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UCS discusses fall poll, committee projects

Committee chairs give project updates, Council discusses constitution

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Students prioritized increasing the amount of on-campus student jobs available and addressing the high cost of school materials in the poll.

The Undergraduate Council of Students discussed its 2019 Fall Poll results, committee project updates and modifications to its constitution at its general body meeting Wednesday evening.

UCS member Ricky Zhong ’23, who led the Council’s poll in the fall, presented significant results to the general body and compared it to polls conducted in previous years.

Zhong specifically noted this year’s high student turnout. 2,670 students — 37.9 percent of the undergraduate student body — responded to questions on the 2019 Fall Poll, compared to 1,929 in 2018 and 898 in 2017, The Herald previously reported.

Zhong highlighted certain poll results that reflected student priorities and concerns.

As in previous fall polls, students prioritized increasing the amount of on-campus student jobs available and addressing the high cost of school materials, Zhong said. In addition, students’ desire to see composting return to Andrews Dining Hall remained a consistent theme across the last three years of the poll.

The results also indicated that 92.4 percent of respondents supported the creation of the Disability Justice Cultural Center, and roughly three quarters of respondents said that they would utilize free airport shuttles if provided by the University, both issues in which UCS is involved this semester.

In addition, 59.1 percent of respondents expressed that they were uncomfortable with drinking the tap water in University residence halls, and half of the students surveyed without swipe access to the Keeney Quad’s Bigelow Facility stated that they would use the gym if given access.

Various committee leaders also presented updates at the meeting.

Chair of Student Wellness Shivani Nishar ’20 detailed projects the Student Wellness Committee has been working on this spring. The committee engaged with the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life to increase student awareness of prayer rooms and meditation spaces on campus through better advertising. Expanding on-campus food pantries to include healthier options and improving online information about student support services were also identified as priorities.

The Campus Life Committee has been involved in the search for a new director of the Brown Center for Students of Color, Chair of Campus Life Zanagee Artis ’22 said. He also highlighted the committee’s efforts to increase composting on campus and proposed greater UCS involvement in shaping the new extended orientation schedule set to debut in the fall.

Chair of Academic Affairs Livingstone Harriot ’20 described his committee’s hopes to expand University funding for unpaid and low-paying summer student internships.

The Council also discussed amendments to the wording of the UCS constitution in order to address and correct outdated components, such as the stated timing of elections. The majority of the general body supported moving logistical specifics to the Council’s bylaws instead of implementing a full constitutional amendment.

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