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Undergraduate Association Goals, Fall 2006

Undergraduate Association Goals, Fall 2006

This is the end-of-semester evaluation of the Undergraduate Association’s Fall 2006 goals. ✔ indicates a goal that has been reached; ✘ indicates a goal that has not been reached; … indicates a goal that should be completed during the Independent Activities Period.

* Goals were either modified or added since the first publication of the UA goals on Sept. 19, 2006

UA Committee Goals for Fall 2006 Progress Goal Reached?
Executive Committee Construct a new Web site with interactive features (votes, polls, and forums) to help the UA to better gauge student opinions. The skeletal Web site located at http://scripts.mit.edu/~ua/drupal will be going online at the end of the Independent Activites Period.
Create undergrads-inform@mit.edu, an optional list for all undergraduates to disseminate information regarding pressing campus issues that could have an effect on student life. Information, Services & Technology discovered technical hurdles, but efforts are continuing.
Work more closely with Institute and faculty committee representatives to ensure that the UA has the pulse of the faculty and the administration. A banquet was held in early December for all committee representatives and faculty committee chairmen, while plans are being made to strengthen this relationship.
Increase the level of competition for Senate seats and improving voter turnout for all UA elections. Voter turnout actually decreased compared to last fall: 1,160 votes decreased to 1,083.
Cultivate a stronger relationship with campus media outlets, including weekly or bi-weekly UA Q&A interviews. The Tech and the UA have produced weekly Q&As, as well as initial, mid-term, and final semester goals checklists.
Focus resource development efforts on finding sponsors for undergraduate student groups and activities. A survey has been conducted of our peer institutions and their resource development to gather ideas, and now care will be taken to push MIT’s efforts in an amenable and unobtrusive direction.
* Evaluate the MIT Cable offerings and recommend changes as necessary. Discovery Channel has already replaced MIT Weather When You Want It. Changes based on two rounds of surveys will be going into effect Jan. 1, 2007.
Committee on Athletics Examine Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation managerial infrastructure to seek ways of improving its operation efficiency and cost effectiveness. Lisa M. Witmer ’07, a member of the DAPER managerial infrastructure to seek ways of improving its operation efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Organize sports tournaments to foster and increase student participation in athletics on campus. Co-Chair Richard L. Lin ’09 will continue planning the IAP/Spring basketball tournament.
* Implement student input and suggestions regarding DAPER operations and facilities. The committee is currently working with the UA Executive Committee to assess the proposal to slightly increase the Student Life Fee so that DAPER will have more money to provide better services, facilities, and programs for the MIT community.
Committee on Campus Sustainability Establish MIT as a global leader in the realm of sustainability by drawing from all schools and departments. Establish a self-sustaining grant with 20 $25,000 amounts for release in Spring 2007.
Create a proposal for a built environment which generates energy, processes waste, demonstrates new innovative building technologies, supports a vibrant learning community, and lays down a path for structure retrofit. Complete design of three CAD models, one of the new graduate dormitory, one of the proposed Energy Research Council center, and one of a radical think-and-do tank to demonstrate prototype technologies. Beginning audit of all buildings on campus, and putting green roofs on at least one building by Summer 2007.
Investigate how MIT uses capital on campus, and evaluate how financing for sustainability initiatives might best be located, locked in, and used effectively. Beginning relationship with MIT endowment office to investigate how the endowment is invested and whether on-campus rates of return might be high enough to justify local investment.
Investigate and report on MIT’s ecology and use of consumables for community and research use. Establishing protocol for a 90 percent decrease in energy and materials for research and a 25 percent reduction in cost for community consumables.
Work to make the average MIT undergraduate a more aware, compassionate and wise global citizen. This is met by the self-sustaining grant mentioned above.
Committee on Dining Work with Campus Dining to promote a student survey to help fill the remaining storefronts in Lobdell Food Court. The survey went out and was well received.
Continue to work to improve late-night dining options on campus. When Subway opens, it will stay open until 11 p.m. weekdays. More work remains to be done regarding dormitory dining hours.
Organize a joint event with the Graduate Student Council to publicize the diversity of dining options on campus. Dining has tentatively scheduled an event for the first week of the spring term. The legwork will be done over IAP.
Continue to explore increased breakfast options on campus. The success of Jamba Juice in the Dining Survey is a step in the right direction, but more work remains to be done.
Student Committee on Educational Policy Draft an advisory report compiling undergraduate feedback regarding the recommendations of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons. After a town hall meeting and online surveys, feedback is being compiled into a report to be completed over IAP.
Work with the faculty to increase awareness of term regulations and resolve violations. The committee has been in contact with faculty over violations received through the SCEP Web site (http://web.mit.edu/ua/www/committees/scep/termregs/report-violation.shtml), and all of them have been resolved.
Work with faculty and administrators to demonstrably improve undergraduate advising. The committee has incorporated feedback received from faculty on a brochure the committee created titled “How to Get Advice.” It will serve as a resource for all students on how to make the most of their advisors. The brochure is going to be printed by the end of the term so that it can be distributed at the beginning of the spring term.
Create a “Guide to Educational Policy at MIT” for incoming freshmen. The committee is incorporating term regulations, reporting violations, and educational resources in its spring brochure.
Committee on Housing Ensure significant student input and involvement in the transition of Ashdown House to an undergraduate dormitory. The committee worked with Dormitory Council to form an undergraduate advisory panel for the transition process and will be writing a report in the spring.
Provide for student involvement in the decision-making process regarding undergraduate dormitory renovations and “swing” housing. The committee formed this fall will address the “swing” housing issue in the spring report.
Investigate the needs and the future of cultural houses at MIT and how they integrate with other elements of the housing system. The committee and Culture House representatives will work over IAP to produce a response to the Institute’s Culture/Theme House Report.
Publish reports regarding the committee’s opinion on important housing issues at least twice a term. The committee has gathered a significant amount of data, but the Ashdown advisory report and culture house response will not be released until the spring and over IAP, along with joint committee reports on Pritchett Dining and long-term space planning at MIT.
Investigate the practicability of returning full telephone service to dormitories. The Input-A-Palooza survey asked for undergraduates to weigh in on the importance of this issue, and a majority responded that they were not interested.
Committee on Orientation Work with the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming and Student Life Orientation Planning committees to better showcase undergraduate student activities to incoming freshmen. The meetings to plan the Orientation schedule for next term have not begun yet. The committee will send a member to the preliminary fall meetings and also the SLOPE Orientation planning committee. In the meantime, the committee has compiled a report on Orientation documenting important student issues.
Work to make the UA-supported Tuesday Night State Center “T-Party” a recurring event, clarifying how the Association of Student Activities restrictions on advertising apply to this event. Committee member Erik D. Fogg ’09 has volunteered to lead this effort. The UA Report on Orientation has sections dealing with the importance of student groups.
Investigate the rescheduling of the Mathematics Diagnostic Test to Orientation Week; if necessary, work to reschedule the exam to a more amenable time slot. The Physics Department has said it is interested in working to schedule the test at an amenable time during Orientation but has said that the exam will probably not revert to its former summer mailing.
Work to support the Virtual CPW project to help admitted students get a better idea of the strength of MIT student life even if they are unable to attend Campus Preview Weekend. Committee member Valery K. Brobbey ’08 (also a Tech reporter), who worked on Virtual CPW last year, is leading the effort again this year. Getting Virtual CPW recognized as a student group is currently under consideration.
Perform annual post-Orientation feedback sessions to identify the best and worst elements of the orientation experience from the freshmen who went through it. The committee conducted a freshman survey visiting five dormitories from Oct. 9–12. The following week an online upperclassman survey was conducted. Results were tabulated and, together with statistics from the Department of Housing’s earlier surveys, a UA Report on Orientation was written and endorsed by the Senate.
Committee on Student Life Promote, staff, and administer the new Undergraduate Mentorship Program. The committee is getting feedback from the mentor pairs and is handling problems that arise.
Investigate and draft a report in response to student complaints regarding MIT Medical quality of service. The committee is currently gathering data through multiple surveys and drafting a report that will be available by the end of IAP.
Committee on Student Space Planning Conduct an inventory of existing student spaces on campus, analyze their strengths and deficiencies, and present this information on the committee Web site. Expect to see something come online over IAP.
Invite feedback from the student body on the need for new spaces or improvements that can be made to existing spaces utilizing surveys, public meetings, and Web forums. The committee polled the student body on the future of the Student Center game room and proposals for Student Center expansion in the DormStorm survey. These projects will be brought to the UA Senate for review in early spring.
* Build relationships with the MIT Department of Facilities, the administration, and other key players in forming the new campus. The committee has met with Philip J. Walsh, director of the Campus Activities Complex, to discuss upcoming projects that relate to student activity space and will be helping to select artwork to place in the Building 10 Community Lounge and the Student Center’s fifth floor Reading Room.
Produce an official report of all the above findings for public access. This will be available at the end of spring term and will review all of the committee’s activities from the year.
Finance Board Improve communication between groups and liaisons (including regular Finboard Office Hours). Office hours were held regularly during the fall term and will continue in the spring.
Improve overall allocation usage by better leveraging past data and spending trends. Finboard incorporated previous spending trends on allocations, which identified underspenders and reduced publicity and printing allocations.
Provide for a longer institutional memory span by making previous usage statistics more accessible. A new liaison page for future Finboard members has been added. Members can have access to information we post for internal use.
Investigate the creation of a capital start-up fund for new groups. Finboard allocations for IAP and Spring 2007 were released last night.
Nominations Committee Improve communication with advocates so that, if there is a problem, the committee is always in the know. The first in a series of events has been thrown to bring together advocates for the purposes of discussion.
Train student advocates and utilize an improved Web site to track issues being discussed among the various Institute and faculty committees. The NomComm blog will open over IAP.
Throw an advocate banquet to increase communication between faculty and advocates. The banquet was held in early December.

Source—Undergraduate Association and UA Vice President Ruth Miller ’07