Student Government Minutes 9/26/18

Parking, Wifi, and a Party: Student Government Updates

On September 26, we had the first open student government meeting of the year, for which we were joined by Parking Coordinator David Chick to identify the important and relevant issues surrounding campus parking. Before discussing these concerns, we were reminded that the polls for the first-year elections close on October 12. Additionally, we celebrated an advance in our attempts to improve the laundry system at Bates, as first-years now get free laundry cards. Lastly, Student Government launched the Dance Marathon registration on October 1st. Dance Marathon is a year-long fundraiser to benefit the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland. Students who hope to be involved can register at https://events.dancemarathon.com/event/BC19 .

Beginning our discussion of parking, Mr. Chick informed those who attended the meeting that the online link to get a parking pass does not work on mobile devices or Apple laptops. In order to purchase a pass, students should use the desktop computers around campus. When asked where the money for tickets and permits goes, Mr. Chick said that it circles back to the general fund of the college, and that there is an appeal process for tickets that students can go through. Though some students had concerns about Frye Street parking, Mr. Chick said that cars had only been towed if they were parked in the houses’ driveways, which has never been allowed. When some students asked why the tiered parking system — which required first-years to park in Merrill and reserved closer lots for upperclassmen — is no longer in use, Mr. Chick said that this system proved ineffective and presented a huge burden on security, who found themselves giving more tickets as a result. Mr. Chick referred to the 2017-2018 academic year as “chaotic” in terms of campus parking due to outside forces. He hopes that we have learned from it, and that this year will be the trial year for a more effective system.

The second open meeting of the year, which took place on October 3, focused on student concerns related to wifi and library services. We were joined by Patricia Schoknecht, the Vice President for Information and Library Services. Ms. Schoknecht was excited to share with us that the library now was Chromebook laptops that students can checkout, and that the students working in IT this year have had increased, effective employee training. She also mentioned some upcoming changes coming to the library, including new lighting, which will not only make the interior brighter, but will also help in Bates transition to carbon neutrality by 2020.

Several students at the meeting expressed concerns about how they feel that the wifi is significantly more problematic than in past years. Though we discussed this as an overall problem around campus, we identified specific areas that have had persistent problems, like the overflow apartments. If there is one thing Ms. Schoknecht wants Bates students to know, it is that they should report their wifi problems to helpdesk@bates.edu . Library technicians are not aware of where the WiFi is problematic until they receive these reports. The more reports they receive, the more data they are able to collect, which allows them to respond more effectively. Additionally, the help desk can provide students with cables to improve their connection.

Overall, students play an important role in resolving the issues surrounding the Bates WiFi system. A simple report can go a long way.

Our meeting on October 10th was mostly focused on some of our future plans, including a party hosted by Student Government in the beginning of December and an open meeting about Dining Services sometime in the next few weeks. Look out for updates on both of these upcoming events soon!