The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met for the first time this semester in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room on Sunday night. At the meeting, senators discussed housing updates and various committee projects.
Office of Residential Life and Learning (ResLife) Director Yolanda King, Director for Campus Life Joe Golia, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Chris Rossi and Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs Raymond Ou attended the meeting as special guests and gave a presentation about changes to the housing system.
In the future, according to the administrators, first-years will all be placed in first-year exclusive dorms, with the exceptions of Metcalf Hall, which will contain students from all four classes, and Harleston Hall, which will be half first-years and half sophomores.
King also described the role of the newly-created First Year Advisors (FYAs). An FYA, according to King, is a student who will live in one of the first-year-exclusive halls. They will serve as guides and mentors to the first-year students, providing them with resources and creating a positive social environment.
The other halls on campus will be dedicated to sophomores and above, and instead of FYAs, they will have Community Development Advisors (CDAs). CDAs will facilitate a positive community culture like FYAs, but their work will be geared toward upperclassmen. Their role is to encourage communities that people have already established and contribute to personal and academic development, according to the administrators.
There will be about 100 FYAs, CDAs and existing Academic and Community Engagement (ACE) Fellows. ResLife will also hire an Associate Director of Housing Operations who will be responsible for managing various aspects of the on-campus housing system and assisting students with off-campus housing, the administrators said.
In addition to these changes, the orientation program is going to be modified. Part of the 100-person housing staff will now help lead orientation groups, according to the administrators.
Finally, the administration officials talked about changes to the lottery system. Lottery numbers will now be released on a year-by-year basis in November, instead of releasing the numbers for all three years at once. Also, instead of the senior year number being an inverse of the sophomore year number, now all three numbers will be completely randomized. Additionally, the size of a group of students applying to live in suite-style dorms such as Wren Hall has gone from 10 to five.
The administrators took questions from senators throughout the presentation.
Following their presentation, TCU Senate Treasurer Chris Leaverton took to the floor to discuss two supplementary funding requests.
One request came from The Institute Sketch Comedy, which requested funding for a rental car and gas to go to a comedy festival at Skidmore College. The Allocations Board (ALBO) matched its request, and it passed by acclamation in the body.
The second request was from Tufts Ballroom Dance Team for two buses to go to a dance competition at Rhode Island College. ALBO matched the request, and it also passed by acclamation.
Leaverton, a sophomore, then reminded everyone that budgeting processes for student groups will begin soon and signatories for student groups should be reminded and notified of upcoming deadlines. Each of the nine members of ALBO is assigned to a council that corresponds to a different category of student groups. The ALBO member is responsible for budgeting the groups that fall within the category of council they oversee.
TCU Senate Vice President Shai Slotky then took the floor to announce a Strategic Plan meeting and ask for committee updates.
Education Committee Chair Nesi Altaras went first to announce that the linguistics minor is back. Next, Diversity and Community Affairs Officer Benya Kraus said that Culture, Ethnicity, Community Affairs (CECA) Committee members are screen-printing #NoDAPL shirts and will sell them in Mayer Campus Center on a sliding scale of a $15-25 suggested donation. Kraus, a junior, also mentioned Medford Conversations, a project for promoting and acting on positive visions for Medford through conversation. The project is looking for more participants from the Tufts community, according to Kraus.
Kraus then recognized the Swipe It Forward initiative, an online meal bank through which students can donate meal swipes to other students who need them. Students on premium meal plans can give one swipe, while those on limited plans can give up to four.
Finally, TCU Senate President Gauri Seth took the floor to talk about Tufts Community Conversations: A Diversity Reverse Career Fair on Feb. 9, where student organizations will set up tables for employers to view, instead of the other way around. It is not a typical networking opportunity, according to Seth, a senior, as it allows organizations to notify student groups of internships and other opportunities.
Seth concluded the meeting by encouraging everyone to take care in light of recent national events.