In the dimly-lit Midtown Student Center Theater, college students mingled in the back. Little groups were scattered around the food tables. A low murmur of conversation could be heard throughout the theater, but no specific words could be made out. That all changed at 3:30 p.m., when the students (and a few faculty members) took their seats and waited for the meeting to begin.
Starting on Wednesday, Oct. 7, Western Connecticut State University’s Student Government Association (SGA) hosted the first of possibly many Town Hall Meetings. As SGA member Izzy Kabemba stated to the crowd, “We want an open forum for everyone to speak freely.” The purpose of the Town Hall Meetings, then, is to keep students informed about what is going on around campus, while also giving them the opportunity to speak up about campus issues.
The meeting was set up in a simple matter: representatives from different areas of campus life came up to the stage and presented students with information about proposed changes. Once every representative was done speaking, Kabemba hosted a Question and Answer session. This provided students the opportunity to bring new ideas to the table.
Hot topics for discussion at the Oct. 7 meeting were the potential rise of the Student Activity Fee, reworking the academic advisement system, the changes made to campus dining, and Western Recreation’s plans for a new Fitness Center on campus.
Students were particularly interested in the plans for a new Fitness Center. Members of the audience asked representative Amy Shanks where the building would be located (extended from the back of Berkshire Hall out to the lawn of the Science Building), how much the fee for the center would be (students would vote on how much they would be willing to spend), and why they should care about this building when they are so far into their undergraduate careers (it’s an investment for the future of the university.)
“It’s pretty cool to walk around [campus] and see something that you made happen,” Shanks told the audience.
“This is your chance to really make something happen,” added another faculty member.
Be on the lookout around campus for flyers about SGA’s next Town Hall Meeting.