The College Government President’s Council’s (CGPC) second annual Ideafest, which was held in December 2015, served as a forum for students to collaborate and solve on-campus issues using College Government (CG) funds allocated for that purpose.
Ultimately the student body of Wellesley College voted for eight ideas, most of which were implemented at the end of the last semester. For instance, “Textbook Lending Library,” one of the only ideas that followed through with their plan, was meant to allow students to check out textbooks for free. That project began on May 2, when any student could come to the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center’s Cow Chair room with any textbooks that they wanted to donate to other students.
The Wellesley College Senate had allocated $11,000 in funding to winning Ideafest ideas for that year. In comparison, only $2,000 was allocated in total to Ideafest in its first year in 2014. In Ideafest’s inaugural year, two winning ideas, a Facebook group for tracking the Peter Pan and free community hoops for Wellesley College seniors, were successfully implemented.
This semester the winning Ideafest teams have not made much progress on their ideas because the 2016-17 CPGC was just formed on Oct. 4.
“There has not been any concrete feedback on how that event went or how it impacts this year’s students,” 2015-16 CGPC member Kavindya Thennakoon ’19 said. “However, the textbook lending library got a lot of organizations, such as the First Generation Network involved with textbook lending even after Ideafest.”
Meanwhile, the “Give a Token, Take a Token” idea, which was created to lower Peter Pan transportation costs, sent out a survey on Feb. 23 to all CGPC members regarding how often they travel off campus, whether or not the Peter Pan bus charge of $3 per ride is too much and so on. The results were not released to CGPC members. Additionally, the “Science Center Sanctuary” initiative, which was produced to enhance science center lighting, sent out a similar questionnaire gauging how often people study in the science center and what they would like to improve about it.
“There has not been any execution for the token project,” Thennakoon said. “It’s difficult in terms of ensuring follow-up, but Ideafest is great because it gets people involved and creates a space for people to come up with ideas on how to solve campus-wide problems.”
Another initiative, “Breathing Space,” was formed in order to set up seating in the Academic quad and promote socialization and outdoor events. The “Breathing Space” idea proposal stated that they would utilize $1000, Wellesley Spontaneous Moments in the Lives of Everyday Students (SMiLES), the Office of Sustainability and the Landscape Committee to implement the project, but there is still no seating in the academic quad.
“I actually don’t know anything about this, and everything SMiLES-related goes through me and the other cofounder, Anne [Dickinson Meltz ’16],” SMiLES co-founder Hannah Ruebeck ’16 said. “I think the Ideafest must have gone on without coordinating with SMiLES.”
The “Charge It Up!” initiative, which proposed placing a charging station and Mac and PC chargers available for loan in the Leaky Beaker, additionally did not implement their proposal. Many airports in the United States and abroad are adding charging stations due to high demand.
“There was not enough effort put into carrying out winning ideas,” 2015-16 CGPC member Ellie Chalphin ’19 said. “But my favorite part was that it brought together a lot of people who did not previously know each other and required them to work together effectively and efficiently.”
On the other hand, “Turn Up for the Tassel,” which was created to be a cap and gown loan program, purchased and distributed approximately 25 sets of caps and gowns for student use last year, according to 2015-16 Stone-Davis Senator Katelyn Campbell ’17.
The final two projects were “Putting the STUDENT back in the STUDENT Center,” which was meant to furnish the student center and make it more of a ‘hang out’ space, and “Tap that!”, which was supposed to create an app for students to locate the Peter Pan bus and virtually exchange bus tokens. Those involved with those projects did not respond to requests for a quote.
Despite a seeming lack of progression on most of Ideafest’s winning ideas, Thennakoon said that the 2016-17 CGPC could carry out implementation of the ideas.
“Last year, there was such a genuine interest to get people involved, and [2015-16 CGPC President] Adeline Lee ’16 put so much passion into this,” Thennakoon said. “The whole college government in general did as well.”