This week in SGA: Updates from Debora Spar
Did you miss the Barnard Student Government Association representative council meeting on Monday night? Barnard beat chief Emma Goss brings you the four things you need to know from the final meeting of the semester.
- Having Fun Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card: Barnard College president Debora Spar spoke to the representatives about plans for the new Teaching and Learning Center, changes to convocation, and efforts to bring more students from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds to Barnard. Spar said administrators “are moving fast and furious” on planning. She added that the College has already raised the bulk of the funds needed to build the building. Plans for the building are still being worked out, and both Barnard and the architecture firm—Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP—are seeking student input through visioning sessions and surveys distributed to people waiting in line at Liz’s Place. Spar noted that a computational science center will be a main part of the building, as part of an effort to increase computer science at Barnard. Spar also said that increasing classroom, library, and study space is a higher priority than finding additional housing for students and housing. “We have enough beds for the number of students we have. Whereas we don’t have enough classroom space for the student we have. So that’s the priority,” Spar said. Spar said that currently most late-night studying and work is done across the street on Columbia’s campus, but she wants the new building to allow students the ease of staying on Barnard’s campus.
- Happy Birthday, Barnard! Spar also said that plans for Barnard’s 125th anniversary are in progress, including a large-scale founder’s day celebration and a restructured convocation. Instead of being exclusively for incoming first-years, next year’s convocation will bring all current students to a kind of “coming home,” event, Spar said. She also noted that they are running the numbers for the class of 2018 yield, and anticipated to be large.
- Reach out for me: Spar said that she’s been channeling a lot of time and energy into raising money for faculty chairs and student scholarships, finding donors who are creating endowed funds that will support professor salaries and student scholarships in perpetuity. She has also been working with community-based organizations to target potential Barnard applicants who are lower on the socioeconomic ladder. “We need to make them more comfortable applying early decision,” Spar said, noting that applications from such students have “skyrocketed,” which she said is a positive thing.
- New representatives: The representatives also heard speeches from candidates running for representative council positions that were not filled during last week’s elections. They voted to approve the following students to the representative council:
Amanda Ruiz, BC ’17, rep for academic affairs; Olukemi Adeniji, BC ’16, rep for Information and Technology; Veronica Zhai, BC ’16, rep for Transfer International and Commuter Interests; and Sarah Fels, BC ’16, Junior Class VP.
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