Senate takes on Big Game transport plans, Social Life Accelerator Task Force and Cardinal Fridays during October meetings

Nov. 8, 2022, 12:35 a.m.

During the October Undergraduate Senate (UGS) meetings, senators discussed allocating funding to serve students during the Big Game and avenues to foster student social life. 

The senators also shared plans for their various passion projects, which included proposals to lower textbook costs, establish a multiracial community center and fund cultural fellowships. 

With the Big Game against Cal coming up on Nov. 19, the Senate discussed funding for student transportation, food and merchandise options such as bucket hats at its Oct. 20 meeting. The Senate plans to supplement funding for shuttles. 

At the same meeting, senators also met with Jennifer Rowland, Assistant Dean of Career Education, about reducing textbook costs. According to the University student budget, an average student will typically spend $1,350 a year for books and supplies. 

The Senate plans to purchase new textbooks using discretionary funds based on the results of a forthcoming survey to donate to the First-Gen and/or Low Income (FLI) Library, which helps FLI students access donated textbooks to use for classes. 

The Senate plans to survey FLI students on their experiences with financial barriers to textbooks and use that data to determine which books to purchase and which departments the Faculty Senate should prioritize in reducing textbook costs. The committee also plans to work with the FLI Partnership for an end-of-the-year book drive. 

Before its Oct. 27 meeting, the Senate met with Jenn Calvert, assistant vice provost for strategy in Student Affairs, to discuss student engagement and social events on campus. The meeting follows a rise in student criticisms of the University’s approach to social life on campus.

 At the start of fall quarter, the Social Life Accelerator Task Force, a group of alumni dedicated towards accelerating undergraduate social life on campus, gave the University a list of 25 recommendations to further student engagement in terms of social activities and events. The University implemented 20 of those recommendations, according to representatives from the task force. 

The recommendations have not yet been made public, the senators said.

To foster more student engagement in sports games, the senators have also partnered with Stanford Athletics to launch #CardinalFridays. The partnership encourages students to wear Stanford merchandise on Fridays to show their support for the various athletic programs and share on social media for opportunities to win prizes. 

The Senate is also in the process of working with the Community Centers at Stanford to establish a biracial and multicultural community center. Additionally, it is working on sponsoring a mental health clinic specifically for Muslim students. 

Zoe Edelman, Oriana Riley, Kyla Figueroa and Helena Getahun-Hawkins contributed reporting.

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