The Drexel University Undergraduate Student Government Association met Jan. 27 to discuss a variety of campus initiatives — chief among them, a “town hall” style meeting with President John A. Fry to occur Feb. 2 and the potential addition of a new USGA position reserved for freshmen.
The student representatives, headed by Kevin Murray since Taylor Collins resigned from the presidency in October 2014, are continually working to get students to meet with University administrators. They hope to draw a crowd for a meeting with Fry, who will speak and answer questions in Room 106 of the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. Murray also pointed out the USGA marketing strategy, centered on Facebook and email. A major aim this quarter is to quadruple the “likes” on the USGA Facebook page.
Other upcoming student-administration events include a talk with Close School of Entrepreneurship Dean Donna DeCarolis at 6 p.m. Feb. 3 in Suite 369 of Gerri C. LeBow Hall and a networking event for student organization members Feb. 19; the latter is also to feature Fry.
Including freshmen among those specifically represented in the government proved more controversial. Excluding officers, USGA positions are restricted to particular academic affairs (e.g., the College of Engineering) or student life topics (e.g., student organizations, Greek life); the suggestion has been made that freshmen should have a dedicated representative due to their unique experiences at Drexel.
Murray spoke in favor of the change, saying “it would be appropriate to have representation” for this sizable population, but opponents questioned the necessity of expanding the USGA to 29 members. One point of contention is the election procedure, since a freshman elected in spring term (as with other representatives) might not serve in summer and thus would not take office until sophomore year.
In any case, the proposal has found some support, as Murray relayed that volunteers for the position approached Fry during his public office hours. The chair announced a vote will be taken at the next meeting.
Less politically, several matters relating to the Recreation Center came up. Students have complained that filters for water bottle refilling station can take up to three weeks beyond their expiration to replace, there are too few lockers to store things in while exercising, and it is not possible to know when the exercise area is at capacity.
For the last problem, USGA intends to have cameras installed that will put an image of the exercise room on the Internet every few minutes; the Office of Information Resources and Technology has confirmed the feasibility. Murray said the Drexel legal department offered no objections, as the cameras are to be no more intrusive than video monitoring, which students already consent to when using the Rec Center.
USGA efforts on shuttle bus schedules had mixed results; the University has confirmed that provision of weekend shuttles to Center City is impossible due to current labor union agreements, but a potential extension of the West Philadelphia route’s hours is still in the cards. Real-time delivery of shuttle locations and estimated arrival times to a website or mobile app, as done by many transit agencies, is reportedly impossible using the bus’ built-in GPS devices, but USGA might push for drivers to use smart phones to semi-automatically update their location.
The next meeting will occur Feb. 18 at 6 p.m., with the USGA office in the basement of the Creese Student Center as a rallying point. The meetings are open to the public.