The External Affairs Committee discussed the ongoing residency issue between the residents of Narragansett and the college students that reside within Narragansett. Over the past few years tensions have continued to increase between students and residents about the garbage that now fills the once clean Narragansett streets, noise complaints and excessive weekend partying. The Student Senate has continued to put forward compromise in hope to find common ground between the two parties, but at the Narragansett town meeting this past Monday the External Affairs board reported they were only met with “closed mindedness” from the Narragansett residents.  The longtime Narragansett residents argue that they want to create a new ordinance that would only allow four students maximum to a house–even if the house had more than four bedrooms. Thinking realistically, the Senate understands that the number of people who reside in a house is unrelated to how many students the house would hold at a weekend party. The Senate will continue to work with Joe Berardi to develop an incentive program so common ground can be established in the future. The incentive program is still in a theoretical stage, but some ideas that the Senate put forth are to have students take classes on alcohol and substance abuse so students can understand what it truly means to be a responsible member of the Narragansett community.

The Campus Affairs committee brought the discussion of TV and internet to the floor. Internet and TV connection has traditionally been a topic of complaint with on-campus residents at URI. However, the university already spends $600,000 annually on bandwidth and has an ancient TV setup on campus that would require massive restructuring in order to move forward. The biggest dilemma that administration faces is keeping technology costs low, currently at $128 with a cap at $200, while at the same time pleasing student’s internet and TV needs.

The Student Senate recognized the National Alliance on Mental Illness as a funded organization. The National Alliance on Mental Illness’s mission statement includes: “Provide a place for students suffering from mental illness to socialize, support each other, and raise awareness.” By recognizing the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Senate has made substantial progress in creating an outlet for students with mental disabilities, creating a more accessible social scene on campus.

The Cultural Affairs Committee has been participating in the Spirit of Giving during this holiday season. The committee has adopted a family of four composed of a single mother and her three children with ages ranging from four to 13. Any donations are welcome, however winter jackets are in especially high demand.