Thursday, Oct. 26, Student Senate met in Hoover 212, as they do every week. The meeting was called to order by senior Student Senate President Sean Fiedler who was followed by junior Executive Secretary Tara Young with the roll call and the approval of last week’s minutes. Senior Class Vice President Jeff Gamble proceeded after Young with student comments and announcements, where he discussed ways to make Into the Streets better this year than it was last year.
Following Gamble was Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Marianne Calenda with the Administrative Report on Student Life. Here, she talked about a presentation that she gave to the Board of Trustees over the weekend about a residential renewal plan.
Since 2009, the College has invested over six million dollars into renovations on existing residence halls, such as new bathrooms in Ober and Myer Halls. A study was done in 2009 by Director of Residence Life and Student Activities Allison Bridgeman that tested focus groups where the general consensus was that students wanted housing that developed with them, giving them more independence as they age.
About 24 percent of Elizabethtown College students are in traditional housing, which means that money is being spent on housing that students do not want to live in. Calenda and her colleagues are trying to come up with a way to merge Honors program students with students in various scholarly groups, look into a physician’s assistant program, investigate the data analytics program and create an occupational therapy doctorate program.
One of the most reasonable options is moving the Wenger Hall space (which includes offices, study rooms and a lounge devoted to the Honors program and other scholarly programs) to Myer Residence Hall, as well as the housing for these programs. Additionally, they would try to add an elevator and make the building more handicap accessible.
Calenda also spoke about a plan to demolish Royer Residence Hall in order to create a better residence hall to promote creativity and collaboration. Royer would be replaced with a community program where students would be living and working together, which would include experimental learning and living experiences.
The Student Directed Learning Communities (SDLCs) are very popular among students and many of them are in need of repairs, but the College is trying to develop cottage-style communities in newer structures on College Hill on Cedar Street, which would be built in increments so that they could take on more modest investments in the new buildings.
Over this coming summer, Residence Life is planning to renovate Myer’s rooms, and then they will renovate Myer’s lobby and finally, they will look at demolishing and replacing Royer, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.
When asked about how this would affect tuition, Calenda responded that the College is hoping that enrollment will rise with the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Wellness, which would affect student housing costs.
Calenda said that the faculty are excited about the upcoming changes saying that Associate Dean for Academic Achievement Dr. Kyle Kopko and Director of Student Transition Programs Jean-Paul Benowitz are “excited to move out of Wenger.”
Calenda also mentioned that there are plans for more off-campus eating options that are being discussed along with the ideas of the newer off-campus housing.
Following Dean Calenda was Campus Security Assistant Director Dale Boyer and Director Andrew Powell, who reminded Student Senate about the parking lot situations at the Young Center and the Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. They are both being repaved and will be closed at various times throughout the upcoming weeks.
Next, Center for Student Success Director Kristi Syrdahl brought up International Education Week, which is coming up soon and will bring many activities to campus. She is also leading a trip to Sicily which will cost students approximately $3500.
Fiedler then announced that the class of 2021 has a new president, Andrea Guscott and a new vice president, Matthew Smith.
Senior Vice President Ally Killen told the Senate about the Blue Jays Fly Home Program, an initiative where Etown students go home over holidays and tell their high schools about Etown. Admissions has had a presentation about the program and will most likely hold more in the near future. Senior Zach Dennin then spoke about ways to advertise the College’s efforts to advertise the Bowers Center to current and prospective students. Sustainability has pushed for the Bowers Center to be LEED certified.
The Christmas Tree Lighting was announced to be Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. The class of 2021 will host a unity event in the KAV Wednesday, Dec. 6, which will be an ugly sweater contest with cookies that is open to all students of the College.