By the people, for the people: CSG weekly update

On Thursday, November 12, the Chatham Student Government held their weekly meeting in the Conover Room. The topics discussed were Thanksgiving Dinner and developing ideas for the student orientation for the 2016-2017 year. In attendance was Dean of Students Zauyah Waite, Director of Residence Life Heather Black, Student Activities and Residence Life staff member Stephanie Alvarez Poe, and the members of CSG.

Black started the meeting by talking about the tradition of Thanksgiving Dinner on campus. She explained that this is a time to bring students and staff together to celebrate the holiday.

The conversation then moved to orientation for the 2016-2017 school year.

“We are starting fresh and throwing the old schedule out of the window,” said Black. CSG members were asked to form groups and come up with one program that they would like to see implemented for orientation.

After being given five to ten minutes to think and discuss, each group presented a program they thought students would enjoy. Some students suggested doing a tour of Pittsburgh so students who are not from the area can learn about their new surroundings.

Question were also posed about the necessity mandatory events during orientation

“When everything is mandatory, it makes people exhausted,” said Heathir McIntyre, Vice-President of the Class of 2016.

CSG members believe that if people have the option to come and if events sound interesting, then they will most likely come to events.

By the people, for the people: CSG weekly update

On Thursday, November 5, the Chatham Student Government held its hour-long meeting in the Conover Room. In attendance were CSG members, Dean of Students  Zauyah Waite, Director of Residence Life and Student Affairs Heather Black, and Assistant Dean of Students Mary Utter. The topics of conversation included sexual assault, issues with language, winter openings for residence halls, and the differences between new and current students.

Utter started the meeting off by talking about a sexual assault campaign called “It’s On Us.” This organization is designed to spread awareness about sexual assault. “It’s On Us” means, “It’s an environment we all create, not just victim and perpetrator,” said Utter. It is everyone’s job to help those in need. Starting next week, Chatham University and other campuses in America will support this cause and spread the word.

Utter also provided statistics such as one in five women and one in six men are sexually assaulted on college campuses. Eight in 10 victims know their attacker and only 13 percent of rape survivors report sexual assault. These compelling statistics are the reason why campaigns and organizations such as “It’s On Us” are formed. This also allows survivors to talk about their problems. Students can spread the word on social media by sending tweets, making Facebook statuses, and even changing their profile pictures to the “It’s On Us” logo.

With the winter is approaching, Black shifted the conversation to the residence hall forms. All residence hall requests to stay on campus for the winter break are due by Friday, November 5. All residence halls will be open to students for Thanksgiving break.

CSG members talked about the ways in which they can bridge the gap between new and current students. Many members of the CSG feel that there is a line between first year students and older students. They discussed trying to get events that would bring the first year students and the current students together so that no class is singled out.

The language used by students also has a major impact on students, as well.

“We are policing our words but regardless, people are going to say what they want. People talk how they want to. People should call themselves what they want,” said Chloe Bell, a representative for the Class of 2016.

Using words such as first-year instead of freshman is gender inclusive. Dean Waite said, “Once you’ve been recruited by Chatham, we say men and women [and first-year because] you have now reached a level of maturity.”

Many CSG members agreed about using the term first-year instead of freshman. They have also now agreed to use pronouns to refer to people as man and woman because girls and boys are percieved as immature.

“I wish we had these conversations naturally. Remember when Dr. McGreevey (Assistant Dean for Career Development) talked to us and said, ‘It’s not an all girl’s school, it’s an all women’s college,’” said Bell.

The room was silent and heads were nodding in agreement with Bell. CSG members, faculty, and staff would like to spread the word about using proper language when addressing people. Instead of seeing posters, Jackie Stanfield, President of the Class of 2017, said, “Seeing [the issues with language] on video is more powerful than reading it with words.”

Most CSG members agreed that someone watching the video about language is better reading about it. Some ideas were the video to be accessible on MyChatham and screened at Anderson Dining Hall and in the Carriage House.

The members ended the conversation on a positive note making the announcement that there will be a “Real Food Friday.” This allows students to have a taste of real food at the Anderson Dining Hall.

By the people, for the people: CSG weekly update

On the morning of Thursday, October 22, the Chatham Student Government (CSG) held its hour-long meeting in the Conover Room in Mellon, discussing the essentialness of developing soft skills, such as politeness and working effectively with others, in college. They were specifically discussing a program by the name of Chamber of Commerce DDI, which founded an online program that can help people develop soft skills for the real world, especially for college students and current employees.

The meeting started with a representative of Chamber of Commerce DDI showing statistics of college students who claim to have soft skills. Studies show that seven out of 10 college students have claimed that they have invested their time into developing their soft skills.

“Some of my friends from other universities say that their colleges haven’t [taught] them soft skills,” Phoebe Armstrong, representative for the Class of 2016 said. “For me, at Chatham they encourage you to go to extracurricular activities and organizations. They have prepared us for the workplace.”

Many of the CSG members agreed that soft skills are important to develop in the workplace. Chamber of Commerce DDI’s online guide provides scenarios of real life workplace situations. However, according to some CSG members the online guide is ineffective, mostly because it does not provide real life people with whom students can practice these soft skills.

In another important part of the meeting, CSG members and representatives of Chamber of Commerce DDI discussed the availability of the online program and the incentives of completing the course. It was agreed that Chamber of Commerce DDI should be available on all types of devices, including cell phones, laptops, and tablets. This way, customers can choose which device best works for them. Incentives for completing the online program for soft skills development would be participants earning a certificate or a badge. Each would show employers that a person possesses many soft skills in addition to having a degree.

When the CSG members were asked about how the Chamber of Commerce DDI should approach the length of scenarios shown, Nicole Lyons — a representative for the Class of 2016 — said, “[Setting them up] in increments sounds easier, because some people would view a [straight] 90-minute session as long.”  

The other members shook their heads in agreement. This was in response to representatives from Chamber of Commerce DDI showing clips from the online program in which scenarios were being played, and students would have to choose an answer that they thought was the correct response in certain situations.

One representative from the Chamber of Commerce DDI said, “In the real world it’s your attitude that shapes your aptitude.”

Their overall message was that anyone who wants a good job should not only prove that they have a degree that qualifies them for the job, but they should also provide proof that they are able to cooperate with others in the working environment.

By the people, for the people: CSG Weekly Update

On Thursday, January 8, the Chatham Student Government (CSG) convened their first meeting of the Spring 2015 semester.

Though there were several absences due to illness, those in attendance had much to discuss about the coming semester.

The meeting began with a presentation from Dr. Sean McGreevey, Assistant Dean for Career Development, in regards to the Circle of 6 phone application, in which Chatham University is considering participating.

After briefly plugging his financial wellness course, McGreevey went on to explain the purpose of the Circle of 6.

“How do we promote bystander intervention,” he asked the Senate, “and how do we promote healthy behavior?”

His answer relates to this application, which people can use to quickly and subtly alert their friends that they are in an unsafe situation, through a number of preset messages that can be sent out to a group of six friends with nothing more than two clicks.

He went on to say that Chatham will be hosting three, hour-long training sessions for the application on the evenings of January 21, January 27, and February 2, and reminded the CSG that students can register for these on MyChatham.  The training sessions are part of a study by the counseling psychology department, to gauge students’ reactions to the application.

“We just want to put some thought into this process, if this is the right move for [Chatham],” he said

He went on to say that the “magic” may not be in the application itself, but in students telling their friends–“lets have a conversation about putting you in my Circle of 6.”

After his presentation McGreevey passed the floor to Meg Scanlon and Lynzy Groves, co-chair people of the Chatham Relay for Life committee, who asked the Senate to brainstorm ideas for how to get people involved in the event.

“Relay for Life was designed to unite communities to fight a problem,” said Groves.  “Many people don’t have to opportunity to raise their voice when something matters,” she continued. “You have a responsibility to raise your voice”

During the brief discussion that followed, Skylar Wilcha, Class of 2015 president brought up the point that, “people have a misconception about non-profits that not all of the money goes to the cause.”

“Find a way to show students where their money will go,” she suggested.

They also discussed idea for events that the CSG could sponsor at Relay, including a possible Quidditch tournament.

The floor was then passed to Darlene Motley, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Business, who spoke a bit about the transition process for the future of Chatham.

“We will be looking for your input as we continue to work on tutorial and general education requirements,” she said.

“We also need to boost networking, internships, and the student engagement transcript” she said, “and market Chatham better.”

Finally, she said that there will be information sessions when various decisions are made, and that they plan to have, “more training for professors and advisors,” so that they can better serve the student body throughout the transition process.

By the people, for the people: CSG weekly update

On Thursday, September 18, the Chatham Student Government (CSG) convened in the PCW room, off of Anderson Dining Hall, for their weekly meeting. At 11:30 a.m. Jenny Schollaert, Executive Vice President, called the meeting to order, after which Erin Smith, Vice President of Communications, took attendance.

Following the approval of the minutes, the CSG officers delivered the officer’s reports, beginning with Sarah Jugovic, Executive President of CSG.  Jugovic’s report covered the issues discussed at the recent Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting, including access to food for athletes after their games. She also mentioned a meeting with a New York Times representative regarding integrating technology into CSG proceedings.

The report then moved to Schollaert, who discussed the Student Organization Forum (SOF) retreat, which occurred the previous Friday. Samantha Elbaz, Vice President of Finance, reported that the Undergraduate Budget Committee had a good turnout at their first meeting.  Elbaz also noted that there were two requests for funding and one appeal, and that they came in under budget. Officer’s reports closed with Smith, who had nothing to report in regards to Communications.

The next item on the agenda, class reports, had no significant updates aside from the need for another Class of 2016 representative.

The meeting then shifted to old business, which included a discussion of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) and their efforts to raise awareness for turbo vote. In addition to the tabling that is already occurring, it was also mentioned that word of mouth is an excellent way to raise awareness.

In regards to internal affairs, the CSG spoke briefly about a possible amendment to their constitution revising their attendance policy to include late arrivals.

The final topic of discussion before the meeting closed was the possibility of adding a place on MyChatham for students to check the status of their meal plans, and their flex balance. As Alex Waasdorp, Class of 2018 President, noted, “We talk about being eco-friendly, but…the only way to check our meals is to print a receipt.” After some discussion it was determined that both Pattie Malloy, Head of Dining Services, and the IT department would need to be contacted in order to make any headway on this issue.

The CSG meets every Thursday in the PCW room, and all meetings are open to the student body.  Check MyChatham for times and any further information regarding these meetings.

By the people, for the people: CSG weekly update

On Thursday, February 13, the Chatham Student Government (CSG) held their weekly meeting in the PCW room, off of Anderson Dining Hall. On the agenda were a variety of issues, beginning with an update from Mareija Bibbs on the status of the Government’s efforts to prevent the proposed tuition increase. The letter to the Board of Trustees, written by the Executive Board on behalf of the student body, was revised and presented to Chatham University President Esther Barazzone, who sent copies to the board members. Additionally, the petition in support of the government’s efforts gained approximately 280 signatures. However, no information has yet been released regarding the outcome of the vote, which occurred on Friday, February 14.

Other areas of discussion at the meeting included updates on the status of the Undergraduate Budget Committee, and efforts to make the Student Organization Forum meetings a more effective platform for the advocacy of student organizations.

Also on the agenda was a discussion of the CSG meet and greet, which will take place in the Athletic and Fitness Center on Friday, February 28. It will take the form of a game night, with the possibility of catering by Parkhurst dining services.

After reports from the class officers, the CSG heard from the various ad hoc committees. Issues at hand included the question of extending the add/drop period, which will be looked into further after the tuition increase issue has been concluded. The ad hoc committee for the tuition increase also spoke, emphasizing the fact that from that point on, it was just a “waiting game”.

In other news, there was also discussion regarding the feedback from the Town Hall meeting, including what types of events students would be interested in. However, the consensus was that further feedback form the student body would be necessary to make any decisions.

The final topic of discussion was the possibility of a CSG newsletter, as a means of increasing transparency with the Chatham students. Ideas ranged from a newsletter published once a semester, to an occasional page in the Communiqué, however no decisions were made.

The CSG meets every Thursday in the PCW room. Meetings are open to the student body, however students must sign up to be put on the agenda if they wish to contribute.

Get to know Chatham’s Student Government

“Be the change you wish to see on Campus” is an opportunity that Chatham Student Government (CSG) grants to every student on campus.

CSG is the student elected Senate which consists of officers from each of the four classes, in addition to the executive board.

“[CSG] is a platform where we can be liaisons to the administration but where we can also advocate for issues that we really care about” is how Jeannette Schollaert describes CSG. Schollaert is a junior majoring in English & Women Studies at Chatham and serves as the Executive Vice President of CSG. According to Schollaert, CSG meetings as a whole are open to every single person on campus. Any student who has any concern may attend those meetings and express his/her concerns to the Senate members so they can work towards “making Chatham a better place to be.”

Mareija Bibbs, senior in Human Biology and the executive president of CSG said, “We’re always open to hear feedback, because we want everyone to enjoy their experience here at Chatham, so whenever there’s an issue, it’s our top priority.”

CSG Senate meetings are held every Thursday to discuss Senate issues.

CSG is a giant umbrella that is bisected by different branches. One of those branches is the Student Organization Forum (SOF), which is part of what Schollaert runs in her position. SOF consists of student organization leaders who gather for monthly Tuesday meetings. SOF meets to share concerns and operates under a basic set of policies and procedures, in order for student leaders to be more effective in their work.

SOF also provides guidance to the student organizations through the event planning process if needed in order to make events more profitable and efficient. They can be helped, for example, with a room request, a speaking invitation and other basic steps in order to eventually produce a successful event. Every organization is required to send one representative to those meetings, in order to remain eligible for the UBC funding.

Schollaert runs both the SOF meetings and the CSG Senate meetings as Parliamentarian.

A large number of the events held on campus are partially or fully funded by the Undergraduate Budget Committee (UBC), which is run by Claire Swauger, a senior majoring in Environmental Science at Chatham and the CSG Vice President of Finances. UBC is another branch of CSG.

According to Swauger, UBC was given a budget of $30,000 this year, which UBC is responsible for dispensing properly. “Student organizations come to us, present an event with a special funds request, and according to the UBC constitution or methods of order, we decide how to allocate those funds” added Swauger.

UBC meetings are held every other Tuesday and requests should be handed in four weeks in advance.

“We always try to be fair, and follow the guidelines for how we distribute funds. Things that happen on Chatham are given first priority, and if they collaborate with a lot of organizations, that gets priority as well.”

The CSG Constitution and UBC Methods of Order can be accessed on myChatham under Documents and Forms, Student Affairs.

CSG has been working on “Town Hall Information Sessions,” which is kind of a press conference release that is held every Thursday in January. In those sessions, each administration person from each category comes and discusses the students’ concerns with them.

All the information about the CSG meetings is open to the public, whether in hard copies or online. CSG announcements can also be reached at CSGSTUGOVT on Twitter, or on the Facebook page: Chatham Student Government, which is updated every Thursday to broadcast the meetings.

“We are all students here, and we want to get the most out of our four years in the happiest way possible, so if you have a concern, we probably have it too!” Schollaert said.