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UCS Week sees low attendance

Eatery food sampling and Meals with Paxson were among five events UCS held last week

The Undergraduate Council of Students sponsored five events to bolster awareness of student government projects during UCS Week. UCS officials attributed low attendance at events featuring administrators to students being busy with midterms.

Multiple students said either they knew about UCS Week but were too busy to attend or were not aware the week was happening.

The events kicked off Tuesday with a food tasting in which students sampled “new and recently introduced” menu options from eateries around campus, said Afia Kwakwa ’14, chair of the Campus Life Committee. Co-sponsored by the Council’s Campus Life Committee, Dining Services and the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center, the event drew over 300 students to the Underground in Faunce House to try “naked burritos” from the Blue Room, Cajun apple cake from the Sharpe Refectory and other offerings.

Kwakwa said students who provided their email addresses were sent a survey about their food preferences that Dining Services will consider, adding that the food event was “a nice way to get student feedback.”

David Emmanuel ’13 said he enjoyed the event. “It made me jealous I’m not on meal plan,” he said. But he added that he noticed a lack of healthy options.

The week’s main events featured speeches from campus administrators about the current and future plans of the University. President Christina Paxson spoke about need-blind admissions, strategic planning and the University’s current financial situation at the fourth annual State of Brown address Wednesday. The event drew about 50 to 60 students.

State of Brown gave students an opportunity to become more “aware and engaged about what’s happening at the University,” said Elise Rivas ’16.

Russell Carey, executive vice president for planning and policy, discussed planning for the University’s 250th anniversary Thursday at an open forum sponsored by the Student Activities Committee and the Academic and Administrative Affairs Committee. Though the event was open to the student body, eight students attended, seven of whom were from UCS.

UCS Week concluded with two smaller events — a free yoga class at Brown RISD Hillel Thursday night and a student breakfast with Paxson Friday morning.

About 20 students attended the basic yoga class, sponsored by the Admissions and Student Services Committee, wrote class teacher Shira Atkins ’13 in an email to The Herald.

Melanie Fineman ’14 said the yoga class was a “great opportunity” because it was free. “I’ve wanted to go to a beginner’s class for a while, but it costs money,” she said.

The 20 students selected by raffle to attend Meals with Paxson asked the president about minors, the Divest Coal campaign, new buildings, pre-professionalism and balancing different departments, said Fineman, who also attended the breakfast.

“It’s great that Paxson wanted to be honest and open with students,” she said. “It seemed like she really wanted to be there.”

Though UCS Week engaged many students, some events suffered from poor attendance.

“Talks with administrators are helpful if you’re interested in going,” said Kyra Mungia ’13, chair of the UCS Communications Committee. “But you have to be interested in the first place,” she said. “The yoga and the food draw more people in because they can engage and do something fun.”

“When you get into mid-March, there are so many things pulling students in different ways,” said UCS President Anthony White ’13, citing exams and papers as examples.

Connie Emerson ’14 said she purposely did not read White’s campus-wide email about UCS Week, because she knew she would be too busy with midterms to attend any of the events.

“There’s just a lack of time,” said David Correa ’15, who did not attend any of the events.

Arjun Mehra Kukreja ’15 said he wished he had attended State of Brown because he cares about need-blind admission for international students, given his own background as a student from India.

“But I pulled two all-nighters this week, so I couldn’t really have gone,” he said.

Looking ahead, White said he has spoken with the Office of the President about moving UCS week to February next year to maximize attendance.


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