StuCo passes Levering student union request

By David Crandall | October 11, 2001

Student Council approved a resolution to turn Levering Union into a student union effective Jan. 1, 2002. The resolution, which will be delivered to Dean of Student Life Susan Boswell and possibly other administrators, calls for most of Levering Union to be "locked up" for student use, rather than the current policy of allowing different academic departments and non-student groups to use the building.

"We want to make the student union a student union," said Anuj Mittal, executive president of Student Council, in reference to Levering's designation as a student union despite its lack of use as one.

The resolution, proposed by Mittal and Class of 2002 President Stephen Goutman, is only the first step in transforming Levering into a student union. If administrators accept the resolution and reserve Levering Union for student use, more specific plans for the student union will materialize, although some ideas have already been put forth.

"We were thinking about making the Great Hall into a giant, permanent lounge," said Mittal. Other plans include turning the Sherwood Room into a game room, putting a restaurant in E-Level, bringing in a business such as a Pizza Hut and allowing students to start up non-profit business ventures.

"This is a service to bring students together," said Goutman. "It will drastically improve student life at Homewood."

One feature of the resolution is allowing students access to Levering all the time. Currently, students use the building for only "four hours a day," according to Goutman. The rest of the day, students are allowed into the building, although some of the main rooms - including the Sherwood room and the Great Hall - are often off-limits to students.

"If we don't have a student union all the time, students wouldn't know when to go there," said Goutman.

Various groups use Levering Union for events ranging from rushing to hosting speakers to holding fairs. The schedule for rooms in Levering has already been planned though the end of the year, at which point student council intends the building to be reserved for student use and events benefiting students.

"This is a symbolic stand by the student council saying we want, need, demand a student union," said Goutman.

Mittal talked about the chance for students to start businesses in Levering. Although any profits from such ventures would most likely go to charity, Mittal hopes such ventures would allow students to get job experience while serving the needs of other students and funding charities.

Student Council also approved several people to hold positions in the Board of Elections (BOE) and the Committee on Leadership Appointments (COLA).

Among the new COLA representatives are Class of 2003 Representative Priti Dalal and Class of 2002 Representative Grey Emmons. They complete the COLA board, which except for a yet to be elected freshman, is composed of 2004 Rep Jackie Chan, Emmons, Dalal and COLA Chair Priya Sarin.

The COLA positions are limited to Student Council members. The COLA constitution mandates that the board be made of one executive council member and one representative from each class.

Student Council also approved the addition of a rotating member of COLA. The board member is to be selected by the Executive Board and will not necessarily be a council member.

"Aside from [Dahal], everybody on COLA will be new," said Sarin. Although COLA had trouble with appointments last year, Sarin believes this year's COLA will be better than ever.

Council also approved junior Aaron Sacks and freshman Mary Keough to BOE.

"I'm a [computer science] major [and] hopefully I can help," said Sacks. "One of the problems last year was computer crashes."

Keough and Sacks hope to improve voter turnout in this year's elections while making the process faster for students. Their first election will be Oct. 22, when the freshman class officers will be elected.

Student Council also amended the Student Activities Council (SAC) constitution. Although part of the constitution was moved to the SAC bylines, the move shouldn't change any function of SAC.

The reform committee for the Student Council constitution continues to meet every Saturday. Council members Goutman and Class of 2004 President Bob Alleman presented their versions of the changes. While Alleman's version called for a new hierarchy in Student Council groups, Goutman's called for only four reps from each class- a major change.

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