Senate Working Groups Continue Improvements

Machmud Makhmudov

Student Senate has seen a busy semester thus far, electing 15 senators and pursuing a variety of diverse projects. With only two of these 15 new senators having previously served on Senate, the group collectively provides a fresh perspective on improving the student experience at Oberlin. We are dedicated to maintaining a higher level of visibility on campus this semester and into the future, particularly through our working groups.

The majority of Student Senate’s work occurs through General Faculty committees and working groups. Students, faculty and community members are all eligible to join our working groups. If you’d like to join a working group, please see the Student Senate website for a listing of meeting times and committee chairs.

The Student Health working group, chaired by Senator and College senior Sara Ebb, is working on continuing many of the reforms that began last year under former Senator and College junior Ziya Smallens. Current projects include making Plan B birth control pills more easily accessible to students. In order to improve campus awareness and communication about the various resources Student Health Services offers, the working group is also constructing a new website where information and opportunities for feedback will be more readily available.

More information will be available soon. The Student Emergency Medical Technician working group, also chaired by Senator Ebb, is being sponsored by the ExCo Department. The group is focusing on providing EMT training with the hope that a student group can be formed to provide health services in addition to those regularly offered by Student Health. It is currently working on resolving liability issues and looks forward to offering courses soon.

The Residential Education working group, chaired by Senator and College junior Nick Olson, is working to improve both housing and dining policy. It is actively seeking additional membership from both RAs and CDS employees. One primary point of concern is the rising cost of College housing and dining. The working group will be consulting with members of ResEd to get a full sense of what is driving cost increases and what solutions in this area may be.

The Sustainable Transportation Working Group, chaired by Senator and College junior Nolan Scharper, is working on putting together a transportation guide that maps out the biking and walking paths and parking for both students and community members. The guide will also feature an overview of public transportation options, such as the Oberlin Local Shuttle. The working group is also coordinating two bike safety events to address riding without reflective lights and how to safely ride in town. The group hopes both events will engage local businesses and will be a lot of fun! More information will be available shortly.

Other working groups of note include those for Student Engagement, Sexualized Violence, Financial Accessibility and Varsity Athletics. If you are interested in any of these, please contact the working group chairs; their information can be found on Senate’s website.

Outside of working groups, Senate is working hard to gather information on how students spend fall and spring break. It has come to our attention that many students stay on campus during these breaks due to the high cost of traveling home. If you have any experience with this issue, please contact us at [email protected]. We are considering a variety of options to ensure that every student has a happy and successful fall and spring break.

As always, students are encouraged to attend Student Senate plenary sessions every Sunday at 7 p.m. in Wilder 215. Though all senators work very hard to be accessible to the student body, it’s still important for you to step forward and speak up regarding any concerns you might have about life on campus. We’re energized and ready for a great year of improvements, and hope that you are, too!