CCSG Approves Facilities Fee Board, Talks With H&FS
Students from all across Pennsylvania convened in the HUB, as the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments held its third Council weekend of the year this Friday and Saturday. They passed two resolutions and an amendment to an existing one.
On Friday night the group heard from Chris Hurley, Senior Director of Housing and Food Services (H&FS) on the Commonwealth Campuses, who spoke primarily about the way food service works at various campuses. Students asked questions about a possible switch from privately-contracted services to University-provided ones.
Hurley stressed the role of H&FS related to Penn State infrastructure; it receives no money from tuition or public appropriations. “We’re a business and we’re self-supporting,” he said. Because of this, in order to expand from the eight campuses where H&FS operates, he explained, that his department must be invited to the campus in question, review their current situation, and then formulate a plan for the possibility of coming to that campus.
Regarding the prospect of new housing, Hurley said that “a decision is imminent.”
The H&FS senior director also clarified the difference between meal plans at smaller campuses with a higher percentage of commuters, and also said that a program for WiFi in residence halls would be implemented shortly.
Saturday, the Council passed a resolution calling for the creation of a Facilities Fee Board at each campus. Mike Alexander, CCSG’s Director of the Student Affairs Committee explained what the Board’s function would be. “To develop and modify the guidelines relating to the Facilities Fee, which includes how the money is spent.” He also said that it would have the power to determine how often the Board and administrations would meet, and the tier levels for the fee among the campuses. The operation of it would be very similar to how the Student Activity Fee is now.
Currently, Penn State has a Facilities Fee board in place, but there is no formal mechanism for student input. CCSG President Mohamed Raouda said that the Board would be “just the start of the process to give more insight to students on the Facilities Fee and make sure we have a say.” The resolution passed by a vote of 27-0-4. It now has to go through Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, President Spanier, and ultimately the Board of Trustees, who would have to reveal their existing system in favor of this one. The process should take about one to three years to complete.
The Council also passed an amendment to their legislative bylaws, and also formally endorsed the creation of a Pennsylvania Student Association, uniting student governments from Penn State, Pitt, Lincoln, and Temple. To conclude, Jamika Williams, president of the Student Minority Advisory and Recruitment Team (SMART), gave a presentation on the state of diversity at Penn State.
The next Council weekend takes place on January 28 and 29, 2011.