Students aim to improve Calvin during Proposal Month

Last year's Proposal Month was successful, and this year's has even more resources to distribute.  Image courtesy student senate
Last year's Proposal Month was successful, and this year's has even more resources to distribute. Image courtesy student senate

Is there something you want to change around Calvin? Do you have ideas for improving your dorm, dining hall, classroom or campus in general? Well, this is your big chance.

Calvin College’s student senate has launched the 2nd annual Proposal Month, a time, says Executive Vice President Josiah Sinclair, “when students can propose anything they want [within reason] and we will work on it!”

The possibilities for this year’s Proposal Month are particularly exciting, Sinclair said.

“The student senate has been given $10,000 to fund student ideas, the money is not for the senate or another student organization but to fund the ideas of students.”

This unique opportunity, or as the senate calls it, the “Ten K Initiative” opens all kinds of possibilities for improvement on campus. Sinclair gave several examples of proposals: “Replacing the elevator in the library, putting covers over the bike racks, adding a volleyball court — whatever idea you have you can propose it to us.”

Proposal month itself was proposed by then freshman senator Sam Schuiteman last year and has already blossomed into an exciting program. The fund will make it possible this year to turn students’ ideas into tangible realities. Whether the changes are big or small, student senate is eager to tackle them. Sinclair hopes that Calvin students will come to realize all that student senate can accomplish on behalf of the student body.

Anyone can make a proposal. The forms are located on senate’s website or at the senate office. All proposals are carefully assessed by the senate and then voted on. For the rest of the year, teams from within the senate will work to bring the approved proposals to fruition. The senate discusses proposals at their open meetings on Monday nights at 6:00 p.m. in the Commons Annex. Sinclair encourages students who make a proposal to attend the meetings so they can further explain and fight for their ideas.

Not all the approved proposals will go into effect. Last year senate lobbied to get the Covenant Fine Arts Center opened on Sundays, but in the end was refused. However the student-proposed “dine with deans” program met with marvelous success. Senate set up six pre-paid dinners during which 15-30 students eat with a dean of their choice at the dining hall. These events were popular and senate is planning more this year.

Ideas for improvement are already simmering around campus. Freshman, Anna Delph says, “I’d like to have ‘to-go’ boxes at the dining hall.  When you swipe your ID you could either get in line or take a box to-go.”

Ashley Weesies, a sophomore says “I like the idea of having longer loud hours.” And several students expressed the wish for Sunday library hours.

The real purpose of Proposal Month is “to encourage students to take initiative and be innovative when it comes to improving Calvin,” says Sinclair. So Senate encourages you to take advantage of this special Proposal Month — share your ideas and improve your college for you, your peers and future Calvin students.

About the Author

Julia LaPlaca

Julia LaPlaca is a Chimes writer for the 2013-14 school year. She is a junior at Calvin majoring in literature and art history.

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