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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

Grab & Go photo (South Dining Hall)

Student senate talks spring semester election cycle in first meeting of 2024

The Notre Dame student senate hosted representatives from the provost’s office, who discussed the University’s ten-year accreditation requirement, during its first meeting of the semester Wednesday. The senate also discussed a letter it received from University President Fr. John Jenkins and sending a letter to the registrar.

Student Body vice president Aidan Rezner delivered the meeting’s opening prayer, and Student Union secretary Isabella Tardio asked members of the senate about what they are most looking forward to during this spring semester, to which many expressed excitement about spring break and tulips around the Grotto come warmer weather.

Rezner got minutes from the previous senate meeting approved and invited Demetra Schoenig and Caroline Maloney from the provost’s office to speak at the front of the room.

Upcoming school-wide survey

This spring, Schoenig began, the Notre Dame will host representatives from the Higher Learning Commission, which is based in Chicago. Recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the commission accredits degree-granting, post-secondary educational institutions across the United States, including Notre Dame.

Notre Dame first received accreditation from the commission in 1914, and the commission has returned to campus every ten years since to reevaluate the University. Schoenig, who is the commission's academic affairs director, and Maloney, an associate director for academic programming and accreditation, are currently working with the commission in preparation for its visit in April.

When a university is accredited, Schoenig explained, the accreditation serves as a link between the institution and the public to demonstrate academic quality and program integrity.

“The goal of accreditation is to ensure that for money spent and time sacrificed by students, education is the quality that it should be,” Schoenig said.

Maloney stepped in, revealing that part of the commission’s process in accreditation includes sending out a survey to all currently enrolled students, including undergraduates and graduate and professional students. Maloney said that the survey is designed and managed by the commission and will ask students to rate their experiences at the University.

On Feb. 5, every student at the University will receive an email from the provost’s office with the survey, which will remain open until Feb. 14.

The commission collects the survey data, anonymizes it and creates a report that will help shape questions that will be posed to students, faculty and administers by the commission during its site visit on April 8 and 9, Maloney added.

Schoenig explained how important this survey is in providing both the commission and the University with feedback on how Notre Dame can continue to positively develop as an institution.

“As excellent as we may be, there’s always room for improvement,” she said. “That’s where the student voices come in. Please participate. Please encourage your classmates to participate.”

Letter from Jenkins

Transitioning to executive announcements, Rezner reminded the senate of the upcoming Ice Skate Night in Compton Family Arena, which will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday. The time was recently changed, and Insomnia Cookies are included.

Student body president Daniel Jung then shared a letter the senate received from Jenkins. It was a response to a letter of gratitude in recognition of Jenkin’s announcement to step down from the presidency at the conclusion of the current school year that the senate sent in November.

“There have been many wonderful aspects of my service at Notre Dame, and I cherish them all, but nothing exceeds the chance to work with Notre Dame students,” Jenkins wrote.

General orders

At the start of general orders, Dillon Hall senator Sam Godinez brought up a letter that he drafted for the registrar.

Godinez wanted the registrar to tell him the percentage of undergraduate students who currently have class before 10 a.m. because he was concerned for students who skip breakfast because of an earlier class. Ultimately, Godinez would like to expand Grab-n-Go hours.

Asking for a statistic of undergraduate students who currently have class before 10 a.m., Godinez expressed his purpose in addressing the letter as the first step in working for an increase in Grab-n-Go hours, specifically for students who may be skipping breakfast because of an early class.

In light of upcoming student government elections, Student Union parliamentarian Hunter Brooke reminded the entire senate that they are not allowed to endorse anyone in any election across campus.

Rezner reminded everyone “to be kind to one another” during the excitement that comes with elections in the spring semester.