By: Jon Dusza and Ava C. Green, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief
The Undergraduate Student Association (USA) held its first senate meeting of the new year this past Friday, Jan. 25, to ring in the spring semester. Even with low attendance, Speaker Faas gaveled in the session at 2:34 to ensure ample time for their guest speaker, Title IX Coordinator and Associate Dean of Students Debbie Owens, despite USA President Jahare Hudson not yet being present.
Hudson made it just after the roll call with plenty of time before Owens gave her presentation about the updated schedules for New Griff Orientation in the fall, which look quite different from prior years.
Orientation in the fall will be held throughout July, with four sessions of two days and two nights made up of groups of about 100 to 115 students. In the past, every first-year student — usually between 400 to 500 people — would come to campus for orientation about a week before classes began in August. On top of believing we do not have the resources to sustain programming for that many people at once, Debbie Owens also thinks that the previous system did not allow for as much student engagement as the new July schedule will.
She finds it important to “engage our first-year students some time after Accepted Students Day in April but before they begin classes in August,” and with smaller groups, the orientation team hopes to focus on creative programs to get orientees acclimated to student life. The incoming first years get to stay in the freshman dorms to encourage “leisurely” and “natural engagement,” with orientation leaders (OLs) acting as interim resident assistants while orientees spend the night.
As orientation director, Owens is looking for a total of 18 OLs to work the sessions. OLs have to be willing to attend all four sessions — as well as the orientation for transfer, international and “last chance” students being the weekend before fall classes begin — to get the position. Still, students interested in being an OL in the fall can reach out to Debbie Owens for more information.
After the orientation presentation, the senate moved to executive reports where Student Engagement and Leadership Development (SELD) Director Jason Francey also had some updates. He let senators know that students are no longer allowed to purchase gift cards with their club cards from Student Life, suggesting that clubs opt to add GriffBucks or GriffChoice to students' swipe cards as a monetary incentive instead.
Francey’s report ended with an announcement that due to NFTA metro policy changes, Canisius can no longer offer free passes to all students. He noted being “blindsided” by this change, saying that continuing to provide the service given the recent increase in price for the passes would cause a higher student activity fee. “It was not an easy decision to make,” said Francey, who also said that passes would now be available upon request in the SELD office.
Before adjourning the relatively brief meeting at 3:15, President Hudson announced that Canisius recently hired Clayton Stanton as the new chief of Public Safety and seemed eager to have Stanton speak at a senate meeting soon.
The senate will meet next on Friday, Feb. 2 at 2:30 in Regis — meetings are open for all students to attend and give concerns!