By Steven Jackson
This week’s Beloit Student Congress meeting was a veritable whirlwind of events. Things got off to a rollicking start with announcements and updates from various committees. Ben Schechter ‘11 of Residential Life Committee reminded all that next week is the year-end housing review, and special interest houses should have representatives at the committee’s Wednesday meeting.
After announcements, Programming Board Director and Chair Amani Edwards ’12 led a student forum titled “Campus Norms.” The first item of discussion was the way we treat our public spaces at Beloit. Students shared their thoughts on vandalism, litter, and general disrespect of shared space. Schechter characterized campus litter as “pretty trashy.” Following up on that sentiment, Executive Representative Jonah Isenstein ‘14 pointed out the grossness of pee on toilet seats.
The next topic was the divide between athletes and non-athletes at Beloit. The fact that sports players sit in the same area at Commons was cited as an illustration of this social gulf. Students —athletes and indoor kids alike — agreed they would like to see more communication between the two groups.
Discussion then turned to the social dynamic between Greek life and the rest of campus. Non-Greeks seemed to agree that Greek life is insular and can lead to a disconnect from other campus activities. All students agreed that fraternities and sororities are subject to a lot of stereotypes at Beloit. One fraternity brother expressed his frustration with stereotypes. “I’m a Sigma Chi and I’m not a rapist,” he stated plainly.
Spirituality was the next item. Most agreed that to be secular is the norm at Beloit and that deeply spiritual students can be alienated for their beliefs. Several Christian students said they often feel judged for their faith.
With that established, the forum discussed individual and group efforts on campus. The defacement of the SARP teal people last spring was cited as an example of disrespecting group efforts. Students agreed that being drunk should not be an excuse for vandalism of this nature. On another note, some students were frustrated because their fliers for campus events have been regularly removed or defaced. Who is responsible? It remains a mystery.
The next topic was cultural competency at Beloit. Some students shared their experiences of running into hate speech and prejudicial attitudes regarding gender identity, race and sexual orientation. Student Policy Committee Chair Evan Staff ’13 stated that Beloit is one of the most tolerant campuses he has ever seen. “Then again, I’m from Texas,” he added.
The final talking point was the Beloit community, both campus and city. Unfortunately time was up for the meeting’s student forum section.
After a short break in which cabinet members tried and failed to load a YouTube video, it was time for Body Wrap/Power. The BSC general body was reminded of Vortex this weekend, an event that is sure to be ill-sick-nasty and would be a shame to miss.
Anna Wolf ’11 presented a funding proposal for the 17th Annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference, a two-day event at Yale that discusses progressive approaches to law and social change. After some discussion, the time requirement was waived so the proposal could be voted on at BelFast that very night.
Next, Assistant Treasurer Alicia Halvensleben ’11 put forth a proposal to increase campus bandwidth. Halvensleben has been working with President Scott Bierman and ISR Director Megan Fitch to outline an action plan.
The college has agreed to fund increasing bandwidth on an annual basis, starting this year with a $6720 contribution that would increase bandwidth by 80-150 megabytes per second. However, the college’s contribution is contingent on a bandwidth hardware upgrade, which would cost the student body $8275 (This writer is not sure what “hardware” means, but was assured that it probably refers to a tube of some kind.)
Halvensleben proposed to fund the hardware upgrade with $8275 from the BSC Emergency Fund, which is used for special projects and acts as a safety net in the event of overspending. The $8275 withdrawal is less than 10 percent of the total fund, according to Jennie Hartzheim, director of Student Activities.
After much deliberation, many movements, and numerous rewordings, the time requirement was waived and the proposal was approved! Get ready, Beloit. We should be enjoying faster Internet by about May 1.
To wrap things up, David Yu of Budget Committee announced that the budget cycle is underway. In order to secure funding for the next academic year, all clubs must fill out a budget form and turn it in by midnight on Saturday, Feb. 12. The budget form can be found on the BSC homepage at beloit.edu/bsc.