Mid-semester newsletter from Undergraduate Student Senate

Since our last campus-wide newsletter at the start of the semester, Undergraduate Student Senate has made progress on a number of important initiatives. In this mid-semester update, we have several upcoming events to announce, as well as new projects recently launched by several of Senate’s committees.

As always, you can get in touch with your Senate representatives and committee chairs on our website, via social media, or at our weekly general body meetings.

Progress On Initiatives
This week, Senate voted to endorse the Business Affairs Committee’s recommendations regarding all-gender housing at Carnegie Mellon University. Since the fall, the committee has been working alongside Carnegie Mellon University’s Trans, Intersex, and Nonbinary Alliance (TINA) to survey students on shifting on-campus housing towards an all-gender model by default. Additionally, the general body approved the committee’s resolution to endorse the full list of demands made by TINA as part of their document “Actionable Steps For All-Gender Equity at CMU,” drafted in the fall of 2020.

Recently, the Carnegie Mellon community gained full digital access to The New York Times, following Senate’s vote to fund subscriptions through the student media fee, and with generous assistance from the University Libraries. Access is quick to activate, active until graduation, and student accounts do not need to be renewed. We are currently securing funding for this to continue through the fall and in future semesters.

At our meeting on March 11, Senate approved a pre-investigative paper from the Finance Committee, beginning an initiative which will examine the possibility of compensating students who are contributing to the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts by sitting on university advisory committees. The Finance Committee has also continued reviewing special allocations requests to cover unexpected expenses from a number of different student organizations.

The Campus Life Committee is looking for student input on potentially bringing electric scooter sharing services to the Carnegie Mellon campus — you can add your input to their survey here. Additionally, Campus Life is announcing the first event in this year’s First Lecture Series: on Wednesday, April 7 at 6 p.m., the committee has invited three graduating seniors to give talks on what they have learned in their time at Carnegie Mellon. The following First Lectures event will be Wednesday, April 21 — stay tuned for more details!

Find Out What Your Representatives Are Working On
As part of this year’s efforts to make Senate’s work more transparent to students — particularly with the challenges posed by the pandemic — Senate’s Executive Committee is launching a Senate-wide initiative tracker. This document is public to the entire Carnegie Mellon community and will allow students to view the projects that members of Senate are working on in one place, along with information about how to provide your feedback to initiatives or get in contact with the relevant members of Senate. As this is still a work in progress, we encourage you to submit to us any feedback that you have about how we can make this tracker as informative and accessible as possible.

Are you required to purchase any resources for a course which are not covered by financial aid? We can cover the cost of these — submit a short funding request here. The Academic Affairs Committee is pushing courses to move away from requiring such resources and shifting towards free alternatives where possible.

Similarly, the Finance Committee can fund the costs of new projects started either by individuals or student organizations, or new and currently not-JFC-funded student organizations, through the Special Allocations process. Any project which you or your organization has started and which has some benefit to the broader undergraduate community can be eligible for Special Allocations funding.