Student government held an assembly meeting in the first floor lounge of Jasper Hall this past Wednesday, Feb. 21, at noon. Assembly meetings are open to all members of the Manhattan College student body.
After the meeting was called to order by Student Body President Micaela Bishop, a list of club representatives was compiled. Each Manhattan College club is expected to attend at least one student government assembly meeting per semester. The executive board put this ruling in place at the start of the fall semester this school year.
Addressing the club representatives present, Bishop said, “If you have any events planned for the month of April, please try to add them to the Mission Month event calendar, especially if you feel like it follows the Lasallian heritage or can be related in some way. The calendar is being built right now and if you do have events planned, you can forward them to Brother Jack [Curran, F.S.C.] or Event Services and they’ll be able to advertise your event as part of the month.”
The meeting continued on.
Gourmet Dining Updates
Brian Weinstein, resident district manager of Gourmet Dining at the college, was in attendance at the meeting. He highlighted some upcoming events at Locke’s Loft.
“In March, the events we have planned before spring break include sushi in Locke’s [and] an early St. [Patrick’s] Day meal. Then, when we come back from spring break, we have National Pie Day and I believe another ravioli day,” said Weinstein.
He also brought up some information from the previous food service committee (FSC) meeting.
“One request we had was a lot more vegetables. We’re still working on some stuff but for right now, we had a quick fix. We’ve put a cold veggie station next to the grill. So what you’ll see there is roasted vegetables or some marinated in a balsamic dressing, olive oil or garlic,” said Weinstein.
Later on in the meeting, sophomores Isabel Quinones and Anna Rosario spoke about more topics of discussion from the previous meeting.
The FSC agenda included the idea of a guest meal swipe, which would be redeemable once per month. There was also the suggestion of breakfast being out later into the day, where it was pointed out that bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches are still available at the exposition station where the omelettes are served. There is also an iced coffee station in the works for the home kitchen area of the dining hall.
Finally, Quinones spoke about the connection between Locke’s and the ‘My Fitness Pal’ app.
“On ‘My Fitness Pal’, an app that can give you calorie counts, it’s linked up with Locke’s and you can find out about the hot entrees menu without having to walk to Locke’s and you can track your calorie intake and it gives nutritional information,” said Quinones.
Then Rosario spoke on behalf of a new fair trade rewards system.
“Brian [Weinstein], Gourmet Dining and fair trade are working together for a rewards card. You know at a milkshake place where you buy a certain amount of milkshakes and when you finish the card you get a coupon? It’ll be like that. Those will be handed out soon to everyone on campus. For every time you buy a fair trade item on campus you’ll get the card punched with a specific kind of punch or something,” said Rosario.
Fair trade items are available in Cafe 1853, the De La Salle store, the Kelly Commons Marketplace and the bookstore.
“We are trying to promote that we are a fair trade campus and it’s important that people know this,” said Rosario.
Social Life Committee
Moving onto the social life committee (SLC), Bishop spoke on behalf of the vice president of social life, Adam Genners. She brought up the new event Clash of the Classes, which was introduced at the last assembly meeting.
“We’ll be having a live sign up so that students can form teams. The biggest way for that to succeed is for students to actually sign up and we’re planning on sending that out on March 1 […] Attendance is the biggest factor for that event,” said Bishop.
There was also the suggestion of the name “Jasper Olympics.” The two names were put to a vote at the assembly and the voting body of the assembly decided on the name Jasper Olympics by a vote of 14-8.
Then the discussion moved to Springfest. John Bennett, director of student development, was in attendance at the meeting and spoke about volunteers for the event.
“I wouldn’t say we have a maximum, but I would say that if students do volunteer then they actually need to be prepared to be up early that day,” said Bennett.
If any students are interested, they should email Genners at email@example.com or the SLC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finals Week Stress-Relief Planning
Vice president of residential affairs, Patrick Estanbouli, spoke about student government’s plans for finals week events.
“We’re starting to plan finals week stress-relief now. The idea we’re going for is a coupon book. It’s something interactive and changes things up a bit. [We need] good ideas of any places around campus that could be added to the coupon book,” said Estanbouli.
These coupons would be redeemable at both on and off campus locations, preferably at locations that accept Jasper Dollars. The coupon book is still in the early stages of planning.
Bishop also chimed in about the finals week events.
“Any clubs that want to partner up and do an event during finals week, please let [Student Government] know. We’d love to help out and put it on our calendar and advertise it for you,” said Bishop.
She mentioned a possible partnership event involving drones with the student club IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers). She encouraged other clubs to feel free to think of fun stress-relieving activities that all students could enjoy.
EAC and Senate Meeting Review
Vice president of academic affairs, Kaitlyn von Runnen, spoke about two meetings held on campus recently.
“The EAC [Education Affairs Committee] meeting was about two weeks ago. Some of the things that were covered were the midterm grade policy, academic early warnings– there’s more of a push for students to be notified earlier when they’re in danger of failing a class. There was also the transfer credit policy. That’s currently being drafted by the assistant deans and that addresses the amount of credits you can transfer in and what they’ll count for and so on,” said von Runnen.
Bishop commented that students should be able to give input and requested to see the transfer credit policy before it was put in place, which von Runnen made a note of to pass along to the assistant deans.
Then, von Runnen spoke about the Columbus Day debate, as reported in The Quadrangle last semester.
“The campus life committee was able to meet and they decided the best terminology will be ‘fall break’ instead of ‘Columbus Day’ on the academic calendar. The second Monday of October is going to be recognized as fall break for students, faculty and administration. That has now been passed along to [College President Brennan O’Donnell] and he will be presenting it to the Board of Trustees,” said von Runnen.
Matthew Billings Presentation
Listed under miscellaneous topics on the assembly agenda was graduate assistant for residence life, Matthew Billings.
“This summer I’m doing a run from California to New York,” said Billings. The run is for cancer research.
“I served as a Lasallian volunteer before arriving at Manhattan College and one of the students I taught had to drop out high school [due to a cancer diagnosis] and won’t be able to attend college because of his treatments and money issues. So I’ll be sponsoring him for this run. I’ll be starting in California in June and then in August I’ll be back in Prospect Park. The whole idea is to fundraise enough money to provide scholarships for the person that we’re sponsoring. But since I’m a graduate student and not in a club or anything, it’s harder for me to fundraise and so I’m asking if any club or organization would partner with me,” said Billings.
Bishop suggested doing a raffle for students to meet Springfest arrist Jesse McCartney. Other students suggested a Go Fund Me page. Billings is also selling t-shirts on the website Bonfire, under the name “Coast to Coast” for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
Public Safety Concerns
The last topic discussed was concerns with Public Safety standards. Bishop explained an incident that had occured where a Manhattan College landline phone was used to call 911 and it was dispatched to Public Safety instead. This process is legal but was not publically known by the student population.
Students also added that after the recent shooting in Parkland, Fla., that they do not know what MC has in place for an active shooter. Other students suggested having an officer come to the next assembly meeting to speak to the students and answer questions. The day after the assembly meeting, an email was sent out to the student body announcing an NYPD active shooter presentation, similar to the one held last semester, taking place on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 12 p.m. in Kelly 5B.
“Everything is obviously circumstantial so just because one thing happened in one case and another thing happened in another case, it’s all circumstantial. If we plan on having a Public Safety representative present at an assembly meeting, we should definitely have broader, general questions in order to get the answers we need as students,” said Bishop, addressing the assembly.
When Bishop asked for any new business, sophomore Brittany O’Malley, spoke up about the blue light system. O’Malley was there representing her sorority, Sigma Delta Tau.
“There’s been a lot of concern with our sisters regarding safety [around the Overlook Manor stairs]. They’ll be looking for blue lights and they aren’t accessible in that area,” said O’Malley.
Bishop, in total agreement, said she would follow up with that information, especially with the growing south campus near that area. Many assembly members gave their two cents on the blue light system and what could be done to allow all people on campus to feel safe at any hour of the day.
As the discussion drew to a close, the minutes were accepted and the group dispersed, back out to the quad to enjoy the nice weather.
The next student government assembly meeting is planned for March 7 at noon. in Kelly Commons room 4B.