By Abby Anderko
On Monday, February 26th, the Student Government Association met for its seventh session of this academic year. This meeting covered four new resolutions: testing during the week before finals, a new World War I memorial, a new de-stress opportunity for students in preparation for finals week, and an opportunity for students to voice their opinions on the new dining hall.
The first resolution passed, Resolution 011, was sponsored by junior Olivia Giangiordano, one of the representatives from the School of Engineering. It covered the topic of tests and other exams being given during the final week of classes. This resolution seeks to prevent professors from administering tests in the last class period before finals, if the class also administers a final exam in the following days. This does not include tests that constitute as final. This resolution follows examples set by universities such as Harvard University, Yale College, and the University of Chicago who have all implemented this practice. Those other institutions granted students a reading period the week prior to finals to allow them to decompress after their classes finish and to have adequate time to prepare for finals.
Giangiordano sponsored this resolution because of her own personal experience with this problem.
“This is an issue that is affecting several people in my school and several people I know in the School of Arts and Science,” Giangiordano said. She also pleaded with her fellow senators to “remember their constituents, as it is affecting them very, very much.”
The second resolution, Resolution 012, was sponsored by junior Jimmy Harrington. As a way to honor our university’s fallen soldiers in World War I, Harrington proposed to resurrect the memorial that once stood outside McMahon Hall in 1922.
“At the time of World War I, over 800 members of the Catholic community joined in the fight, and several of them died fighting for the freedoms that allow a university like ours to exist,” Harrington said.
His desire is to create a new memorial, designed by architecture students, to commemorate Catholic University students who fought and lost their lives throughout the Great War.
Sarah Cangarlu, the representative from the School of Architecture and Planning, addressed the senate on behalf of her school saying that she “thinks it is a great idea to get them involved in designing the memorial.” She proposed a competition, like the one used to design the papal chair when Catholic welcomed its third pope to campus in September of 2015, to design the memorial.
Questions were raised surrounding the memorial, first by class of 2019 representative John Connolly as to whether the memorial should include all students from any war, to which Harrington responded saying that his idea was to re-institute the memorial that previously stood, dedicated to the veterans students who fought and died in World War I. Sophomore Elise LaFleur then questioned what happened to the previous memorial and Harrington admitted that while he did not know the exact details surrounding where the memorial went, he was confident that it would be protected by the increased campus security that we now have.
Resolution 013 was sponsored by Sean O’Grady, a representative of the Class of 2021. As his first resolution, he put forth the concept of creating a new task force to assist students coping with stress and time management throughout finals. He proposed a program partnering with the counseling center, that will be held the week prior to the start of finals. This program will offer students opportunities to learn more about stress and its effects and individual sessions with counselors if they need them.
Questions were brought up by junior Leigh Calotta, the representative of the School of Nursing, regarding the program’s similarity to programs such as “De-stress Fest” which was held during finals week this past semester. O’Grady replied that though similar in structure, this event is catered to direct and individual help for students. Ally Kilgore, a representative of the freshman class spoke on the importance of getting rid of the stigma that surrounds mental health. Both sponsors of the resolution mentioned that some students do not prefer a social event to “de-stress” but would rather receive one-on-one assistance provided by the professionals in the Counseling Center.
Kilgore responded to the question of the event already being held in a different capacity by saying that through the repetition it will further emphasize the importance of mental health.
“With repetition of an event, you can never address mental health too often,” Kilgore said. “You can never be too de-stressed.”
Resolution 014, sponsored by sophomore Alexander Santana of the School of Arts and Sciences, was designed to create a new way for students to express their input on the new dining hall that was announced on January 22nd. This new dining hall was made possible through a $6 million donation from an anonymous couple. Santana proposed that an advisory board be created so students can voice their input to the administration on their ideas, concerns and opinions regarding the dining hall.
Many concerns about this advisory board were voiced, as it is believed that the Senate is designed to be this voice for the student body, which was pointed out by junior Aaron Mackisey, the representative for the School of Music. Harrington motioned that this resolution be tabled to the Committee of Student Life to be amended and continue discussion of it, and all twenty-three senators present approved this motion.
Announcements made at the beginning of the meeting included a Town Hall to be hosted by President Garvey on March 20th in Heritage Hall and a Student Safety Panel with the Department of Public Safety on March 13th, both of which are open to all university students. The next senate meeting will be held on Monday, March 12th.