2018 Student Body Direct Elections

The chief role of the Elections Committee is to administer the annual Student Body Direct Election.  We began this task by revising the Direct Elections Manual, the document that governs the election itself, and then moved on to planning and facilitating events and monitoring the Election Period.  

With a team of eleven members, we set the guidelines for the election and checked to ensure all Candidates were eligible, and then promptly moved into the Election Period with two official Slates.  During this time, we also oversaw the Referenda submission process, in which twenty-three proposed Referenda questions were submitted to be placed on the ballot.  We held a Town Hall in which Referenda sponsors explained their submissions and answered audience questions, and then moved into the Senate-vetting and signature-collection portions of the process.  In total, four questions were placed on the 2018 ballot.

For almost two weeks, Slates and Referenda Sponsors worked to campaign to students across campus.  During this time, the Elections Committee held a Public Debate for Candidates to participate and answer questions before the ballot went live.  We then began the Voting Period with our Elections-Kickoff event, a BBQ held in the Library Quad.  We also held a Stuffed Huskies event the following week, and tabled twice in Curry Crossroads, encouraging all undergraduate students to vote on my.Northeastern.  On Monday, March 26th, Nathan Hostert and Dylan Balcom were announced as the next Student Body President and Executive Vice President, respectively.  The results of the Referenda questions were announced after, with all four questions passing.  In total, we achieved a record-breaking voter turnout 7,921 votes, equivalent to 41.70% of the undergraduate population.

- Kathleen Ballard, Elections Chair

GEO Advisory Council Completion Report

The goal of this project was to facilitate increased feedback and communication between
students and the Global Experience Office (GEO). GEO is the office that helps facilitate all global
experiences offered by Northeastern, including study abroad, Dialogue of Civilizations, and international co-op. Academic Affairs Committee Delegate Jamie Nemzer partnered with GEO to launch the inaugural GEO Student Advisory Council. The council is made up of undergraduate student representatives from each academic college and a SGA representative. The SGA representative, in this case Delegate Nemzer, chairs the council. The goal of the council is to provide feedback to GEO on its programs and outreach to students. The council will facilitate close collaboration between students and GEO, which will in turn enable the effective expansion of global opportunities to more students and improved facilitation of global programs by GEO. Moving forward, the advisory council will be an ongoing initiative of the SGA Academic Affairs Committee and Global Experience Office.

- Joshua Driesman, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Co-op Manual Project Completion Report

The main goal of this project was to conduct a review of the policies outlined in both the
student and employer versions of the co-op manual. These manuals are updated every year and this year SGA wanted to make sure that student input was heard during the update process. Academic affairs wanted to make sure that all applicable student rights are outlined appropriately in both manuals. Senator Michael Kennet took on the primary responsibility of reviewing the manuals and put together a list of recommendations to bring to the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services. This review turned up several places where language could be clarified to improve clarity for students, such as highlighting statistics about the percentage of students who go on co-op. The review also raised several questions about policy which were addressed during the meeting of the Cooperative Education Office. The next step is for SGA to propose specific language about equal pay for equal work that allows for flexibility across a variety of legal jurisdictions.

- Joshua Driesman, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Reaching Out Program Continued its Work to Bridge the Gap between SGA and Campus Organizations

The last couple of months have been dedicated to bridging the gap between SGA and all other organizations on campus in the Reaching Out Program. The Outreach Coordinators involved in the program and I have worked to accomplish these main objectives: increase communication from us to you through monthly emails, communication from you to us through feedback, and communication between us by inviting you be a part of this organization. Above all, strengthening our relationship so we can better partner to work on initiatives together. Of course, the work does not stop as the program comes to an end, from here on, we work to improve not only our relationship with you and your organization, but this very organization so it can better suit your needs. And, we do so through the data gathered from the program. Our next steps will be to create initiatives to improve our Finance Board in the areas of accessibility, communication, support, resources, and transparency while increasing space availability for your use on campus. We deeply thank you for that feedback you provided!

- Erykah Yasmine Kangbeya, Director of Outreach
kangbeya.e@husky.neu.edu

 

The Student Involvement Board Worked with 66 Campus Groups During the Year

The Student Involvement Board has had a very successful past year, working with student organizations and the Center for Student Involvement to not only continue assisting groups before and after recognition but also to reflect on how we operate and how we can improve those processes to better serve the student body. In addition, several changes have come about through Northeastern's administration that SIB is eager to partner with and see how our skills can best be put to use.

To start off with a few statistics, SIB has directly worked with 66 tentative or officially groups over the past year, and this number doesn't even count the numerous other groups that have worked on small projects with the Board or who have come through the Board for conflict resolution. Of those 66 groups, a majority of them had to deal with recognition, and an overwhelming majority of that subset were approved, allowing these groups to bring their ideas, goals, and programs to Northeastern. Most of the other groups had to deal with constitution amendments, and SIB worked with those clubs to make sure that they could make the right changes to keep their organizations running smoothly. For some other numbers, the Board kept its full roster of 13 members for almost the entirety of the year, and it is poised to start the next academic year with a strong foundation of experience and energy,

Of the notable projects that the Board has undertaken during the past year, there was the exit survey for groups going through the recognition process; the Involvement monthly initiative sponsored by SGA that helped acquire a good deal of valuable information relating to student groups; updates to the governing documents that detail our rules and procedures; and new abilities to actively investigate reports of offenses or complaints by organizations. All of these projects were initiated with the goal of improving students' experiences in how they dealt with the groups they chose to partake in, and the results of this work have already begun to show the fruits of this labor.

Looking forward, the Board is looking to capitalize on its recent successes and continue that momentum in the future. Specifically, there are three places where SIB feels that it can be of service. First is the new proposed system for recognizing student groups at Northeastern. While all the details have not yet been hammered out, the Board knows that it will still play a significant part in what this procedure will look like, and the Chair and members will do everything possible to make sure that none of the changes negatively impact the student body. Secondly, with the start of regular, quarterly meetings between CSI and SGA/SIB, the Board hopes to be able to more proactively and quickly act on the needs and suggestions of student organizations. This relationship will likely yield important dividends in the form of an administration that is more attuned to what students really want and need. Lastly, the Board will be working internally to improve its transparency and make sure that students understand what's happening when they come to work with us. Every experience that groups have with us should be easy to understand and easy to come to a resolution.

After a good year, the Student Involvement Board members know that they have a high bar to measure themselves again for next year, but they feel up to the challenge. We all look forward to working with you to improve the sphere of student involvement at Northeastern!

-Brian Hamp, VP for Student Involvement

Student Services Works to Provide Recycling Bins in Every On-Campus Apartment

Over the past few months, Northeastern SGA’s Student Services committee has worked with the director of residential life, Brie McCormick in order to put a recycling bin in every on-campus apartment. After one conversation with Brie, she was on board with our initiative and worked with other members of residential life and facilities to bring this to campus starting Fall 2018. Each recycling bin will be accounted for and each student in the apartment will be responsible for ensuring the recycling bin is there when they move out which is the same way they would be responsible for a bed frame or a table. The way this would be done would be the recycling bin being put in on the “check in” sheet that is signed by both RA who inspects the room before the student moves in and the student when they move into the room. By making students responsible for the bins, it reduces the likelihood that the bins will be stolen which will hopefully help drive more students to recycle.

In order to get this project done, we reached out to Brie in early November to discuss it hoping for a Fall 2018 rollout but thinking it would take a lot of convincing. However, she was immediately on board which allowed us to talk next steps in the meeting which is “how will students know about this.” This led us to come up with a social media campaign which will roll out during late August and early September informing students of this initiative. We also hope to encourage RA’s to have bulletin boards with information on the proper way to recycle. If you have any questions on this, please feel free to reach out to the VP of Student Service, Sahil Kadakia at Kadakia.s@Husky.neu.edu.

NU.in Integration Initiative

This semester the Student Affairs Committee placed a large focus on the improvement of N.U.in student integration on campus. With the help of newly-arrived N.U.in students, the committee launched an initiative to focus on improving the campus transition for N.U.in students and bringing together students who spent their first semester abroad. Committee members held meetings with various offices, including the Office of New Student Orientation and the N.U.in office, to discuss possible ideas. To promote this initiative, the Student Affairs Committee held two main events throughout the semester: tabling sessions and a reunion brunch.

The committee tabled for N.U.in students on the 7th and 8th of February in the lobbies of the Stetson East and International Village residence halls. The purpose of the tabling sessions was to hand out resources for newly-arrived N.U.in students that they might useful. These included guides to printing on campus, campus maps, schedules for dining halls, and maps of printer locations. After collecting information from SGA's Monthly Initiative Surveys and getting feedback from N.U.in students, the committee created booths where N.U.in students could ask any questions about student life that they had in their first few weeks on campus. Tabling also allowed the committee to gather useful information on what N.U.in students thought of their transition and what they think should be changed for next year. 

To further the N.U.in integration project, the Student Affairs Committee also organized a "Reunion Brunch" for N.U.in students on the 8th of April. SGA was able to close off the entirety of International Village for N.U.in students to reunite with students from their trips, as well as meet with students from other N.U.in locations. The committee collaborated with the Resident Student Association to have fun programs during the brunch. In addition, the committee utilized the brunch to gather more useful feedback about N.U.instudents' experiences in transitioning to life on campus, which was brought to the N.U.in office, and helped spur discussions on the creation of a "N.U.in Integration Task Force" amongst campus offices and student groups to address this issue. The event was very successful and the Student Affairs Committee look forward to continuing the initiative next year!  

 

A Note From Your Director of Senate Outreach

The last couple of months have been dedicated to bridging the gap between SGA and all other organizations on campus in the Reaching Out Program. The Outreach Coordinators involved in the program and I have worked to accomplish one thing: increase communication between us...communication from us to you through monthly emails, communications from you to us through feedback, communication between us by inviting you be a part of this organization. Above all, strengthening our relationship so we can better partner to work on initiatives together. Of course, the work does stop as the program comes to an end, from here on, we work to improve not only our relationship with you and your organization, but this very organization so it can better suit your needs!

-Director of Outreach, Erykah Yasmine Kangbeya

kangbeya.e@husky.neu.edu

SGA Jamboree!

The SGA Jamboree was planned by the Communications and Events Committee and was held on March 30th. 

This was an engaging event where SGA could communicate with its constituents. Tables were set up in Curry with representatives from multiple SGA committees. This gave students the opportunity to complete surveys providing feedback about what they would like to see SGA doing in the future to improve their university experience. 

With a carnival theme, the event featured games such as cornhole and giant connect four. Smaller giveaways included SGA stickers and pens. 

This event was extremely successful and gave us valuable insight into the student body’s views on SGA and what we can do better. 

Snell Vending Machine Changes

Student Services Committee has partnered with Dining to offer more healthy options in Snell Library Vending Machines. Student Services worked with dining to identify seldom purchased products and replace them with some of students favorite healthy options.

The committee added a variety of new products to the vending machines including banana chips and peanut butter, protein bars, and sweet potato chips. These snacks were selected by committee members as being things that students have talked about or like. “We are really excited to offer more variety to students. Students have healthy choices across campus and we think the vending machines should be no exception” said Emma Reed (Incoming VP of Student Services) Northeastern has taken healthy eating very seriously recently with dining halls emphasizing sustainable and healthy eating and offering more variety for students.

Students across campus have often talked about the limited options for food available to students late at night. Vending machines are often the only food options available on campus late at night. Therefore, making vending machines have more variety is important to helping students have choices no matter the time of day. Student Services thought that offering more filling and healthy options to students in the vending machines would be the next step in making Northeastern a place where healthy choices are more convenient. “We are using the third floor vending machines as our pilot, but are hoping to expand to vending machines across campus in the future,” said Sahil Kadakia (Current VP of Student Services). Be sure to check out the new options in the third floor vending machines!

A Note From Your Director of Senate Engagement

As the Director of Senate Engagement, I was lucky enough to help organize the SGA team for Relay for Life to show our support for the event as well as foster a positive community both within and outside SGA. In addition, we were able to bring SGA support to the Women’s Track and Field team by assembling a team of SGA members who attended the event, encouraged our Women’s Track and Field team and showed our support for Northeastern athletics.

 

- Director of Senate Engagement, Nisha Rangarajan
rangarajan.n@husky.neu.edu

Our First Podcast!

This year SGA’s Communication and Events Committee started something new by creating a podcast! It consisted of a few short segments to educate students on some of the initiatives SGA has been working on. It was meant to be short and informative so that people could listen to it and feel more connected to the important projects we have completed. In the first episode we spoke to President Suchira Sharma about some basic topics regarding SGA. We also asked VP Joshua Driesman about his work on updating the Student Bill of Rights. To finish off, we discussed the Student Leadership Access Awards, now knows as the Pursuit of Leadership Awards, with EDOC Collin Walter. The podcast is important because it is yet another way to reach students and inform them about the events our student government has been planning. It can help build a bridge between members of the executive board and students that don’t have time to or would prefer not to join Senate. To continue this we are hoping that new episodes could come out monthly or biweekly with new content and updates. Our main goal is to inform but it would definitely would be fun to add in some contests or funny segments. We want the audience to engage as well and hopefully add a question and answer period in which students could send in their own thoughts.

February Monthly Initiative '18

The February Monthly Initiative focused on Student Services at Northeastern, specifically Housing, the RedEye service, and UHCS Mental Health resources.

Below are the takeaways from this initiative:

Housing:

  • Students would like to have more information regarding future dorm placements, either through dorm tours, pictures, or more detailed floor plans
  • More transparency regarding the Housing Lottery system
  • Keep increasing awareness of Gender Neutral Housing options
  • Reconsider on-campus housing requirement for Second Year students

RedEye:

  • Very few undergrad students use the RedEye service, mostly because they don't need it, but some because they aren't aware
  • Many students unaware of the new TransLoc app, and of RedEye service overall

Mental Health Care:

  • Clinicians are generally friendly
  • Delay in scheduling can be a serious concern
  • Referral quality needs improvement
  • Group therapy sessions are not commonly used, many students unaware of resource
  • General satisfaction with mental health resources is poor

Check out our updates here, or look below!

Budget Priorities Survey '17-'18

Your Tuition

Three months ago we made you a promise: to give you a say in the way your tuition was spent.

To everyone who took the time to fill out our Budget Priorities Survey this year, thank you. Your faith in this project’s capacity to create change allowed us to see a 25% increase in survey participation. You made this year’s results some of the most compelling and change-driven we’ve ever seen.

We’ve read through every comment on UHCS, every concern on college resources, and every free response on what makes this school home to you. Your feedback is invaluable. Thank you for sharing your vision for a better Northeastern with us.

Based on these survey results, we’ve identified four areas where student demand for change was the highest. They were:

  1. Support for Campus Centers
  2. Access of UHCS
  3. Affordability of Meal Plans
  4. College-specific resources

We’ll be presenting the results from these areas, along with our recommendations for improvement, to the University’s Senior Leadership Team, and our Senate, later this month, and we can’t wait to report back on the change that is effected from that.

Thank you for lending us your voice to guide our school forward. Thank you for believing in our student government.

Yours,

Suchira Sharma, Student Body President
Paulina Ruiz, Student Body Vice President


Check out the Budget Priorities Presentation here or by looking below!

December/January Monthly Initiative '18

The monthly initiative for December and January focused on the theme of student involvement. By gathering feedback on key information relevant to event attendance, event variety, and overall satisfaction with events, the Finance Board was able to obtain a better understanding of the desires and needs of the Student Body. With over 400 different student organizations at Northeastern University, the Finance Board makes funding decisions that emphasize collaboration, which directly promotes campus unity and high quality events. After synthesizing all the data that was gathered, it became evident to the Finance Board that having a central source to view all the upcoming events on campus was a huge priority for Student Body. This would allow more students to become aware of opportunities to get involved in whatever capacity they desired. Furthermore, it was clear that events could be marketed online much more efficiently. The Finance Board will also be revising the SAF manual to provide more funding for marketing materials, both physical and digital. Improving this area would, of course, require collaboration between SGA and student organizations.

 

Meanwhile, the Student Involvement Board took several steps to assess and respond to the desires of the Student Body and its organizations as they concern club engagement on campus. The most obvious example of this was through the monthly initiative survey circulated among students and the organizations to which they belong. Other avenues included updating the template constitution off of which all organizations base their governing documents in order to clarify some things and smooth the process of receiving official recognition; creating a flowchart detailing all the steps required in order to gain tentative and official recognition; and responding to student concerns brought up by groups en masse and/or regularly by organizations. All of these culminated in a better understanding of how, for example, students want to be informed of new clubs, or what could better encourage collaboration among groups. With all the data collected, the Student Involvement Board is better able to understand the priorities of the student body and move forward with those action items in mind.

 

Data collected through this monthly initiative has been tremendously helpful for the Finance Board, the Student Involvement Board, and the Student Government Association to understand the needs of the Student Body as they relate to student involvement on campus. In the next few months, board members and other relevant parties will be working to resolve the issues brought up and make for a richer, more involved environment at Northeastern.

Check out the updates here, or look below!

October Monthly Initiative '17

The October Monthly Initiative focused on promoting community at Northeastern. The two major components of this initiative included organizing the block pARTy event and gathering feedback.

The first way we promoted community was by hosting SGA's first annual block pARTy event, which celebrated student artwork on campus. SGA partnered with over 20 art groups to give them space in Curry throughout the day on October 17 to table, host workshops, perform, and recruit new members. The event was a success, and it was a great first step toward ensuring that arts groups get the recognition they deserve.

We also gathered feedback on community at Northeastern via a survey focusing on various aspects of student life at Northeastern. We advertised the survey by spreading it on social media and tabling, and the data we collected will be crucial to driving projects in the Student Affairs Committee—which include improving the on-campus transition of NUin students, creating a Community Asset Map to encourage community engagement, and revising the Code of Student Conduct.

 

Check out the October Monthly Initiative presentation here, or by reading below!

Direct Elections Manual Revisions

On Monday, November 27th, representatives from SGA’s Elections Committee presented a revised version of the Direct Elections Manual (DEM) to the Senate. The Senate approved the revisions unanimously that night, and the new DEM will go into effect starting on January 1st, 2018.

The DEM is the governing document that outlines and dictates how our annual Student Body Direct Election is managed. Under the direction of Elections Chair Kathleen Ballard, the Elections Committee took to revising the DEM that was used in the 2017 Direct Election. This highly contested election between the “Suchira + Paulina: Believe in More” and “Bender-Grondin: ReNUal” campaigns resulted in considerable attention by the press and the Student Body. Misunderstandings of and vagueness in the language of the previous DEM resulted in multiple formal grievance hearings investigating both slates for alleged violations of the manual. As a result, Ballard collected feedback from both slates in order to guide her committee in drafting a new and improved document.

Some examples of key changes to the DEM include the introduction of formal agreements that may be made between slates that would be enforced pursuant to the manual, changes to the grievance hearing process that would protect the identities of witnesses, changes to the emergency nominations process and campaign financing procedures, and the addition of more definitions to the glossary. These changes aim to make the Student Body Direct Election fairer for candidates, less vague for campaign workers, and more conducive to SGA’s goal of promoting peaceful transitions of power from one administration to the next.

 

You can view the new DEM on our Governing Documents page. If you have any questions about the Student Body Direct Election, please reach out to Elections Chair Kathleen Ballard at ballard.k@husky.neu.edu .

TRACE Updates

 
TRACE Updates.png

Over the fall 2017 semester, the Academic Affairs Committee has been working closely with the Faculty Senate to add course material questions to TRACE. These questions are designed to ask about the impact course materials, including both textbooks and supplemental materials (e.g. online homework codes), have on students’ learning.

The goal behind this is to provide more transparency to both students and faculty about the quality of the course materials that students are often required to purchase. Since TRACE results are made available to students on myNEU, students will be able to see which courses require the purchase of materials, as well as the purpose and usefulness of those materials. The hope is that by allowing students access to this information, they can make judgment calls on whether or not they should get the course materials and in what way they should purchase/rent/borrow them.

Additionally, this initiative provides transparency to faculty on whether or not students find the course materials they assign useful. It is not unusual for faculty to assign expensive textbooks that are not actually useful to students. In many cases, faculty members continue to do this because they have limited insight into the usefulness of the materials they are assigning. With the information provided by the new TRACE questions, faculty members can hopefully improve their course material selection, so that students are getting the most out of the materials they purchase.

Throughout the months of September and October, VP of Academic Affairs Driesman and his Director of Faculty Relations, Senator Howell, worked closely with the chair of the Faculty Senate Agenda Committee, as well as other members of Faculty Senate leadership, to finalize the questions in time for them to be added to TRACE by the end of the fall 2017 semester. Senator Howell was crucial to this initiative by spearheading the communication and relationship management portion of the effort. Driesman took a more advisory role, where he collaborated closely with Senator Howell on generating and revising the various iterations of proposed questions.

After going through many iterations of the questions with Faculty Senate leadership and the Provost’s Office, involving numerous emails and multiple in-person meetings, the questions were finalized and proposed as legislation to the Faculty Senate. Driesman, Senator Howell, and Senator Liebert sponsored a corresponding piece of legislation in SGA’s Senate endorsing the addition of the questions to TRACE. Both pieces of legislation passed their respective bodies without additional amendments.

These questions will now be on TRACE in time for the end of the fall 2017 semester. The hope is that SGA and Faculty Senate can closely monitor the questions over the fall and the spring, with a chance to revise them based on their performance in those semesters. Not only will these questions provide valuable insight into course materials for both students and faculty, but also set a gold standard for future partnerships between the Faculty Senate and SGA. In the past, SGA has not been fully engaged with Faculty Senate beyond simply attending the Faculty Senate’s main meetings. This initiative has greatly strengthened the partnership between the two organizations and has set a tone for what will hopefully be a dynamic and fruitful relationship.

 

September Monthly Initiative '17

September's Monthly Initiative was all about academics at Northeastern. There were two major components: education and feedback.

For education, SGA's Academic Affairs Committee put together a number of resource info-sheets, which were shared during during several tabling events. SGA's social media team also shared information about academic resources at Northeastern.

For feedback, SGA's Academic Affairs Committee put together a survey on advising, international experiences, co-op, and textbooks. The committee also gathered feedback on the college expectations process during in person tabling events. Based on the feedback gathered, SGA's Academic Affairs Committee will be addressing the high advisory turnover rate, working to expand international opportunities for STEM colleges, confirm concerns about COS advising that were expressed in the survey, and continue to push for the reduction in use of homework codes.

 

Check out the September Monthly Initiative presentation here, or by reading below!

Rainbow Flag Raising

 
OUTober Flag Raising.png

For the second consecutive year, Northeastern's Student Body President partnered with the LGBTQA Resource Center to raise the Rainbow Flag on Centennial Commons to celebrate OUTober. This was important to make a student commitment on behalf of SGA to celebrate the identity of so many Huskies. President Suchira Sharma worked with the Office of Student Affairs and the Center for Student Involvement to book the space and to secure approval for the flag to be raised all month. She also planned the event from the perspective of ordering catering, etc. She says that her, “…favorite part of this event and planning it was seeing the student reaction to it. So many students were posting about the pride they felt to see their identity being celebrated on campus. At the end of the day, I think that's what SGA does: ensure that each student on this campus feels a sense of belonging + acceptance, whether it be through revising academic policy, or holding events like these.”

SGA still has work to do to ensure that Northeastern becomes an environment that not only represents students from various identities and backgrounds, but celebrates them. While this is a small step, there is so much hope and comfort that comes from intentional visibility.

The following are President Sharma’s remarks from the event: 

"Good morning everyone, and welcome to Northeastern’s First Annual Rainbow Flag Raising ceremony.

My name is Suchira, and I serve as your Student Body President. For two years now, your Student Government has partnered with the LGBTQA Resource Center to raise a rainbow flag celebrating pride during the wonderful month of OUTober.

Today, we are so happy to do just the same.

Your Student Government believes that identity ought to be celebrated. It believes that by bringing people together at events like this, Northeastern moves one step closer to making its promises of diversity and inclusion attainable.

I would like to point out three main differences between this year’s raising and last. We have a new flag this year that we are so excited about. We have a ceremony marking the beginning of OUTober. And - the flag will remain up all month this year.

These changes represent a constant evolution of the work that we do at Northeastern to make this an environment to celebrate the identity of all students. I am so proud of the work of our students and our centers today. Thank you all for being here. Happy OUTober."