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Changes in shuttle services and space utilization approaching

Izzy ManzoPhoto Editor

Space utilization on campus and new task forces were among the topics discussed during the SGA meeting on Nov. 1.

President Alexis Zhitomi announced that four new committees have been created: a search committee and three task forces. The search committee was created by the university as they seek to fill a new position: vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“The university, when there are new positions open, they create a search committee, and there’s always a student representative on the search committee, which is very important,” Zhitomi said.

The search committee will begin working next month with representative at large Tatyana André serving as their student representative. A forum will be held on Nov. 11 in which students can voice their opinions and insights concerning what they want to see come out of the new position.

“Since this is not already an established position on campus,” Zhitomi said, “they have to build what the job expectations are and what it would fall under, so they want some input on what they think that should include.”

The remaining three positions were created in response to President Joe Bertolino’s State of the University Address in which he addressed transfer students, curriculum flexibility and the financial aspects of college as the three main concerns of the university.

He created three task forces that are comprised of faculty, staff, administration and a student representative. Zhitomi said that she has been asked to be the student representative for the curriculum flexibility committee.

“I’m very excited to sit on that one,” she said. “It’s going to be interesting.”

It was announced that representative-at-large Irene Machia will be the student representative for the transfer students committee and vice president of Student Government Association’s board of academic experience Sarah Gossman, will be the student representative for the financial flexibility committee.

The groups were described as “quickmoving” by Zhitomi; President Joe wants each to have their key points and ways to move forward prepared by the end of the semester.

“This is the opportunity to make conversations where, like, we can lay out what we want for our students in the future and really have the freedom to be like, ‘Let’s go crazy; let’s think of some bold ideas, and let’s see what we can do with it.”

During the committee reports, vice president for the board of student experience Katia Bagwell discussed multiple issues on campus, including community hour, tutoring and space utilization, which was the topic of a conversation the Multicultural Relation Council had with President Joe in the spring, according to Bagwell.

“To my knowledge, the classroom spaces that are not being used are being held by certain departments,” she said. “So, we’re kind of just trying to figure out a way [to find out] what is and isn’t being used and what can be turned into something else.”

The old student center was mentioned as a possible building to repurpose. Stating that multiple clubs on campus have service hours that members need to complete, representative-at-large Benjamin Coombs said clubs who have students complete service hours could help refurbish the building to get them involved in the process.

“A lot of that space in there is just, kind of, storage and there’s, like, nothing’s really going on with it,” he said. “I think it’s something that we should look into.”

Zhitomi said repurposing the old student center has been investigated, but the issues outweigh the potential of the building. The part of the building in question, which is attached to the School of Business, is two hallways that lead into what once the food court and dining room was.

There was also a room that was similar to Connecticut Hall’s seminar room where meetings were held, according to Student Conduct and Discipline Director Christopher Piscitelli.

“It’s been closed off for 12 or 13 years, and it was not included in part of the renovation for the School of Business for a few different reasons,” said Piscitelli. “I know there’s been lots of conversation about the desire to use the space. As far as I’ve been [told] in all the conversations I’ve been part of, that space has been determined unusable at this juncture.”

The reasons behind the old student center not being the focus of renovations, according to Piscitelli, vary. The most prominent issue is that its current state would make it costly to repair and renovate.

“I imagine that what it used to be and what it needs to be converted to and what condition it’s in,” he said.“It has, to my understanding, been determined unusable.”

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