After the demonstration of conclusive data from the 2016-2017 Budget Priorities Survey, the university’s Provost Office has been working alongside the representatives from the Student Government Association, and the Student Body President to find a long term solution for online homework platforms. The following proposal (see corresponding email + please embed) was presented to the Provost Office.
From this, the Provost Office, in conjunction with the library agreed to invest $30,000 in Ex-Librus, which is open source textbook material available to college professors when crafting courses. Additionally, they have made a commitment to run a pilot in each college using open source textbook material instead of online platforms that have monetary costs associated with them for the Fall of 2018.
The Faculty Senate has also charged its Academic Policy Committee to continue to find innovative solutions to address affordability of online homework, and other such mandatory course purchases.
SGA will continue to address this through its work with the Provost Office and Academic Affairs Committee.
The university is routinely in the process of making updates to buildings on campus to ensure ADA compliance and accessibility. This year, SGA conducted advocacy to make the process more proactive, rather than reactive.
The Office of Student Affairs has agreed to a semesterly meeting with representatives from SGA, advocacy organizations, Facilities, and the Office of Campus Planning and Development in order to ensure ADA compliance and conduct a regular feedback loop on projects and areas in and around campus for student accessibility.
After collaboration with students to elicit feedback, and the SGA Academic Affairs committee to propose changes to the 1992 version of the Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, the Student Senate unanimously approved changes to the legislation in November of 2017.
Next, the Student Body President and VP for Academic Affairs worked with the Office of Student Affairs and Faculty Senate Academic Policy Committee to negotiate suitable language for adoption into the formal policy.
The document was then thoroughly reviewed by the University’s Office of General Counsel, and then finally passed by the Faculty Senate on April 25th, 2018. This is the first time the document has been amended since it past in 1992.
You can read more about it here: https://www.northeasternsga.com/student-bill-of-rights/
Moving forward, the SGA Academic Affairs Committee will be tasked to revise the SBORR working closely with the Faculty Senate, every three years so that every student on campus, despite their length of degree has an opportunity to have their voice heard on what their rights ought to be -- both in the classroom and on campus.
rethinkSGA was an initiative by our SGA and Students Against Institutional Discrimination (SAID), aimed to make SGA more transparent and reflective of the students it seeked to serve.
A series of three town halls were held throughout the Summer and Fall semesters of 2016 where SGA leadership heard concerns from members across the university and various activist circles.
Afterwards, in the spring of 2017, leaders from both SGA and SAID created legislation that was approved by the Student Senate that changed the referenda process, making it more transparent by sending vetting approval to Senate, and by restricting the criteria to Fairness of Wording and Adherence to University Policy only, getting rid of the previous nebulous “feasibility” criteria.
The proposed legislation also created an explicit responsibility of the VP of Academic Affairs to work closely with the Faculty Senate to address shared goals.
In the Spring of 2017, the Association held its first ever Student Experience Town Hall. The purpose of this town hall was to provide two way facilitation between students, and upper level university administrators.
This town hall had been originally proposed as a semesterly summit on issues surrounding student advocacy. Through collaboration with the Office of Student Affairs, the proposal was adopted as a roundtable discussion that was open to the entire student body.
This first SETH had a topic surrounding community, and specifically addressed concerns around Northeastern’s recently announced expansion into Roxbury with the creation of the new Burke Street Dormitory. The panel included members from the Office of Student Affairs, NUPD, and the Office of Campus Planning and Development. SGA partnered with the Resident Student Association on this initiative.
You can read more about it here: https://www.huntnewsnu.com/2017/03/town-hall-addresses-student-concerns-on-northeastern-development/
It’s our hope to ensure that this town hall series is one that happens at least every year and continues to bring together key stakeholders from across the university to address key student concerns.
SGA's College Expectations subcommittee exists under the Academic Affairs committee, and advocates for sets of standards or 'expectations' for each academic College at Northeastern. The subcommittee is comprised of representatives from various colleges, who meet regularly with College-specific administration to address expectations and provide feedback and a student perspective.
This past year, the College Expectations committee addressed concerns including: standardized grading policy across various sections of the same course, the potential construction of a database of current and past syllabi, and increased collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowship.
See the updates here, or look below!
One of the Student Involvement Board's most prominent responsibilities is working with student organizations seeking to be fully recognized by the Center for Student Involvement. The Board also serves as the deliberative body from which tentatively recognized groups ultimately receive their recognition. Because of these two duties, the Board serves to make sure that the Northeastern community is continuously being revitalized and enriched with student groups that have the potential to positively impact the university and the surrounding area.
Over the course of the Fall 2017 semester, the Student Involvement Board has approved 13 groups total thus far, which have since entered the student organization fold on campus and started their efforts to achieve their goals. To name specific examples, the university now has three new cultural organizations, four new groups focused on mentoring and community service work, and six groups that focus on specific interest groups, whether professional or personal. Additionally, the Board has worked with a number of groups to make updates and amendments to their constitutions, to allow those groups to continue to function well in the manner they desire.
With all of these updates, it is the Board's strong hope that the student organization community at Northeastern will continue to grow and contribute to the students here. The connections that these groups foster serve to tie together the varied population of the university. Overall, they serve as an outlet for students to find and pursue their passions and gain skills and experience that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
The Finance Board strives to be the best resource for the diverse and incredible student organizations at Northeastern University, whether that is accomplished by reallocating funding for events, advising student organizations on budget related questions, or seeking ways to create the most value out of the Student Activity Fee fund. While reallocating funding and advising student organizations occurs naturally for the Finance Board, seeking ways to create the most value out of the Student Activity Fee is definitely a challenging process that requires determination. Nonetheless, thanks to the help of the Center for Student Involvement and the Student Activities Business Office, the Finance Board was able to accomplish a noteworthy initiative early in the fall 2017 semester. The initiative in question: replacing Smith Print/Webster with Puritan Capital as Northeastern’s publication vendor.
This initiative was important because the Finance Board saw a trend of increasing publication costs with Smith Print/Webster, which has been the preferred publication vendor for Northeastern University. Although this was not a cause for alarm, the Finance Board believed there were other publication vendors that could offer the same quality service and product for a reduced cost. The Finance Board also wanted to provide the hard working student organizations with a liaison who was much more responsive and understanding of the student’s needs. Therefore, the Finance Board collaborated with the Center for Student Involvement to seek out a distinguished publication vendor that could meet all our Student Body’s needs. This process required contacting not only publication vendors, but also student organizations so that everyone was aware of this new development. In order to transition from Smith Print/Webster to Puritan Capital, the Board communicated with a representative from Puritan Capital over the course of two weeks to finalize all the details, expectations, and most importantly quotes for the Fall 2017 publication budget requests. Once Puritan Capital provided the Finance Board with their estimated quotes, the members of the Board realized that over $3,000 would be saved by working with Puritan Capital for the fall 2017 Publication budget pool. When the Finance Board is able to save money from the SAF fund, it allows for greater funding flexibility for upcoming budget requests from student organizations. Thus, after careful consideration, the Finance Board and the Center for Student Involvement both agreed and approved Puritan Capital as the new publication vendor. The impact of this initiative was definitely long term oriented, which will create the most value for the SAF fund.
Current Comptroller and Finance Board Chair, James Baek, notes, “On behalf of the Finance Board, I can confidently say that this initiative will have a lasting impact on not only the SAF fund, but also the student organizations that work relentlessly to make Northeastern University a more creative, colorful, and collaborative environment. The Finance Board’s goal has always been to reallocate the SAF in the most efficient and effective manner to as many student organizations as possible. We understand that our success is directly correlated to the success of the student organizations that we fund. Therefore, accomplishing this initiative has been pivotal in reinforcing our goal. I believe this is just the beginning to what the Finance Board can accomplish over time.”
In Senate on 10/2, two pieces of legislation were passed:
SS-FA-17-101: A Sense of the Senate to Support Food Service Workers
SS-FA-17-102: Sense of the Senate Recommending that the University observance of Columbus Day be changed to "Indigenous People's Day"