July 18, 2019

Agenda driven by students

The Delegates’ Agenda has undergone a makeover throughout the years. John Buck, director of Housing and Residential Life, said that in 1998 the Delegates’ Agenda was basically “a complain and moan session.”

University Center Director John Ginsburg said the Delegates’ Agenda used to be a round table discussion between students and the administration. Student leaders would meet on a Friday once a year to discuss issues, and then at 3 p.m. the same day, the issues were presented to the president and an administrative panel.

“It looked very different. There was no presentation or research,” Ginsburg said.

SGA President Justin Raymundo said he remembers his freshman year when seven top issues were presented. Now only five issues are selected, and he believes the biggest difference is the “response aspect from the administration.”

“We would put them in the hot seat and wanted an answer in five minutes,” said Raymundo, a junior international human relations major.

But in 2008, former President Richard Meyers had a scheduling conflict and could not meet at 3 p.m. on that Friday. The conflict left a week gap between the student meeting and talking to the administration.

During a conversation, Buck and Ginsburg then decided to use that week for the Advanced Leaders Retreat in which the student leaders would develop a presentation with research for the administration.

Ted Hoef, Dean of Students, said the process change was “part good design and part luck.”

“I can just remember John Ginsburg and I having a conversation and it coming up. We thought, ‘What if we work on the Delegate’s Agenda at the retreat?’ We both went, ‘Holy cow that could be great!’” Buck said. “And boom! They could work on networking and giving a good presentation. They could make a good clear proposal to continue dialogue, create dialogue.”

Some of the changes that came from the Delegates’ Agenda include the campus-wide wireless internet access, commuter lounge, the improved Quad and the opportunity to have a second minor, among others.

Lauren Meyer, a graduate student and former Delegates’ Agenda presenter, said she remembers her experience at the Advanced Leaders’ Retreat as a pretty intense experience.

“It was more serious that I realized,” Meyer said. “It was the first time I felt like a leader on campus.”

Now the Delegates’ Agenda is not only creates dialogue, but also collaboration between students, student leaders and the administration, Buck said.

“It’s a constant pipeline of changes and solutions for the campus. The process is to fix new issues and collaborate and work on old ones,” Raymundo said. “There’s more of a push to bring students, administration and faculty to the table to fix problems.”

The administration has knowledge of some issues, but the Delegates’ Agenda helps highlight them, Ted Hoef said.

“The administration knew it needed to be renovated but students work on the Delegates’ Agenda may have accelerated that,” Hoef said.

Ginsburg said that a lot of the changes students don’t realize our changes from the Delegates’ Agenda.

“They are changes we take for granted,” Ginsburg said.

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