Two very important things I want to emphasize for this week’s President’s Corner:
(1) Ballot Initiative: With our Election Week fast approaching (campaign week begins Wednesday, March 30 at 8am and concludes Wednesday, April 6), it’s so important that we have members of our student body submit ballot initiatives.
What are ballot initiatives? First off, they’re a great way to have your voice heard on campus. Ballot initiatives are issues of importance that have access to allocated CG funding—exactly 2% of the Student Activities Fee or a total $11,000. These issues are voted on in every election season and are part of the ballot that you also will submit when voting for your incoming 2016-2017 CG Cabinet.
You may recognize the $11,000 from another value that I and the rest of CG this year have spoken a lot about in House Councils and Senate. President Bottomly’s gift of $11,000 at the beginning of this school year—the same $11,000 that had been allocated to fund Ideafest and winning Ideafest proposals—had been a way of replenishing the ballot initiative funds that had, last year and years prior, gone to the winning ballot initiative: the Student Leadership Stipend. For many years, the idea to compensate student leaders was submitted to Senate as a ballot initiative by a group of House Presidents, students-at-large, FYMs, and RAs. And for many years, this same ballot initiative had received a majority of votes from all of campus on Election Day to receive $11,000 worth of funding. Because this year and moving forward, student leaders will be receiving formal compensation from the College, there is no longer a need to apply for CG’s ballot initiative. We at CG are hoping that this will provide another opportunity for students to identify issues that they are passionate about changing as well as a year-long source of funding that can help alleviate that issue.
In order to be submitted to Senate as a ballot initiative, an issue must:
-represent, affect, and serve the entire student body
-be used on-campus and be achievable within one year (in our case, the 2016-2017 academic year)
-publicize and open all meetings and membership
-be an initiative that does not interfere with college infrastructure
Would you like to bring free cooking classes to one of every Wellesley residence hall? Or perhaps recreational art classes with professional artists? How about a system to subsidize rides for students to off-campus health clinics? Or a neighborhood-based printing system? Two or three-ply toilet paper? The options are endless.
If you have an idea for a ballot initiative (and you’ve checked that it fulfills all the aforementioned criteria above), all you need to do is generate a proposal as well as a list of potential costs as well as collect signatures from 5% of the student body—this totals out to roughly 115 or 120 names and can easily be taken down via google form or over a few hours in high-traffic public spaces. From there, we’ll invite you to Senate and take an official vote. If your vote passes by majority, you’ll be in the running on our Elections Ballot to receive $11,000 toward your idea!
(2) Elections Committee: We’re still looking for three students-at-large to join various Cabinet members, Senators, as well as Multicultural Presidents’ Council and House Presidents’ Council representatives on EC. The application due date has been extended from last Friday to this Friday, March 4 by midnight. This is a perfect opportunity to have a say in the tone of our CG elections process, how our community debates topics that matter, and how our community translates our values of fairness and equity into tangible campaign practices. I encourage you all to apply via the SOAC application process—you can find it on their Google site as well as through your campus email if you search “elections committee”.
Lastly, I will be holding open office hours in the CG/Bursar’s Office again today (Wednesday, March 2) from 6:00pm-8:30pm. If you have a question about any of these items, would like to chat about something, or just want to come in and say hi, I’d love to see you. And, of course, you can always feel free to reach out to me in person or via email to schedule another time.
All my best,