In response to the formation of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Budget Priorities by senior staff, College Council (CC) has formed the Student Budget Committee to discuss student concerns about budget cuts.
The Ad Hoc Committee was formed last month to gain the perspectives of different factions of the College community in order to make suggestions pertaining to budgets and their imminent cuts. While former CC Co-Presidents Jeremy Goldstein ’09 and Peter Nurnberg ’09 and current CC Co-President Mike Tcheyan ’10 represent the student body as members of the Ad Hoc Committee, Tcheyan and Co-President Lizzy Brickley ’10 want to assure that this limited student voice actually represents student opinion, and hope to use the four student positions on the Ad Hoc Committee to relay the desires and concerns of the student body.
To assure that the student population is accurately represented, CC created the Student Budget Committee as a way to reach out to students. The Committee will meet weekly to investigate and consider the areas of life that students want protected. “[The Committee] focuses on areas where the students have expertise and faculty don’t – for example dining services, housing options and First Days, etc.,” Tcheyan said.
Committee Chair Amanda Weatherhead ’12 echoed Tcheyan’s sentiment. “Our primary goal is to make sure that student voices are heard so that we can protect those things that are most important to the Williams College community at large,” she said.
The Committee plans to solicit student input and opinion in a number of ways. During the week after Spring Break, the Committee will enact a “Dining Hall Blitz,” during which members will ask students to voice their opinions by filling out surveys in dining halls. Students will rank categories including financial aid, academic experience, study abroad and dining services in order of importance. In addition to the more direct dining hall approach, CC has created an e-mail line especially for students to make suggestions and voice concerns in a more convenient way.
The hope of the committee members is that the student representatives can bring to the Ad Hoc Committee ideas that are supported by a majority of students. “We want it to be a two-way conversation,” Brickley said.