The new College Council (CC) administration, under the leadership of recently elected co-presidents Krista Pickett ’13 and Peter Skipper ’13, passed a resolution on Wednesday allowing every member of CC to take part in weekly votes to set the organization’s agenda.
These meetings, which were previously open only to the eight year-long members of CC that make up CC Campus, take place each Sunday prior to the open Wednesday CC meetings. The change is the new administration’s first effort to make CC more cohesive and more representative of the entire campus.
The agenda-setting meetings on Sunday nights are an opportunity for CC members to present their ideas for discussion. The CC agenda dictates which goals the Council will pursue each week. “It is similar to a vetting system,” Pickett said. “At the meeting, we decide what is worth talking about.”
Pickett and Skipper decided to change the protocol for the Sunday meetings after discussing their own past experiences on Council. Pickett has been a member of CC Campus for the past two years and Skipper has served as the Dodd house representative and the Dodd at-large representative. Understanding roles as representatives on and off CC campus, the pair saw a clear disconnect between these two components of CC. As representatives of the campus, both Pickett and Skipper were supposed to be the voice of the student body and help get students’ ideas on the agenda. However, only Pickett was able to do so according to the rules. “It felt exclusive, knowing that I had to go through somebody else to put something on the agenda,” Skipper said.
Now that all members of CC will be included, every elected member will get an equal say and have equal knowledge of what will be on the agenda at CC meetings. Attendance at these meetings is encouraged for all members and required for CC officers. This change will also streamline the Wednesday meeting process by keeping all members informed without wasting time discussing the Sunday meeting and repeating the agenda.
“In the past, some members felt excluded. Often it was difficult for them to get items on the agenda,” Pickett said. “It created an artificial divide and made us less efficient as a body.”
More important than efficiency, however, is cohesion. “We wanted to empower individual members of Council to make them feel like they are more a part of the process,” Skipper said. “Every member should have an equal say in deciding what we discuss on Wednesday nights.”
The change has been met with enthusiasm from the rest of Council. “It will be a fantastic thing to have these meetings more inclusive and holistic going forward,” said Emily Calkins ’14, Class of 2014 representative. “After having our first meeting, my positive thoughts on the potential of this idea were validated. It is invaluable for all of CC to be increasingly prepared for the Wednesday meeting and this will help to do that. It is the first of many great changes [Pickett] and [Skipper] are sure to make in the coming year.”