June 3, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 67°F


SGC brainstorms campus legislation and learns bill writing

The Ithaca College Student Governance Council met Feb. 20 to hold a bill writing workshop, hear from the Office of Residential Life and prepare for the Feb. 27 meeting with the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management. 

The meeting began with senior and Senate Chair Austin Ruffino announcing that for this meeting, members of the board would split into different workshop groups to discuss ideas for bills and progress for bills.

“The spring semester tends to be ideally one of the more productive parts of the year for the Student Governance Council,” Ruffino said. “These [workshops] are a nice opportunity to let everyone use the time they’ve set aside to work with others about stuff they’re passionate about.”

The SGC passed their first bill of the semester Feb. 13, rewriting the Code of Conduct Amendment throughout the academic year. Ruffino said he is trying to not focus on the number of bills passed, but the impact.

“Putting a number on it doesn’t quantify the work we are doing,” Ruffino said, “My sophomore year, SGC passed 40-something bills, in which most of them nothing happened. … These discussions [this year] may not need bills.”

All board members began by stating bills they either were working on, were passionate about or simply had interest in. After hearing what their peers were interested in, all board members broke into different workshops to make progress.

First-year student Rishabh Sen, vice president of campus affairs, talked with senior Grace Madeya, president of the student body, and first-year student Matthew Williams, senator at large, about adding a representative senate seat for the Students of Color Coalition and for first-generation students.

“I myself am a first-generation student and think a lot of the considerations about what student life is like here at Ithaca doesn’t really think about what life is like for a first-gen student,” Sen said.

First-year student Dante Conde, senator at large, and first-year student Caleb Cackowski, senator at large, talked about environmental topics with a tree planting and sky viewing bill. Both of these bills aim to improve the natural beauty of where the college is located. The sky viewing bill would take advantage of how immersive the campus can become.

“For a day all the non-essential lights would be turned off and try to limit as much light pollution as possible in order to get the most out of the night sky,” Conde said, “We are a small campus so it’s important to not only take advantage of the space here but the space above.”

Senior Maya Scriven, vice president of communications, first-year student Asata Rothblatt, senator at large, senior Tessa Kurtz, vice president of academic affairs, and senior Maxwell Powers, senator at large, focused on continuing Powers’ goals of accessibility on campus. This included laying out a structure for how the bill would be written. This bill would have multiple sections, including one on the implementation of an online accessibility map showing which parts of campus are accessible and creating more efficient routes for traveling on campus.

“It’s about making accessibility from what we have,” Scriven said. 

First-year student Nicole Sutera, School of Music, Theatre and Dance senator, and junior Vincent Tavernese, assistant to the vice president of academic affairs, used the workshop time to discuss expanding students’ access to food services. Tavernese already met with several faculty and offices about adding a smoothie bar in the Fitness Center. Dining Services is looking into how exactly the idea can be executed. Sutera discussed putting leftovers and extra food from dining services on Grubhub at a discounted price past typical dining hours. 

Sutera and Tavernese moved onto initiatives based in the Center for Music within the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Both are looking into a collaborative pianist appreciation event. 

“This year in particular has been extra difficult for our collaborative pianists,” Tavernese said. “We’re trying to find a way to recognize and thank them for all the hard work they have done”

The meeting then moved into officer reports. Madeya met with the Office of Residential Life regarding topics discussed last meeting, including vending machines in Towers, water fountains for refilling water bottles in Lower and Upper Quads and water pressure in shower heads. Madeya said the office is currently looking for solutions.

“[Residential Life] does a good job collecting feedback,” Madeya said. “They are hearing student concerns, so it’s good to know a lot of stuff we are talking about on SGC, Residential Life is aware of.”

Finally, Ruffino went over the SGC’s highly anticipated next meeting hosted by the Office of Public Safety. This yearly tradition gives the SGC a tour of the facility and provides a chance for the SGC to have in-person discussions with the entire Office of Public Safety. 

“We get to understand more about the Office of Public Safety from the internal perspective, which allows us to communicate better with our constituents,” Ruffino said. “Everything going on there is very helpful because when students are asking them questions, they know of a whole new set of resources available.”

The SGC is the sole representative body for the Ithaca College student community. The SGC can be contacted at sgc@ithaca.edu.