ASG senators met Wednesday night for a contentious session to debate and vote on funding for a pre-med advising initiative, among other project pool funding requests, and heard a presentation by NUIT about a replacement system for Blackboard.
Members of Phi Delta Epsilon, Undergraduate Premedical Society and One Step Before expressed their goal for a second week in a row to receive funding for a pilot program for pre-med mentoring. A collaborative effort between all major pre-med groups on campus, this peer advising program called for $100 in stipends for each of their eight peer mentors.
Previous Academic VP Sofia Sami reiterated that the program has an “indicative demand” and asked that senators look at the program “holistically.” A student survey conducted by the group showed that over 30 percent of students didn’t think the Undergraduate Academic Advising Center was effective. Instead, the legislation said, “the advice from pre-med upperclassmen is considered to be very effective by more than half of pre-med students.”
Despite a long debating period centered on the financial incentive required for the program’s success, the resolution to allocate $800 from the Senate project pool failed to pass.
“We’re disappointed that the student senate didn’t find it fitting to fund this proposal,” said Steven Bennett, senator for RCB District 1. “We feel that the $800 would have been an integral part of the proposal and an incentive for outgoing pre-meds who’ve already applied to medical school to successfully mentor people.
“We will continue to work on the project,” said Anna Rennich, vice president of academics. “We just wished it had been funded since there is no other avenue to receive funding.”
Besides the pre-med advisory initiative, funding for Senior Year Experience by MIMO failed to pass as well. Other project pool requests such as funding for art at Dillo Day, sound and lighting at SASA’s Spring Concert, and NU Asian Magazine were approved by Senate.
In addition to project pool funding, Senators heard form Vickey Getis of NUIT who presented about Canvas, the replacement to Blackboard. Canvas is a learning management system used by schools across the country such as Brown University, Dartmouth, and University of Pennsylvania. In a faculty survey out of 44 participants, 82 percent said they would like to switch to Canvas while 74 percent of 502 students said the switch to Canvas would be worthwhile. Senators provided Getis with advice on how to promote Canvas as a legitimate system for undergraduate courses.
ASG also heard from a representative of NU Listens, a program to promote active listening and mental health on campus. NU Listens would consist of pilot services of 11 peer listeners who would be on call Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Following NU Listens’ presentation, senators confirmed two positions for the academic committee. ASG also considered new business items such as supporting the Sheridan Road bike path, funding for Bar Mitvañera and aiding the Green Events consulting team. Senators also confirmed the enactment of an ad hoc committee meant for creating an analytics team within ASG.