to study at the College without the distractions of being at home.
This is more than just about workout space, but my focus to some extent is on that. This is all about the College’s upcoming Facilities Master Plan. Facilities Master Plan? Sounds more like something about world domination than anything else. Major institutions around the country create Facilities Master Plans to talk about what kind of needs the group has when it comes to space. With the College’s most recent Strategic Plan, the College has decided to reassess the space at the College and create a new Facilities Master Plan. When I look at the College and from talking to students, faculty, and staff members, I have heard many things, but the one that I hope to spearhead is the inclusion of a state of the art fitness and wellness center. Basically, I wwant to work with the administration to include a new workout facility in the upcoming Master Plan. More importantly, I want to make sure that student’s voices are heard throughout the Master Planning process which I’ve already started doing. With Master Plans as large as the one of the College, it is necessary to hire a firm that specializes in Master Planning. I have already looked over samples of parts of the plans created for other universities around the country and have already confirmed with Monica Scott, the College’s Vice President of Facilities Planning that various student groups will be included and obviously an essential part of the process as a whole. This is about the space that students will be learning in for their four years of College, and we want it to meet the needs of students. This guys far beyond a fitness and wellness center and includes classroom space.
Many Universities around the country allow students the flexibility to create their own major or to be part of an Individualized Studies Program. I would like to work with the Provost and Faculty Senate to develop and implement a program like this. I want to allow students flexibility in their studies so that they can get the best education possible. Create Your Own Major programs allow students to work with an advisor at other Universities to develop a challenging curriculum. This allows for greater exploration for students and faculty.
I wanted to give some examples of schools that have create your own major programs, so here are just a few:
University of Maryland
George Mason University
University of Washington
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Ohio State University
and many more
One of my friends looked at my platform recently and had a question that I feel like a lot of you might have, what exactly is academic redemption? Academic Redemption is something that many Universities around the countries have that allows students to make up for a bad grade. It is basically a second chance. At most schools that have an academic redemption policy, you can only use the policy once. Academic redemption allows you to retake a class that you got a bad grade in (a D or below) and instead of having to deal with the original grade ruining your GPA, your original grade and the grade from taking the class a second time are averaged together and the average is what would count towards your GPA.
I wanted to make sure that you as the voting student body had the opportunity to ask me anything you wanted to ask me about my candidacy or about me. I’d be happy to answer it as a blog entry on here. I want to be as transparent as possible, so comment on here a question, shoot me an email, or facebook me.
Students, Faculty, Staff, members of the Board of Trustees, I’d like to begin by thanking you for attending our state of the student body. My part of this event is to deliver a state of the student senate. The Student senate is the legislative body of the Student Government Association. During the past year, I have seen a motivated student senate that has intensely considered and debated more than 80 pieces of legislation, nearly double the amount of legislation typically tackled during a semester. Legislation has involved sensitive subjects from the on-campus smoking policy, to instate-tuition levels, to relations between students and the City of Charleston Police Department, to upcoming legislation involving reform of the Student Government Association.
After years of patiently waiting, the Student Government Association is incredibly excited for the implementation of a new student email system. Before I came to the College, this was a major project taken on by students before me. Students have asked for a better, more reliable email system since before most of the students here today were even at the College. The implementation of the Google email system ensures a more reliable and cost effective email system. Soon, with help from our friends in Information Technology, the entire student body will be using the new email system as the current webmail system is phased out.
Also on the radar is the College’s Strategic Plan. While still in its early stages, the Strategic Plan very importantly alludes to a student-focused community at the College. This is a hallmark of the College that I hope continues. With the Strategic Plan we will also see the development of a new Facilities Master Plan. The new Master Plan will analyze the current campus and determine what the future College of Charleston campus will look like. It is absolutely imperative that the new Master Plan makes the co-curricular needs of the student body a priority. Classroom space is always important, but moving forward, the College must expand its housing options to ensure that students are able to live on campus and that there is adequate fitness space for all students. Fitness space is a major concern to students. I would challenge those serving on the Campus Space committee to include plans for a new fitness and wellness center of some kind in the forthcoming master plan as it will benefit the student body for years to come and is a sorely needed addition for the students.
Earlier in the year, the Student Government Association passed a resolution intended to encourage a higher level of school spirit on the road to create a culture of philanthropy. I feel as though there is much must still to reinforce and grow the campus community’s sense of Cougar Pride, but every little step counts. Those of you who know me know that I am one of the worst people to sit next to at a game. I am as loud and crazy as they come when it comes to our basketball games. I embarrassed our Public Relations Chair Haley Thomas at her first ever basketball game about a week ago. I’m looking forward to a big run this year and have my fingers crossed that we end up in the tournament this year (Cross fingers).
I feel like people are always asking me who I’m routing for in other games. Earlier in the year, someone asked me who I was routing for in the USC-Clemson football game and I told them simply that I wanted the College to win. They looked very confused, but I guess my answer didn’t make much sense to them. What I am trying to say is something fairly simple: support our athletic teams. That doesn’t mean only support our men’s basketball team. We must support all of our Cougar Student-Athletes, whether they are playing soccer, basketball, baseball, sailing, ultimate Frisbee, Rugby, Squash, lacrosse, or even our Quidditch Team.
Looking forward I see a College of Charleston that I am proud of. I am proud of our administration, students, faculty, and staff for making the College the way it is today. We must continue to move forward to create a College of Charleston that will be great for those that will come after us. We must not sit idly by. We must create a College of Charleston that will suite the educational needs of our students both inside and outside the classroom whether they are from South Carolina, California, or abroad. We as students at the College have the duty to continue our conversations with our administration, faculty, and staff to make sure that our College is the best it can possibly be.
I have this very strange feeling inside of me. It is almost a lack of feeling. I wonder what could possibly cause a human to feel (or not feel) this way.
I guess a big part of it is the ongoing process of questioning who I am. We all question things, especially 20-somethings bouncing around in college. What is all of this life really all about? Are we meant to go somewhere specific or just float along into the endless nothingness that can be our lives. I wonder about things like my geography. Am I really supposed to be sitting in an apartment in Charleston, South Carolina or was I meant to be somewhere entirely different. Was I meant to be in Burlington, Vermont, freezing my feet off? Was I meant to be in Oxford, Ohio and Miami University? Or maybe University of Massachusetts? The truth is I would like to say no. I think destiny brought me where I am today, but I wonder where it is taking me next.
I feel as though my life has gone ways I hardly ever expected. I have watched the seasons change, the leaves, fall. I have seen people come into our world and others leave it, but I still don’t completely understand. What real are our lives? Is the purpose love, joy, possessions, success, progressive, spirituality? What is it all really about and who can really tell us? Or maybe it is up to us.
During various parts of my life, I have thought that life was about different things. There have been times in my life where I have thought the purpose (or eventual purpose for me) would be almost entirely to provide for a family. How I felt? Who cares, my life was to make sure my family had exactly what they needed. As much as this seems ideal, I feel a bit greedy in not wanting this. This to me used to seem like the ideal life of success.
Today I can imagine myself in a completely different way. I have learned more about myself and understand that success for me will not be measured in dollars and cents the way I always used to worry it would. It will be measured in smiles, happiness, joy, hugs, kisses, handshakes, funny faces, birthdays, anniversaries (I can only hope), and so much more.
I used to think of myself in the future in a suit, talking away on a cell phone at 300 miles per hour trying to think about the next client, but I want my life to be more than that. I want my life to be about my family, my profession, and my happiness. I want to see the leaders of the future succeed at universities the way I feel like I have.
I guess the nothingness I feel is caused because I am being tugged in two different directions. The rest of my life is right around the corner while College is still right in front of me. I don’t necessarily want to leave, but that time is going to come and I will have little choice, but to move along and start the rest of my life.
Eventually, I’ll have a family and I hope my kids are smart enough to understand that in the end, the mighty dollar controls a lot, but there is a lot more to life than the pursuit of the dollar. I hope this whole thing didn’t sound too cynical, but that is just how I feel.