Welcome back to school Rams! I am excited to announce that our Student Senate has been hard at work all summer long to improve the University of Rhode Island student experience. Over the course of the summer, and the months leading up to it, progress has been made in a number of areas. Parking Reform, Sexual Assault Prevention and a Cultural Affairs Committee overhaul are just a few of the main areas that we have been working on collectively. 

On the parking front, the Senate-pushed carpool permit has officially been implemented and many students have already signed up! This will result in students saving money, increased parking availability, priority parking for those who take part in the plan and a reduction of carbon emissions for the University as a whole. Additionally, Senate has achieved a parking solution for Greek students who are studying abroad and only wish to obtain a one semester permit. Those students now have the opportunity to purchase a half year permit, at half the cost of the previous option, which is designated for parking in the Graduate Housing Lot.

Tangible sexual assault prevention tactics have been implemented, both on and offcampus, making the University community safer now than it was just a few short months ago. To ensure the maximum success rate of these tactics, they will not be mentioned specifically. It is important to note that all bars in southern Rhode Island are fully cooperating with Student Senate and the I-Stand program to ensure a safe experience at their establishments for the URI student patrons.

Finally, our Cultural Affairs Committee has been totally overhauled to better represent the diverse University demographic. One of the high-flying assets of URI is the rich diversity of the student body. As should be the case with any representative group, the constituents should be represented by people who both look and think like them, and that is what we have, and will continue to achieve. The new Cultural Affairs Committee has already been receiving praise for how it is approaching cultural issues on campus.

These are just some of the achievements that have been made during this term so far, and the future is far more exciting. One of the major goals is to create a genuinely better relationship between the off-campus community and the URI student population. This will be accomplished in part by showcasing to the surrounding towns that they have a resource that not many towns have- that is, the URI student body’s incredible spirit and proclivity to give back.

Mental Health Resource promotion is at the top of the Senate’s to-do list as well, along with rethinking contracts with companies that are harmful to the Earth, and filling our Student Senate to capacity to ensure the success of our Senate accomplishing what we set out to do. We will never stop working hard on behalf of the students of URI. Think Bigger!