Student Senate Report 9/27

Vice President of Student Affairs Ellen M. Reynolds discussed the incoming Fall 2023 class. Alongside Dr. Reynolds was Tom Cooley, the newest member of the Student Affairs leadership team. Cooley has 20 years of experience in housing and worked at the University of Chicago.

Reynolds reported that the Fall 2023 class had 25,385 student applicants and 500 transfer students. Out of 2,000 graduate students, 25% represent students from diverse communities.

Big concerns from incoming students included academics, mental health, wellness and making new friends. Reynolds expressed understanding and sympathy for these concerns.

“That transition from high school to college is scary,” Reynolds said. “This is a common worry that students have: How am I going to find my community?”

The goal of student affairs is to help students find their sense of connection. Many events were held during orientation week, such as bingo night, a glow dance party, bubble soccer and a free farmers market. Students were able to socialize and feel welcomed into the URI community.

Cooley introduced a housing advisory committee. This committee will consist of a group of students who come together once a month to address housing concerns. Cooley hopes to give students a voice.

“I believe in transparency,” Cooley said. “I believe in really working towards the student experiences. My door is always open, willing to talk to hear some feedback.”

Cooley expressed enthusiasm for students’ living experience, and is committed to working towards change. The current goal is improving students’ housing experience holistically, which starts with the look and feel of the University’s halls.

Upcoming student affairs events are Family Weekend, held from Sept. 29-Oct. 1. On Sept. 30, there will be a tailgate before the football game from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. located outside the stadium. There will be lawn games and food trucks from Iggy’s RI, Haven Brother’s Mobile and One2 Taco’s. More details on Family Weekend can be found on the URI website under Student Involvement.

Academics Affairs Chair Lauren Peckham mentioned a disability, access and inclusion student testimony held on Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at booth one. DAI is a service that facilitates inclusive practices on campus. The service works with URI Leadership to ensure accessibility for disabled students.

The Senate has heard from a lot of students that professors are not accommodating to their academic needs. Their testimony goal is to get student feedback and personal stories to see how current concerns can be improved. A long term goal for academic affairs is to create an advisory board that has faculty, staff members and students. This will create an accountability system for professors that do not follow DAI accommodations. To get started with DAI, contact, or call 401-874-2098 to schedule an appointment.

Campus Affairs Chair Sophia Buono talked about the Blue Light Walk. This is where students walk around the campus and ensure the emergency phones are working. There is a check held during the Fall and the Spring semesters. The details of the event are still in progress. To report a broken light, contact Facility Operations at 401-874-4060 from Monday – Friday., 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.