By Zoe Fowler
This semester, Student Government solved ongoing issues that students frequently have on campus.
”We’re both the voice of the student body and we produce a lot of activities and funding for the student body,” said Matt Rutkovitz, the president of Student Government .
Students approach Rutkovitz with their concerns about student organizations or certain residence life issues. Rutkovitz then takes their concerns to the proper department to be dealt with.
Rutkovitz stated that students always have complaints about Sodexo. The issues range from the cafeteria shutting down the ice cream machine too early to meals not rolling over.
“It’s all done in a formula,” he said. “Students have to understand that Sodexo is a for-profit business and the school is a not for profit, so they have to meet right in the middle where Sodexo can be a business and the school is fair to the students.”
Sodexo and the university work with lawyers to reach an agreement by writing a contract. It usually takes hours to settle on something that everyone is comfortable with.
“There are meal exchanges that can’t just be meal exchanges just for the way the franchises on campus work,” Rutkovitz said. “There are different things we aren’t allowed to do through the franchise or through corporate Sodexo.”
However, Student Government and Sodexo were able to make the Dairy Queen Blizzard a meal exchange option. Students are now able to purchase the blizzard with a hot dog.
Sophomore communications major Torrie Winsett is pleased with the meal exchange.
“It’s nice to have them because I usually have left over meals at the end of the week, and instead of using my Spartan dollars I can do that,” she said.
In addition to the newly added meal exchange, the organization was able to get Director of the Library, Marlyn Pethe, to agree to a trial period to extend library hours. The trials are an experiment to see if students will take advantage of the extended hours that are given to them.
For freshman and marketing major, Kendall Rochelle, the trial period hours work in her favor due to a busy schedule.
“I have classes all day and then I’m also in a sorority, so we have events and stuff… it’s nice that [the library] ends later because then you get more hours to study and do work,” she said.
There are other factors to look at when you consider extending the standard library hours. The budget put together by Pethe would be impacted. She would have to figure out overtime hours, and hire additional staff to accommodate for the extended hours.
“You’re talking about adding more personnel time, more time for heating/cooling/lights… so you want to make sure there is a level of use to it,” Pethe said.
The process of improving issues is never a smooth road for the organization. There are different departments that they need to go through to get things approved.
“There is different checks and balances to make sure that things are the way they should be, which in the end, it’s a good thing for the institution to know that we’re a bureaucracy,” Rutkovitz said.
The organization was able to get facilities and senior staff to approve a second dream machine on campus. The exact location of the machine isn’t known yet, but it will be near Brevard.
The organization is also working on getting designated recycling rooms in residence halls. Additional recycling trash cans with green master flows will be put on campus, specifically in the athletic areas. Since there aren’t enough Sodexo workers to pick up both trash and recyclables, student organizations will work together to pick up trash.
“What we’re working on is having student organizations be the trash-picker-upers a few days a week, and trying to have them more entwined into the betterment of the community, which is tough because it’s tough to get commitment from people,” Rutkovitz said.
The organization’s collaborative effort to maintain a green campus isn’t over yet. They’re writing a green initiative for next semester.
As for the Spartan pride initiative, they’re [student government] hoping to utilize social media as an advertising tool to get students out to the athletic games and events held by student organizations. The low attendance at those events was due in part to Student Government’s lack of social media presence.
Rutkovitz stated that in order to get students to events, student media publications such as The Minaret, Student Productions and WUTT Radio need to work in unison to promote events.