Problem: We don’t have enough information about classes before we enroll.
Solution: We need to start small and build up in negotiations with the administration. Let’s try to get the answers to questions such as what percentage of students said they “learned a great deal” in a course and we will build from there. (Click here to read more)
The Middlebury experience is a dynamic one but is heavily dependent on our time spent in the classroom. As such, it is important we have as much information as possible prior to class registration. While many have turned to MiddKid, this website is lacking in many ways. Most classes have few reviews, if any at all, and these come from a self-selected group with a high potential for both positive and negative bias. 86% of students in the all-student survey supported more information before they pick classes and, as representatives of the student voice, we must push for this change.
Problem: In the early 90’s Middlebury had over 700 registered parties on campus. Last year, there were around 70.
Solution: We need to streamline the party registration process and emphasize rewarding successful party hosting rather than punishing poor party hosting. (Click here to read more)
Social Houses are a key part of campus life for both those who live there and those who attend their parties. We must not let this aspect of our social scene disappear. As SGA president and a member of a social house, I would hope to bridge the gap between them and our administration. With the proposed disbandment of ADP and the decline in Bunker activity over recent years, it is important to maintain the remaining Ridgeline houses as safe locations for large parties. To accomplish this we should streamline the party registration process, making it easier for houses to safely throw parties without unnecessary red tape getting in the way. The number of registered parties keeps decreasing and we need to reverse this trend.
Cups and Bowls
Problem: We lose too many and often don’t have enough at meal times.
Solution: While maintaining our discussion of privilege, we should bring back ‘to-go’ cups on a trial basis and see if the economic and environmental cost of loss glass is substantial enough to warrant them. At the same time, we should incentivize social houses, teams, clubs, etc. to collect glasses from around campus. (Click here to read more)
Obviously there is a dish shortage and we as a community need to think of creative ways to solve the problem. In addition to continuing a discussion of privilege and trying to create an atmosphere of responsibility, I would suggest a two pronged approach. Middlebury should try to promote dish collection by incentivizing social houses, teams, and other clubs to help out. In addition to solving the dish problem, this could strengthen the relationship between these groups and the college. The other ‘prong’ would be to investigate the possibility of alternative short term solutions. In doing so, Middlebury dining halls should investigate biodegradable 'to-go' cups on a trial basis and investigate whether or not this would result in the retention of enough glasses to offset both the environmental and economic costs of the proposed 'to-go' cups.
Problem: When applying for blocks you cannot prioritize a smaller block over a larger one.
Solution: We must institute a housing policy under which you apply for blocks based solely on the order in which you desire them, not their size. (Click to read more)
When applying for blocks it is currently impossible to put a higher preference on a small block than a large block (that is to say if you want to apply to a 5 person and a 4 person block you must rank the 5 person higher). This doesn’t make any sense and I would work to reform this. You should be allowed to list your preferences in the order which you desire them, not from biggest to smallest. Beyond this, there should be a formal, campus wide document where students, identified only by their housing number, can post their housing plans and see the plans of others. To supplement this, the college should release which numbers received which houses in previous years. Though neither of these methods could guarantee you know where you will end up, they should help give you a rough idea of where you stand in the process.
Problem: There are not enough of them and when they are where you want them, they often don’t work.
Solution: Giving consideration to places like Proctor and Ross, we need to strategically install new printers while, simultaneously, implementing a new program to enable LIS to identify problems more quickly. (Click to read more)
My position on printers is simple: they need to be working and they need to be in the right place when you have to print. Over the last few years, several printers have been added around campus. We must continue this trend while making sure that we have the staff to support them. As such, it would be my suggestion that a printer be placed in Proctor, perhaps in the Bookstore. Proctor is a high traffic area that would provide a convenient printing place and, if they were willing, Bookstore employees could help keep the printers stocked and functioning. Another obvious place for a printer is in the basement of Ross under the dining hall. I would not be opposed to certain dorm printing areas (like the new one in Chateau) but I think the dining halls would be a great place to start. In addition, printing could perhaps be further improved by a new notification system that automatically informs LIS when a printer is having an issue.
Problem: Students often encounter lots where their designated rows are full while others are half empty.
Solution: We should pressure Public Safety to re-examine parking designations, pinpoint where the most citations are occurring, and re-distribute spaces accordingly. (Click here to read more)
My time on the Parking Appeals Committee this year has taught me that one’s parking permit can be very prohibitive to what lots they can park in as the number of spots in each lot are not efficiently distributed. To fix this, we need to account for the number of cars in each class and the lots they park in. There is no reason someone should get a ticket because the row they are supposed to park in is full, while the row they are banned from parking in is empty.
Problem: Teachers can currently see if you are enrolled pass/fail in a class. This could result in differential treatment.
Solution: We need to problem solve and reach an agreement under which teachers cannot see which students are taking their class pass/fail. (Click here to read more)
While it’s fantastic that Middlebury has recently implemented Pass/Fail, there is still work to be done. Currently, professors can see a list of all those who are taking their class Pass/Fail. This has the potential to prompt differential treatment. All students should be on an equal playing field and there seems to be no reason for professors to know this information.
Problem: The civilization requirement consists of an AAL, EUR, NOR, and CMP credit. The AAL component is too wide ranging, consisting of everywhere but the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Solution: The AAL credit should be broken down into more logical geographic zones. Under this plan, students would still only need four civilizations credits but would have more freedom to choose which areas they study. (Click to read more)
If elected, I would attempt to rework the civilization requirements. In its current state, the AAL credit consists of an absurd grouping of regions and countries. There needs to be a change from this current Eurocentric distribution of requirements. If elected, I will push for the AAL to be split up into more logical geographic zones with separate categories for South America, Asia, and Africa. Under this plan, students would then be required to choose three of the five requirements and a CMP (matching the current number of civilization requirements).
Problem: We have little control over what emails we get and what emails we don’t get.
Solution: We need to institute a system of lists that are easy to opt in and out of so that you can get emails that you care about and avoid ones that you don’t. (Click to read more)
Over the last few years at Middlebury the email policies have changed drastically. We have gone from a very open ‘all student’ email policy to a much more restrictive one. Although we have been moving in the right direction, we are currently working on changing the system to one where people can sign up to be put on (or taken off of) certain email lists. I am currently working towards this goal with the current president of the SGA and hope to continue this work into next year.
Problem: Students often don’t get their first graded assignments back until after the drop deadline.
Solution: The drop deadline should be dependent upon receiving graded feedback representing a certain percentage of your final grade. (Click to read more)
The drop deadline dictates when a student can drop a class that is not the right fit for them, academically or otherwise. This rigid drop deadline should be reworked as all too often the first midterm and homework grades come back after students are locked into the course. I would push for an extended drop deadline dependent on the student receiving an adequate indication of their grade. This would prevent students from having to decide on staying in classes they are struggling in without proper feedback from their professors.
Problem: There were not enough for senior thesis students this year and there is always a shortage during midterms/exams.
Solution: We should find places to install new carrels and modify existing carrels to accommodate thesis students. (Click to read more)
This year there was a shortage of both senior thesis carrels and regular study carrels. This is an important issue for both seniors hoping to write a thesis and the rest of the student body looking for a place to study. There have been several proposed solutions; including buying more carrels, modifying existing carrels to accommodate thesis students, and making an effort to let students know that they can use a thesis carrel as long as that carrel’s ‘resident’ is not there. As president, I would not let these issues fade into the background and would push for a strategic implementation of these various solutions in order to make sure everyone can find an appropriate place to work in the library.
Problem: They are now used to advertise specific events for weeks at a time.
Solution: They should be used to advertise all the events happening on campus each week. This is how it used to be and they allowed for much greater awareness of events. (Click here to read more)
Small stands on each table in the dining halls used to be updated weekly with a calendar of what was happening at Midd that week. In addition to serving as a great way to advertise various events on campus, they served as a great talking point and helped facilitate interaction among people when they first arrived on campus their freshman year. These table toppers were a valuable tool to the student body and I would investigate re-implementing them in the dining halls.
Problem: It is not designed to handle large documents and was never intended to be a mobile printing platform.
Solution: We should search for and find a replacement that will make the printing process smoother. (Click here to read more)
During my time as a student co-chair of the LIS Advisory Committee, I have learned a great deal about our printing software, Papercut. This software is not intended to facilitate the printing of large documents and does not have much mobile printing capability. We should examine transitioning towards a new platform that would solve both of these issues and help relieve the all too frequent headaches caused by Papercut.
Problem: Local food is delicious, high quality, and environmentally friendly but it is also very expensive and we don’t have enough of it.
Solution: We need to push for a larger food budget and voice our strong preference for local food. (Click here to read more)
Lets be frank, the local food movement is fantastic. It promotes local farmers and high quality food, so lets make sure that we promote it. In pursuing an expansion of the local food program we need to make clear to the administration that it is a priority of the student body to put more money towards dining. There are no ifs, ands, or buts, it would be expensive, but if this is a place where we think money should be spent we need to let the administration know.
Problem: Many spaces like Starr, Battell, and Meeker (among others) do not have laundry machines.
Solution: We should strategically install more laundry machines. (Click here to read more)
The current president has done a great job this year of pushing for improved laundry services on campus. It would be a shame to see his work go to waste, and I think that it’s necessary we continue working to improve laundry for all of us. Currently, there are not enough machines and, unfortunately, there is not room for more in every dorm. To solve this problem, the current administration has laid the foundation for a system that would notify students when machines were open, making the whole process more efficient and necessitating fewer machines.
Problem: There is a disconnect between the SGA and the student body. Students often don’t know about SGA initiatives and there is no easy way for them to communicate their problems and ideas to their representatives.
Solution: I would create an SGA outreach position responsible for better connecting the SGA and the student body. (Click here to read more)
Student engagement with the SGA is crucial to a well-functioning government. We should create a cabinet position tasked with communicating SGA ideas and decisions to the rest of the student body. This increased dialouge would no doubt lead to new, creative, and useful ideas.
Dining Representative to the SGA
Problem: The student voice on dining goes largely unheard.
Solution: We must tie the SGA more thoroughly to dining to ensure opinions on food variety, locality, and quality are heard. (Click here to read more)
Despite my last three years at Middlebury and my extensive experience with the SGA, I had never heard of a ‘Dining Committee’ until a few weeks ago when I spoke with Matt Biette, the director of dining. This committee does, in fact, exist but is only sporadically attended by students. I would aim to change this by creating a position responsible for connecting the SGA to this committee on various issues, ranging from dining hall seating to food variety and local meat initiatives. Its important that dining and the students work together towards the best possible experience.