Student Council

Student Council is hard at work trying to implement a multi-purpose ID system, online sign-in, water coolers in all the dorms, T.V. screens in the fitness room, and a reduction the cost of textbooks. School President Ali Siddiqi ’06 said, “We are trying to address student concerns as they come to us, and we want to make concrete changes that will ease the lives of all Andover students.” The Student Council’s most ambitious plan is the “smart card” system, in which students could use their IDs to buy items at the Ryley Room and the Andover Book Store and also to gain entry into their dorms. Dean of Students Marlys Edwards has assembled a committee to discuss the mechanics of this system. The card system is the first priority of the Student Council, and with a large contingent of support from both faculty and students, the council hopes to have the new system up and running by the 2006-2007 academic year. Online sign-in is the other long-term project in the works. Aggravated by the long walk back to America House merely to sign-in and return to the library, Secretary of Student Government Teddy Collins ’08 suggested to Siddiqi that Student Council propose a new online sign-in policy. As a result of Siddiqi and Collins’s hard work, PAnet Blackboard may have an online sign-in feature in time for winter term, though a debut at the start of the 2006-2007 year is more likely. Student Council is refining the logistics of the system before it presents the idea to the administration. Collins said, “We are all crossing our fingers for approval, as it seems to be a practically perfect system, and it would make life easier for both students and faculty…. It will require a lot of work, even if it doesn’t pull through, but if it is successful, it will be worth it.” The remaining projects, dorm water coolers and the T.V.s in the fitness center, have a better chance of being realized. The remaining obstacle to these plans is cost. The council has also discussed possible solutions to the increasing cost of textbooks. Student Council hopes to eventually break the Andover Bookstore’s monopoly on textbooks, thus creating a cheaper way for students to buy their books. Secretary of Student Government Yoni Gruskin ’07 said, “Most of the smaller things are easy to get done, but they really make a difference in everyday life.” The Council also hopes to be more involved in the administration’s discussions of proposed schedule changes to the academic year. Siddiqi said, “As you know, the cut in Thanksgiving break has already been a huge problem for international students. We want to get to the bottom of this plan and see what Student Council can do about it, based on how the student body feels.” The council intends to present their ideas soon to the student body so that they can receive student feedback before the School Congress in late November. At School Congress, the council presents their proposals to the faculty. Gruskin said, “You don’t want to go up there [at School Congress] and go on a tirade about your own opinions. It’s only effective if you voice the opinions of your class by sending out surveys.” As of now, the council is debating between two possible approaches to this meeting. It will either focus on one of the long-term projects such as the “smart card” or discuss general changes on campus and the disappearance of long-standing traditions.