February 21, 2016

Student Assembly Special Election Winners Share Visions

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Four new Student Assembly members— Jung Won Kim ’18, Dale Barbaria ’19,  Matthew Indimine ’18, and  Nelson Billington ’17 — were elected to fill vacancies for the rest of the semester that arose when S.A. members transferred to different Cornell colleges, left to study abroad or not attend enough sessions, the S.A. announced Friday.

The new representatives expressed interest in improving communication both between students and the administration, and among students on campus. They also said they aim to make school resources more accessible to all students.

As a voting member of the Academic Policy Committee, Arts and Science Representative Kim said that his first initiative is to begin open course evaluations that will make the syllabi of all Arts and Sciences courses open to the public.

“This way, students may know what they are getting into before actually enrolling in courses and thus save a lot of trouble during add/drop period,” he said.

Kim also said he plans to compile a directory of Arts and Sciences alumni to make the college more cohesive and interconnected. He promised to partner with the Cornell Annual Fund and collect alumni information for the directory via senior polls, starting this year with the Class of 2016.

School of Hotel Administration Representative Billington said he hopes to increase communication between students in the School of Hotel Administration and the S.A., in order to unify students and ensure that the identity, mission and community of the school remains intact. He said he plans to meet extensively with synergy committees and relay information efficiently.

Although initially concerned about the transition, Billington explained that he now feels more confident with the administration’s plan for the future.

“Maintaining a business curriculum grounded in hospitality is essential for the future of this incredibly unique program,” he said. “I will stand for strengthening the Hotel School and expanding collaboration with Dyson and Johnson.”

Indimine, the new LGBT representative at large, said he aims to bridge the gap between members of the LGBT community and all other communities on campus by effectively and sustainably promoting inclusion.

“I want to foster a greater sense of acceptance and understanding of LGBT issues on campus as a whole,” he said.

Indimine explained additional plans to work with the Greek Tri-Council to encourage inclusion within chapters and to hold training sessions on bystander intervention, sexual assault and mental health issues.

Indimine also addressed beginning a “Leave of Absence” fund to offer financial assistance to students who want to take a leave of absence, but are unable to return home for various reasons.

“This is an especially prevalent issue within the LGBTQ+ community, because, unfortunately, some students may be unable to return home due to their families’  lack of acceptance,” he explained.

Engineering Representative Barbaria said he plans to work closely with Engineering Representative Justin Selig ‘17, to further current projects. He expressed hopes to continue the S.A.’s support of students in the College of Engineering.

“This would include continued financial support for project teams and keeping the College of Engineering in mind when the S.A. pursues curricular and procedural changes,” he said.

Barbaria also said he would like to push the S.A. to work on small projects that will help students and encourage the S.A. to function as a “conduit” between the student body and the administration.

“I have seen much of the S.A.’s efforts focused on Anabel’s Grocery Store — a brilliant and noble project — but I perceive this as something that has prevented the S.A. from fully focusing on its constant function of acting as a conduit between the student body and the administration,” he said. “I hope to work closely with the already seated members of the Student Assembly, and I will do my part to keep the S.A. running efficiently.”