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ISSUE 118 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/5/2004

Committees review options

By Matthew Simenstad
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 5, 2004

Committees review options By:Matthew Simenstad

Student Government Association (SGA) is growing in popularity among administration, faculty and other campus entities such as the bookstore and Informational and Instructional Technologies (IIT), who are asking SGA to create committees of students for the purpose of researching and investigating new ideas that will help improve life at St. Olaf.

SGA is having no trouble filling positions inside the organizations. In fact, SGA President Seth Heringer '05 said that they are doing quite well regarding membership.

"SGA is thriving," Heringer said. "Weve probably had more people [apply] than we could actually use. I felt bad because we actually had to turn away some people who applied for spots because we had already filled them."

Finding students who can devote time and energy to small groups, however, still remains an issue for SGA.

To the best of Heringer's knowledge, creating smaller groups to help assess various aspects of a campus life is a completely new role for SGA.

"The administration coming to us to fill committees is a totally new thing," Heringer said. "I dont remember having to do anything close to this [in the past]."

Heringer, however, likes the added participation in student life. "I think its awesome that the administration is trying to improve St. Olaf like this," he said.

Small groups being formed to report on aspects of student life include a Registration Committee, a Bookstore Advisory Committee, a Student Rights Committee and a Buntrock Advisory Committee.

Two of the new committees SGA needed to fill this year were the One Card System Committee and the Intellectual Diversity Committee.

The One Card System Committee is looking into establishing one all-purpose card, such as a debit card with money to be used on campus and a key card for residence halls.

Students would be able to charge printing, copying, cafeteria and Cage purchases, and would possibly be able to use it at some Northfield businesses or for laundry.

The committee will report on the possible effects of such a card and present its findings to the administration and the Board of Regents.

The Intellectual Diversity Committee has been asked to define intellectual diversity, collect student opinions on the subject, and to report on its pertinence to St. Olaf.

The committee will assess the possible presence of intellectual intimidation in the classrooms, as well as the ability of students, staff and faculty to understand and respect the opinions of people and groups with whom they disagree.

While SGA was able to successfully get these two committees and several others up and running at the beginning of the year, the administration has again asked them to form several other committees to complete similar reports for other areas of campus.

Heringer wondered if more committees would be able to start at this point in the academic year.

"Im worried were not going to be able to fill [the committees] after midterms," Heringer said. People dont seem to be interested in adding things to their plate."

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