Student Government town hall hopes to ‘facilitate productive dialogue’

Campus News, News

Student Government will be holding its first town hall meeting of the semester at 6 p.m. this Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Weiler Conference Room on the second floor of the Student Union.

At these town halls, students are able to ask questions, express their concerns, pitch ideas, and bring solutions to various campus issues. 

Samantha Montanez, senior, and triple major in criminology, sociology, and psychology, is the president of Student Government.

Montanez explained that there will be no filtering of questions, so students are able to speak directly to the administrative members that are present. There will also be guided dialogue in order to keep the meeting focused.

“What we want is to facilitate productive dialogue,” Montanez said.

Ideas and issues that are brought up during the town hall will be documented in the minutes, a summary of the meeting. Student Government committees will use these minutes to ensure that the discussion points are followed up on in the future, and that the respective administrative departments are held to their word.

“Student Government will continue to follow-up on that point until there’s some type of solution,” Montanez said.

Some of the departments that Student Government reached out to for the town hall include Facilities Management, Residential and Commuter Life, Career Development, University President Beth Paul’s office, Provost Jody Fournier’s office, and the Student and Community Engagement Office (SCE).

Montanez clarified that this is not the first venture that Student Government has made into hosting these town hall meetings.

This is Samantha Montanez, President of student government. Photo courtesy of Samantha Montanez.

“This is not the first town hall,” Montanez said. “This is just the first town hall of this academic year.”

The town halls that were conducted last year were a bit different from what is planned this year. They also lacked an exceptional turnout of students.

“When I was a senator last year, I felt that there wasn’t that good of a turnout,” Montanez said.

Montanez believes that part of this was because of the way the event was set up. Last year, people mainly were only able to talk to Student Government committees responsible for certain aspects of campus, such as student life.

This year, students have the chance to meet with administrative staff up-front to discuss various campus topics.

Despite a revamped setup, Montanez is still a bit anxious about the amount of people that will come out this year.

“The biggest thing is participation because people are very busy and it’s also late in the semester, but I would love for it to be better this year,” Montanez said.

Montanez hopes students walk away from the town hall feeling like they have a voice in the campus community.

“I’m hoping that students feel a sense of pride that they own this campus and that they have a say in what goes on here, and that their voices are being heard and uplifted,” she said.

In addition to the town hall, students can attend weekly Student Government Senate meetings at 5 p.m. every Sunday in CMC 141 if they want to get more involved in the various issues and policies surrounding campus.

Robert Cumberlander

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