Vassar Student Association Updates Dec. 5, 2021

  1. Updates and Announcements
    • Executive Board 
      • Equity and Inclusion 
        • The committee went to the Committee of Inclusion and Equity  (CIE) and discussed ideas of employee and faculty resource groups. These would not necessarily be affinity groups but more similar to student organizations and interest groups on campus. The committee is planning on sending a survey to faculty about equity and inclusion work, and how that should or should not affect tenure.
        • The Equity and Inclusion committee also went to the Native American Advisory Committee (NAAC) and discussed what they want to do about the walkway and gate for the Farm in addition to a potential name change for the Farm.
      •  Residential Affairs
        • The Dining committee met this past week with Associate Dean of the College for Campus Activities Dennis Macheska and Bon Appétit’s Resident District Manager Steve Scardina. During the meeting, they discussed making changes to the quality of food in addition to making other smaller changes, such as changes to temperature with coffee. They also discussed food allergen labeling. The committee is also planning on establishing a sustainability educator position on all House Teams. The committee recently sent out a Student Conduct Survey to the student body.
      •  Health and Wellness
        • First Aid kits are in the VSA office and are ready to be picked up by House Teams to distribute to their respective dorms.
      •  Organizations
        • The committee did not meet this past week. It is continuing to do its regular administrative work with onboarding pre-organizations and recertifying organizations. The committee reported that Vassar held about 220 events this semester. The College is on track to have about 500 events in total by the end of the academic year.
      •  Academics
        • The committee discussed fielding a survey to get student input about their experiences and frustrations with the pre-registration process. In addition to questions about the pre-registration process, the survey would also ask students questions about the curriculum requirements, intensives, etc.
      •  Finance
        • The committee went over VSA Funds Training protocol. The basic rules include: purchases must be tax-exempt, receipts must be kept and food spending should be limited to $15 per person. The committee went through the Waste Reduction Act (SR 18), which amends how the VSA budget would be spent.
      •  Programming and Traditions
        • The committee is sending a Founder’s Day poll that allows students to vote on a theme. They are also selecting Founder’s Day committee chairs this upcoming week. The committee reported that the NYC shuttle went well but was not close to full capacity despite many people requesting. The shuttle program will run again during the Spring 2022 semester.
      •  Operations
        • The Operations committee requested that all committees fill out reports on the work they have done and send them out to The Miscellany News to inform students about their accomplishments and inform students about what they are doing.
      •  VSA President
        • The VSA President did not have major updates. The VSA President sent an email to alums inviting them to discuss divestment work. The email received some responses expressing interest in discussing the topic.
    • Committee Chair Updates
      • First-Year Programs
        • The committee met with First Year Experience (FYE) three times for the Winter Carnival event and held the event this past Friday, Dec. 3. The committee reported there were over 80 people in attendance for the event.
      • Environmental Action
        • The Environmental Action committee met this week. They sent out information about sustainability peer educators in the residential houses. They are working on proper training and will meet with the peer educators once per month to make sure they are on track. The committee hosted a Sustainability Open Forum on Wednesday, Dec. 8, where they discussed various initiatives in regards to sustainability on campus, including the Climate Action Plan.
      • Communications
        • The committee did not have major updates.
      • Athletics 
        • The committee is working with the Athletics Department to get athletic events through @whatspv on Instagram. They just need to fill out a form. The committee is also working on coordinating potential half-time shows with performance groups on campus.
      • Student Labor
        • The committee started drafting informative posts and emails about worker’s rights and sick leave information.
      • Community Affairs 
        • The Community Affairs committee worked with EDU-380 about establishing relationships between the College and local community. The committee is also planning to reach out to the Director of Community Engaged Learning Lisa Kaul to put these ideas into action. The committee is currently working on establishing their Instagram account. A member of the Operations committee asked why Community Affairs wants an individual Instagram account as opposed to using the VSA Instagram. Community Affairs explained that they wanted to advertise local Poughkeepsie events to the Vassar community and compile them in one area instead of presenting these local events amongst Vassar ones.
    • Senator Updates
      • Class of 2025
        • The representatives sent out an email to the Class of ’25 two weeks before Thanksgiving. They presented a constituent concern about food waste; they proposed a solution about adding self-serve stations as opposed to being served too much food. In addition, they also proposed having to-go containers so that diners can eat the rest of their food at a later time. The VSA Vice-President referred the constituent concern to the Dining committee.
      • Class of 2024
        • No major updates.
      • Class of 2023
        • The senators are planning on hosting a Constituent’s Dinner that will allow students to get to know the new Class of ’23 senators that will be replacing the current ones. 
      • Class of 2022
        • No major updates.
  2. New Business
    • SR. 18 Waste Reduction Act
      • VSA discussed the Waste Reduction Act (SR 18), which seeks to immediately prohibit the use of Association funds or organizations profits to purchase environmentally harmful products, such as  plastic bags and styrofoam products.
      • VSA voted to pass the bill.
    •  SR. 19 A Recommendation to Remove Sanctioning Parameters for the Student Conduct Process
      • VSA discussed “A Recommendation to Remove Sanctioning Parameters for the Student Conduct Process” (SR 19) which recommends that the Committee on College Life terminates mandatory minimum sanctions.
      • VSA voted to pass the recommendation.
    •  SR.11 Recommendation for a VSA Vote on Board of Trustees
      • VSA discussed “Recommendation for a VSA Vote on Board of Trustees” (SR 11). The student body overwhelmingly voted that the VSA President should have a vote on the Board of Trustees.
      • VSA voted to pass the recommendation.
    •  SR.15 Amending the Membership Guidelines of the Finance Committee
      • VSA discussed “Amending the Membership Guidelines of the Finance Committee” (SR 15), which would allow the Finance committee to pick its own members rather than the Board of Elections and Appointments.
      • VSA voted to pass the bill.
    •  SR.16-1 The Revised Senate Structure Act
      • VSA discussed The Revised Senate Structure Act (SR 16-1), which would allow for more collaboration and codifying committees meeting jointly, as well as providing proper recognition for certain positions and streamline the legislative process. It also allows for the making of sub-committees. Members expressed concern that passing the 17-page bill before hosting a town hall would potentially cause backlash.
      • VSA voted to table the bill for later. 12 members voted “yes,” while 16 voted “no.” 
    •  SR.16-2 Fair Compensation and Responsive Accountability Act
      • VSA discussed the Fair Compensation and Responsive Accountability Act (SR 16-2), which compensates “the elected and appointed officials of the Vassar Student Association, and clarifies the responsibilities required of all elected and appointed officials to receive compensation.”
      • VSA voted to pass the act.
    •  SR.17 House Team Pay Subsidy Act
      • VSA discussed the House Team Pay Subsidy Act (SR 17), which will pay House Team an additional $250 for the Spring semester. House teams were surveyed; fair compensation would be $3000. The money could come from the VSA contingency fund, which covers unplanned costs of the VSA.
      • VSA voted to pass the act.
    •  SR 21 Ammendment to Expidite Legislation  
      • VSA discussed “Amendment to Expedite Legislation” (SR 21), which addresses a discrepancy in the bylaws on who can bring forward legislation. There is a wording mistake that conflicts with the constitution, so the bill works to fix it.
      • VSA voted to pass the amendment. 

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