Committees will be cut to improve productivity

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

SDSU is in the process of dropping the number of committees on campus from 54 to 18. University officials felt that by restructuring the number of committees on campus, the committees would be strengthened and more productive.

“Some people may fear that the committees would lose their viability, but it really couldn’t be much the opposite,” said Doug Wermedal, assistant vice president for Student Affairs. “This will be a way to share governance and improve their viability.”

With so many committees on campus currently, Wermedal said some of them are not utilized effectively.

“The unproductive thing would be if these committees weren’t being productive, because that would completely dilute the efforts of the volunteers that sit on the committees,” he said.

Faculty, students and administrative members sit on each of the committees to give each of these groups of people on campus a voice in the decisions being made to better SDSU’s campus.

On March 15, the Students’ Association passed a resolution requesting to have control over three of the committees &- The Student Union Activity Council, the University Food Service Advisory Committee and the Wellness Center Advisory Council.

Currently those committees report to Marysz Rames, vice president for Student Affairs.

“I have spoken with some people at other institutions including (North Dakota State University) and (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and they have their student senate head up committees that are similar to (SUAC, UFSAC and UCAC) and they have found them to be an extremely powerful tool,” said Rames.

SA senators feel it is important that they stay active on those committees.

“The main reason the senate wants to be in charge of those committees is because they are the committees that a large amount of student fee dollars go toward,” said At-large Senator Eric Haiar, who is state and local chair for SA. “We have representatives on all of those committees now and have been active in them. We want to continue that.”

Rames went on to explain some of the tasks that the committees have accomplished in the past. UFSAC has played a role in getting new and different kinds of food to offer students.

“The food services committee really strived to get more fresh foods, themed meals, the kind of foods that students really wanted,” said Rames. “They have also been giving key input on The Union’s dining expansion.”

The SUAC committee was extremely helpful in finding out what students wanted The Union to look like, said Rames.

“They visited other institutions and found what students really wanted to see The Union look like because it does get used for such a variety of things,” said Rames. “Not only dining but also studying and meeting with groups as well as hosting student activities.”

The committee restructuring process hopes to sustain some committees with and without modifications, merge some committees with existing committees, create some new committees, disband some committees entirely and transition some of the committees over to the college or departmental operation.

Wermedal said the committees on campus do have an impact on the student body because it can help shape their environment.

“To be a student at SDSU is shaped by many things; some by the federal government, some by the state government, and some by the Board of Regents,” said Wermedal. “But there is one climate that is shaped directly by the people that it affects, and that is faculty staff and students that are on these committees.”

“It is a part of how the quality of education and experience turns out,” he said. “Part of that is individual student effort but another part is how these committees work together.”

One example that Wermedal gave on how the committees impact students was when Larson Commons became trayless.

“We got feedback from (Residence Hall Association) as well as student focus groups and they wanted to try and be more sustainable through not having trays in that dining area. It saves water, and puts less chemicals from the soap into the water,” Wermedal said. “That in itself shows how the committees really do shape the students’ environment.”

Other examples Wermedal gave regarding how campus committees benefit students is the switch to 24-hour visitation in residence halls.

“With students in partnership with administration we began our transition into having 24-hour visitation in residence halls after testing two pilot dorms,” said Wermedal.