By Catherine O’Grady
Last Monday night, The Catholic University of America’s Student Government Association hosted its final senate session of the semester. Dr. Mike Allen, Vice President of Student Affairs, and Ms. Debra Nauta-Rodriguez, the University’s Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management and University Architect, gave a presentation on campus projects.
Nauta-Rodriguez joined Catholic’s community in July and is responsible for the execution of the master plan on the university’s campus.
The presentation started with a recap of the projects that have already been completed on campus such as the newly renovated Dufour Center at the north end of campus, the addition of Which Wich in the downstairs cafeteria of the Pryzbyla Center.
Nauta-Rodriguez and Allen then explained the projects that are in the midst of completion such as the renovations to Maloney Hall in the Busch School of Business, and the university walkway that will run from the metro stop to the center of campus between Pangborn, Crowe, and Mullen. The University walkway coincides with the energy plan, as all the new updates to be make to the heating system will be built under the walkway. Nauta-Rodriguez is also working on Campus Wayfinding as a way for pedestrians and cars to navigate campus easier.
The plans for the new dining facility was also discusses at the meeting.
“Our current dining facility is simply not big enough, the quality is not where we want it to be,”Allen said.
The dining facility is funded by an anonymous donor and will provide 22,000 square feet of dining space.
“The architecture is meant to be timeless and the function is timely,” said Nauta-Rodriguez about the architecture of the building.
The new dining facility is planned to open in the Fall of 2021 in order to accommodate the three year on campus housing requirement that is also on the agenda for the next few years. The lack of on campus housing is a concern for both Nauta-Rodriguez and Allen. A resolution is still in the works.
After the presentation, the senators had the chance to ask questions about the master plan such as the plans for Marist Hall, the issue of parking, the plans for west campus, and the noise problem for students taking their finals near the construction.
“There’s three things we can do with Marist. We can leave it the way it is, which it’s vacant and awful. We can tear it down and build new on that site or we can try . . . to restore it, said Nauta-Rodriguez. No decision has been made yet.
“When you’re studying in the middle of a construction site, it’s unacceptable,” said Nauta-Rodriguez about the construction sounds during finals week.
After the presentation, Resolution 008 was presented to the senators to vote on. Resolution 008, sponsored by Senator Aaron Mackisey, is a resolution to create a winter academic term in order to help undergraduate students meet their required credits in time for graduation. It would mainly be providing beginning and intermediate courses for students and would be implemented at next year’s winter semester.
Senator Cavan Hagerty and Senator Gerald Sharpe were skeptical of the resolution questioning the quality of the classes and the time limit offered to receive three credits.
“To me, to earn three to four credits in a week plus when it takes me a semester to earn three to four credits in one class, that quick time frame worries me, both the quality of what you can learn in a week to a week and a half and just the strain on a student,” Senator Hagerty said.
The resolution, however, passed.
Senator Rachel Garfield appealed to the senators for volunteers for the upcoming Research Day in the spring.
As a result of Senator Kaitlin Shanahan’s bill to change the hours of meal swipes in Murphy’s, a compromise was met. As of next semester students will be able to access Murphy’s at 1:00 p.m instead of 1:30 p.m.
“You should be able to use your all access meal plan to get food to go.” Senator Shanahan said.
According to Senator Leigh Colotta, next semester holds promise. Her and her committee are planning on writing legislation to make CUA completely smoke-free and possibly adding another mandatory freshman module focused on mental health, as well as adding more American flags around campus.