By Chris Herman
In this past semester, Denison has been addressing many concerns expressed by students and faculty. The new swipe access restrictions and party registration policy have been passed as an attempt to resolve some of those issues, but they have been met with voices of opposition.
In an attempt to better understand these concerns, senators of the class of 2015 of Denison Campus Governance Association (DCGA) held a forum for first year students this past Sunday in The Roost to discuss the future of Denison. These senators included Chris Hoye, Meghan Pearce, Ashley Bartreau, Steven Hix, Yusuf Ahmed, Kyle Gasaway, Emily Schultz, and Drew Jepson. Dean of First-Year Students Mark Moller was also in attendance.
The topics of discussion included the housing lottery, the dining service contract, a proposition for the CarShare program, the party registration policy, swipe access, Greek life, and how to improve the situation of space utilization on campus.
Jackson Wu-Pong, DCGA’s policy chair, revealed the new proposition to introduce a car-sharing program to Denison. “We would have, hopefully next year, a pilot program with one or two cars where students can go in, and for about eight dollars an hour you can go and rent a car, and that eight dollars will cover insurance, gas, everything,” says Wu-Pong.
The program is being proposed as a way to reduce the amount of cars on campus and the impact on the environment. Students should keep their eyes out for a survey sent out to gauge interest of this proposal. This Wednesday in Higley Auditorium at 4:30 p.m., a local sales representative for the program will be coming in to further discuss the specifics. As of now, one of the main concerns of this proposal is financing.
“If we have a good interest coming out next year in our pilot program, then hopefully we’ll be able to expand it to five or six cars,” said Wu-Pong. As of now, Enterprise will be the company contracted, with a hybrid model being the most likely to be used. Students will have to create an account online with the company to use the cars, and schedule a time when they would like to rent one of the vehicles. Specifics of the program are still being negotiated, but as of now 48 hours would be the maximum limit a student could borrow the car per scheduled time.
As part of the discussion on the new party registration policy, students questioned what models were used as part of the creation process. Pearce revealed DCGA had researched approximately 40 other schools with these types of policies, and used Gettysburg’s and Hamilton’s policies as some of the primary models for the one introduced to Denison. The Denisonian has done an in-depth investigation on the policy in our Jan. 22 issue.
Students voiced concerns over how the new swipe access policy has been affecting them, with safety and weather being some of the arguing points against the policy, and cases of vandalism being brought up as a reason for it. The conversation transitioned to residential and Greek life on the campus and how it relates to this issue. A main concern of most participants of the forum was what to do about the pre-gaming culture on campus. It was mentioned that No Regrets, a new public awareness campaign, is aiming to address a lot of the concerns brought up by this aspect of nightlife on The Hill. The campaign is created by Catherine Champagne, Denison’s new coordinator of alcohol, drug, and health education this year.
Utilizing some of the less used spaces around campus was suggested as a way to offer new alternatives for students on the weekends. Some ideas being considered are using residential basements and lounges as areas to utilize. During the session, Dean Moller expressed his interest in the idea of introducing a coffee shop to The Roost as a way to improve the use of space here and promote socialization outside of dorm rooms and parties. Moller also stressed the importance of students to step up and take the initiative, “Students want to see changes on campus, but they should also recognize that they are the people to bring the change alongside with administrators.”
Hannah Frank, who was in attendance of the forum, reflected, “what set the First-Year Forum apart was that the Class of 2016 Senators took the initiative to provide answers. It was, on the whole, a more solution-oriented discussion than those I’ve been a part of in the past”.
The wide-range of topics covered at this event signifies a busy year for DCGA. There are a lot of changes underway, and students should expect quite a bit of news on these subjects over the next few months, starting with the dining contract and possibly the housing lottery system.
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