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UCS plans events, activities for first-years, prepares for fall during summer semester

UCS partially active during final term of University’s three-term model

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 29, 2021

UCS hopes to host conversations between administrators and students at its monthly meetings this summer in lieu of its typical weekly general body meetings.

The Undergraduate Council of Students has remained operational during the University’s final semester of the three-term calendar, a change from prior years during which the council would typically take a summer hiatus.

The decision to make UCS semi-active was made in order to accommodate the schedules of students who are not enrolled in the summer semester, as well as those working jobs and internships, said UCS President Summer Dai ’22. 

After a shortened spring semester, during which many students reported feeling burnout, UCS also hopes that its more-relaxed summer operations will “give (members) some space to recharge,” Dai added. 

“This year in general has been very demanding,” said UCS Vice President Sam Caplan ’22. “We really want to use this summer to make sure we create as much space as possible for people to really decompress.” 

During typical semesters, UCS members are expected to attend weekly general body meetings and participate in committees that work on a variety of projects for the student body, ranging from planning events to communicating with administrators. 

This semester, UCS is no longer holding weekly meetings and is instead planning to hold monthly meetings, Dai said. Rather than serving as internal planning meetings, UCS is hoping to invite administrators to these monthly meetings to create more opportunities for dialogue between undergraduates and the administration, Dai added. 

The monthly meetings, which will be structured in a way similar to UCS town halls, will occur in July and August. The Council is currently hoping to bring in representatives from Brown Dining Services to the July meeting and administrators involved with the pre-registration process to the August meeting, Dai said. 

“Our goal is to get administrators who are making decisions about what the summer semester looks like and what the fall semester looks like in contact with people who are on campus so they can get feedback,” Caplan added. 

Outside executive board meetings and monthly meetings, committee chairs can choose to work on projects “at their discretion,” Dai said. 

Chair of Campus Life Mina Sarmas ’24 and Chair of Health and Wellness Emma Amselem Bensadon ’24, both first-year representatives, have chosen to work on projects in their respective committees this summer.

Sarmas has been in conversation with BDS to discuss expanding flex point usage in response to complaints she has heard about limited dining options among first-years.

In contrast to previous virtual semesters, working on UCS projects during the summer semester has allowed for more opportunities to host in-person events due to relaxed on-campus COVID-19 restrictions, Bensadon said. 

Bensadon has also been working to create an online app with student group Full Stack at Brown, which will allow students to socialize through virtual messaging, Bensadon said. 

“I know a lot of first-years have been having trouble socializing and putting themselves out there,” she said. “Hopefully (this app) will contribute to helping them out.” 

To support first-years this semester, UCS has also created a “database of all the active or semi-active student groups that freshmen can get involved with,” Dai said. 

In addition, the Council is working on a similar database that lists resources that Brown students who are unenrolled but staying in Providence can utilize, Dai continued. 

Apart from working on summer projects, UCS is also working on addressing some referenda that were passed in its spring election, in particular the referenda about amendments to the Council’s structure and transparency in its governance.

“We’re hoping to … refine UCS policies and procedures,” said Caplan. “We want to hit the ground running and we feel like the best way to do that is making sure that everything that we had issues with and all the issues that came up during elections about bylaws … (are) squared away.” 

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