The Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) meeting on Wednesday featured a discussion of chem-free housing at Bowdoin, and the allotment of $2,000 for multicultural programming.
Associate Director of Residential Education Ben Farrell summarized the results of the chem-free housing panel, which debated the ramifications of students feeling stigmatized because of their living preference.
Students with strong opinions about the system volunteered to attend the discussions. Some members of BSG agreed that having one first year brick designated as a chem-free dorm may unfairly separate these students from the rest of the bricks. They suggested splitting these floors up into parts of the other first year bricks, while others argued that a quiet living style should be something designated on a housing form, along with things like smoking and cleanliness.
Nylea Bivins '12 reintroduced a $12,500 proposal on behalf of the Office of Multicultural Student Programs, that would fund a series of lectures about diversity and multiculturalism on campus. The event, developed by Bivins over the summer, would bring renowned speakers such as Mahzarin Banaji, a prestigious social psychology professor at Harvard, and Tim Wise, an essayist, author and educator, to campus to engage students in discussions about multiculturalism.
"You'll see speakers, artwork, online interactive activities—a whole combination of things so that the whole campus and Brunswick community will feel safe in engaging in conversation about diversity and the acceptance of others," said Bivins.
BSG decided to grant the event $2,000 of their programming budget, and will continue to work with Bivins as she finds speakers.
Next week, BSG will vote on three Amendments to the Student Activities Funding Committe guidelines, involving general funding, general club funding, and general sports funding, all efforts to make funding more accessible to students. BSG also reported that one of the two Class of 2014 Representatives, Sam Burnim, has resigned for personal reasons.
Nylea Bivins '12 first submitted her proposal to BSG at last week's meeting, seeking $12,500 to fund a multicultural event.
The Committee on Student Affairs recommended that BSG allocate no more than $4,000 for the event. The committee said that a poll to gauge potential student interest has yet to be conducted, that the request was significantly more than what was asked of other administrative offices, and that the speakers were not yet completely confirmed.
Vice President of BSG Affairs Anirudh Sreekrishnan '12 noted that if BSG were to fund this program, it would use up nearly all of BSG's programming budget for the year, the majority of which is typically used to subsidize food and drinks during Ivies Weekend.
Katy Longley, senior vice president for finance and administration, then discussed the upcoming acquisition of the Longfellow School, behind Thorne Dining Hall.
"We had a really busy summer," said Longley. "We've been working with the town of Brunswick to acquire the Longfellow School. We will own the propery later this month or later [in] December."
Once Bowdoin's Board of Trustees approves the transaction, deliberations will commence about building use.
"We're going to take our time and figure out what we're going to do with the school," said Longley. "The idea is to use it for visual arts. If we can pay for it, it'd be really nice to bring all the visual arts spaces together. As of now, they're spread throughout the campus."