Ching Ho ‘03 and Mark Rosenthal ‘03, the newly elected co-presidents of College Council (CC), recently outlined their vision for CC and the students of Williams College.
“Vision is nothing without first understanding student motivation,” said Ho. “You research what [students] need, and then you focus all your skills and energies towards providing what students want.”
Ho and Rosenthal’s vision for the College includes better utilizing and increasing alumni contacts, improving the 1914 Memorial Library by using unredeemed library vouchers to fund the library, and starting a service providing laptops for students on financial aid.
“I want to have all CC reps working on improving student life,” said Rosenthal. “The student body will feel a CC presence in the form of concrete results and accomplishments. We want to keep students as involved and informed as possible.”
Ho expressed some dissatisfaction with the direction taken by the previous College Council. “Over the last year, what happened was that thirty five council members would spend an hour bickering on bylaws and paper items that would never pass and would foster no concrete benefits to the student body,” he said.
“Project time,” a new program devised to enhance the productivity of the Council and to improve student life here on campus, has become an integral part of CC’s weekly meetings. Each member of CC is currently working on various projects to help augment student life here on campus.
During the project time portion of meetings, CC members discuss projects they are working on, whether any progress has been made, and any roadblocks that may hinder the project’s completion. Ho and Rosenthal hope that cooperation and input from other members of the Council will facilitate the various projects’ completion.
The new co-presidents intend for project time to address issues of social responsibility and expediency. Thus far, it has produced a new provisional student handbook for first-year students to help them learn the “ins and outs” of campus life, chose a uniform class ring, debated improvements in road safety and brought up the idea for an agnostic spiritual center.
“So after [the] necessary business is taken care of at each meeting, [project time allows CC to] get into [a] more hands-on way of improving students’ lives on campus,” said Rosenthal.
Throughout their term in office, Ho and Rosenthal expect a number of important issues to come before the CC. For the immediate future, they expect to deal with minority issues and the All-Campus Entertainment (ACE) proposal to fuse the Student Activities Committee (SAC), the Log Committee, the Goodrich Committee, and the Social Chairs together. Ho believes that the ACE proposal will provide the campus with a diverse array of fun social events for students.
“Minority issues always come up, and the minority leadership has been traditionally unsatisfied with College Council,” said Ho. “Mark and I won’t just sit in on meetings and be token representatives â€“ if there’s a good project that MinCo (Minority Coalition) brings up, we will do everything we can to see it through. Simple as that â€“ I don’t think I can make a stronger statement.”
Ho and Rosenthal also foresee CC being confronted with the Housing Committee’s proposal to pay housing coordinators and allow them first pick in the housing draw. And finally, they anticipate more requests from students for more non-alcoholic social events, such as the SAC-organized Regurgitator performance.
At present, the most important issue facing Ho and Rosenthal is whether or not to bring the newly proposed CC constitution up for vote. Both Ho and Rosenthal expressed some interest in working with the already existing CC constitution rather than formulating a new one.
“I’m willing to work with what we have,” said Rosenthal. “I feel that time spent on passing the [CC’s] Constitution could be better spent on getting concrete things done for students. I think it could be done, but I don’t know how enthusiastic the Council as a whole is about it.”
“When a single amendment went up last year, we barely got 50% of
the [student body] to vote,” said Ho. “When a whole constitution went up, that number was more than halved… students don’t care about a piece of paper they don’t know much about…. If this were to be taken up again, much of our energies will be redirected and I believe, once again, wasted. [College Council] can do better things.”
Ho and Rosenthal encourage students to remain in contact with them and their CC representatives.
“I [urge] students to contact their CC Reps,” said Rosenthal, “with whatever issue no matter how small, or email their problem or comments to be read at the next Council meeting at firstname.lastname@example.org.”