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Platform Progress

This page will be updated frequently as policies and the status of developing our initiatives change. 

For more information on our policy and platform progress, contact our Policy & Development Director at senatedvlp@ku.edu

On-Campus Food Pantry: 

Student Senate has partnered with KU Fights Hunger and the Center for Community Outreach to move the Campus Cupboard, previously located off campus, to a more accessible location in the KU Memorial Union. This new location will provide students in need of food assistance easier access to resources. We hope that increased convenience from open parking and connecting bus routes will make foot traffic to the pantry improve. Expanded hours of operation will also allow students to visit the pantry on their own time rather than trying to work aroudn the pantry's operation schedule. The pantry will provide food resources among other products to ensure a healthy lifestyle at KU. We also hope to eventually incorporate distribution of free menstrual products on site as well. 

8/23: Construction on the Campus Cubpoard in the Union is going well and should be completed within the next week or two. The pantry is set to be operational by mid September. We are still discussing a potential name and branding change for the pantry. 

8/29: KU Fights Hunger committee met to finalize ribbon cutting and volunteering plans for the food pantry. We also discussed plans to incorporate free menstrual products into the service.

9/3-9/7: Campus Cupboard offically opens in the KU Memorial Union! Ribbon cutting was Monday, September 24th.

 

Women In STEMM Program:

We recognize that there is currently an underrepresentation of women in STEMM fields, both across the country and here at KU. Particularly in the Engineering School, well above two-thirds of the enrolled students identify as male. We see this as a major problem for female identifying students who wish to pursue STEMM at KU while also looking to connect with other like-minded and empowered women. We hope to establish a day-long forum next spring where we bring in women from across the state of Kansas to tour our science buildings, while also hearing from female professors and lecturers in STEMM majors at KU and successful women in STEMM careers from around the state. This will motivate these women to not only attend KU but also pursue careers where women have been traditionally underrepresented.

Update Fall 2018: Date for the event set for March 23rd. We've met with several academic units and departments across KU including Endowment, Kansas Athletics, Kansas Memorial Corp., the school of engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Student Affairs, and so many others to engage support for the event. For specific updates on the event and logistics, please reach out to Tiara Floyd, Student Senate Policy & Development Director, at senatedvlp@ku.edu

 

Textbook Affordability:

The cost of higher education continues to rise with each passing year and eventually those costs can be too much to bear. We hope that addressing the rapidly rising cost of textbooks at KU in any way we can will help mitigate some of those burdens for the students. Establishing a textbook share program where students can donate their old textbooks for future students taking the same class will allow people with a low socioeconomic status to maintain access to essential items like textbooks. We also think the expansion of inclusive access textbook programs and open educational resources will help drive down textbook costs for KU students in the long run. 

8/20: First pilot of "Auto-Access" reduced textbook program launches at the University of Kansas. The program is modeled after one at the University of Missouri that has saved students hundreds of thousands of dollars in textbook costs over the past 7 years. We hope to expand this program to 10 courses offered at KU for the Spring 2019 semester so that more students are offered affordable textbook selections. 

8/29: Student Senate met with KU Bookstore to discuss Auto Access and how the service can be expanded to more courses. Planning to create a feedback survey for the HSES course that piloted this program this semester. Student Senate also negotiated with the bookstore to gain student representation on the textbook affordability oversight committee.

9/5: Meet with Kevin Smith, Dean of Libraries to discuss textbook share initiative. Looking into space options within the libraries and how this program would be staffed and managed.

10/19: Student Senate gains student representaiton on the KU Textbook Working Group for the first time ever. This group is dedicated to driving down the cost of course materials at KU, particularly through the expansion of open educational resources. Currently, KU has a fund established through KU Endowment that offers grants to KU faculty that adopt, adapt, or create OER materials for their courses. See this link to learn more about current progress of that initiative: https://openaccess.ku.edu/oer  

11/28-11/30: Noah Ries, Student Body President, was invited to attend the MHEC OER conference centered around expanding open educaitonal resources at the universities in the midwest. Noah worked with members of K State's student government and the Kansas Board of Regents at the conference to draft an action plan for expanding these free course materials at our university. A standard KBOR textbook affordability survey was created that will hopefully be distributed at all KBOR universities at the beginning of next semester. The data will then be used to advocate for an increase in grant funding for OER at KU. 

12/5: A resolution is seen by the Student Senate with regards to open educational resources. The plan is to also create an award distributed by KU Student Senate for faculty members that adopt or embrace open educational resources at KU. 

 

Student-Parent Advisor:

KU has all kinds of resources for every student. However, oftentimes these resources are too decentralized and therefore not used as effectively as they could be. One example of this phenomenon is the resources KU currently offers for student parents. Although KU does have the means to help student parents navigate the difficult challenge of keeping up with classes while also raising a child, our school has had trouble making sure these resources are used effectively. Consolidating all this knowledge into one student-parent advisor will help to ensure that some of the busiest students on this campus, those raising children, don’t have to spend hours searching for essential resources.

8/11: Student Senate met with the director of the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity to discuss partnership on this platform. Currently looking into different funding opportunities for this position. 

9/13: Met with SILC leadership to discuss current part-time positions that support non-traditional student services and how those could be expanded into a full time position. Currently creating a formal position description and disseminating a survey to non-traditional students to gauge interest in this potential resource.

11/5-11/11: SILC celebrated non-traditional student week. In a broad effort to increase outreach and resources for non-traditional students at KU, SILC incorporated specific events like a visit to Hilltop Child Development Center in order to provide resources for student parents at KU. Student Senate hopes that we can partner with SILC in the future to host more of these events in an effort to show appreciation for and help better connect non-traditional students. 

 

Healthy Snack Bar:

An important factor contributing to success in the classroom is a healthy lifestyle, and that starts with a diet. KU needs to be advocating for a healthy diet by increasing the number of healthy food options on our campus. At the Ambler Recreation Center in particular, healthy options after a workout are quite limited. The establishment of a snack bar in the building will not only provide convenient healthy options for students to refuel after a workout, but also create a new revenue stream for Ambler to become more independent of the student fee. If the Rec diversifies where its revenue is generated, then a cut in fee review won’t be as significant. They can also use the profit from the snack bar, after paying back the initial costs of the project, to funnel back into other improvements for the building. We hope that in the long term, this snack bar can provide an overall enhancement to the experience at the Ambler Recreation Center.

5/15: Initial outreach to Shake Smart and other vendors interested in opening a store in the Ambler Recreation Center 

5/22: Location set and concept plan drawn up 

6/01: Approval of concept by Shake Smart. Continued talks with KU Memorial Corp. and KU Dining to ensure they are on board. 

6/20: KU Memorial Corporation has begun accepting RFPs for businesses to submit that are interested in opening a store in the Ambler Recreation Center 

7/20: Shake Smart sucessfully submitted a bid for opening a store in the Ambler Recreation Center. KU Memorial Corporation expressed concerns toward expanding their business reach, over saturating the market on campus, and taking on unecessary risk at a time when they are already expanding their reach to other parts of campus. 

8/1: Progress halted on store opening as Shake Smart and KU Memorial Corporation failed to come to an agreement that suited both parties.  

8/23: Student Senate met with Director of KU Memorial Unions to reassess feasability of the project given KU Memorial Corporation's current fiscal situation.

9/8: Student Senate proposed the idea to the KU Memorial Corporation Board at their monthly meeting. KU Dining is discussing the concept and how it will fit into their big picture approach to food services on campus.

Update 12/3: After considerable debate and ample research having been conducted, KU Memorial Corporation Board will bring the concept to a vote at the February meeting to decide whether or not to ultimately invest in Shake Smart and begin construction late spring semester 2019. 

 

Parking Plan:

Many new KU students receive parking tickets early on in their first year. In our conversations with KU on Wheels, we learned that KU Parking may be willing to grant students an “amnesty week” during move-in week to allow students a period to adjust. This policy already currently exists for move-in day alone, but could be extended to the whole first week.

8/15: A working version of our "amnesty week" was piloted in finals week of the Spring semester, 2018 and we are currently reviewing the platform to ensure future implementation.

 

Continue the Rock Chalk Remain Fund:

The rising cost of tuition and living expenses is undoubtedly a burden for many students at KU. Accordingly, they are especially vulnerable when emergency situations arise, to the point that unexpected expenses may cause them to be unable to remain at the university. The previous administration launched the Rock Chalk Remain fund to address this issue, but it currently lacks the necessary seed money to allow for a sustainable launch. Our administration will prioritize completing the initial round of fundraising for the Rock Chalk Remain fund and work with Student Money Management Services to create an infrastructure for reviewing student applications and disbursing funds.

Spring '18: Over $3700 was raised for the fund.

8/31: Student Senate moved to incorporate these funds into an existing financial crisis fund managed by Student Affairs. These funds will become expendable soon and go towards ensuring retention of financially marginalized students at KU.

10/19: Funds transferred over to Student Affairs Good Samaritan account. Arrangements were made to allow these funds to be accessed by graduate students for the time being until Graduate Studies' emergency fund has more adequate resources. 

 

Expansion of Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault 

College campuses are unfortunately a hotbed for cases of sexual harrassment and sexual assault. KU Student Senate is working to change that narrative through education and partnership with SAPEC. We are also working to expand resources for survivors of sexual assault here on campus. We have partnered with the STA Care Center in Lawrence to specifically address some of these issues. Some specific initiatives include: 

Trauma Informed Reporting Rooms: Student Safety Advisory Board funded a trauma informed reporting room for KU Public Safety Office last Spring and plans to fund another room at the STA Care Center that will be implemented early spring semester 2019. 

Anonymous Online Support Group Therapy: RAINN software is set to roll out March of 2019 that will allow for KU survivors of sexual trauma the ability to partake in online anonymous support groups with other survivors. The group will come complete with a moderator for the discussions via a partnership with the STA Care Center. Our hope is that we can empower survivors through connecting them with others in the community in a way that is both accessbile and comfortable. 

 

LGBTQ+ Policy 

Students who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community have long been underserved at the University of Kansas and Student Senate is working with entities like the Office of Diversity & Equity, the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs to expand and improve resources for LGBTQ+ students. Some specific initiatives include: 

Pronouns Campaign: Student Senate is working with the Office of Diversity & Equity and SGD to ensure that every student's preferred pronouns are visible and available across all information systems at our university. This will allow a student's preferred pronouns to be auto-updated across all KU databases so they are not misgendered when using campus resources or sitting in the classroom during an attendance roll-call. 

On-site Transgender Hormone Therapy Treatment: Watkins Health Services will begin offering on-site transgender hormone therapy treatment next semester for students who are just beginning their transition. Although Watkins had previously offered this as a service for returning patients, students would have to drive as far away as KU Med Center in some instances to actually get the tests done for their first appointment. Now, students can begin that processs here on campus, alleviating a serious accessbility barrier for many students who identify as transgender or more broadly as members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Expansion of Free HIV Testing and PrEP Services: Watkins has expanded their amount of free HIV testing offered at the University to once a month. These free tests are offered outside of the SGD Center in the Kansas Union. Dates for these tests can be found at: http://studenthealth.ku.edu/free-hiv-testing.

 


Replacement KU Card Fee Waiver for Gender Transitions and Legal Name Changes:

Student Senate will cover replacement KU card fees for LGBTQIA+ students who have changed their gender expression, or have had their legal names changed to better suit their gender identity. Please know that having a legal name change is not required for the fee waiver. If you would like a new KU Card photo to better suit your gender expression, this application also applies to you. Please email sgd@ku.edu to request the form to receive a new card free of charge. Please include your official name and student ID in the email. After rec eiving your email application, we will inform the KU Card Office to send the invoice for your replacement card to the KU Student Senate Office. You will be able to get a new card without paying any fees. Please know that other KU systems will be updated with your new photo.

 

Freshmen Internship Program:

The 2017-2018 school year was the first year for the Freshmen Internship Program. The University of Kansas Student Senate has historically struggled to increase student senate participation, in turn excluding groups on campus that try and participate in the body, specifically with members of the multicultural and underrepresented community. This program is providing a way to recruit a more diverse and motivated freshmen class that can be involved in Student Senate all four years. The program is centered around intern-only workshops designed to equip interns with the skills necessary to succeed in Senate and at KU altogether. Interns gain professional experience researching campus issues and drafting meaningful solutions, while making lasting friendships with fellow interns.

 

Update Fall 2018: 28 interns have been accepted into the second Student Senate Internship Program class, doubling our numbers from last year! The interns have begun work on their own projects to improve the student experience here at KU and are set to propose their solutions in early April of 2019.

 

First-generation students or students receiving the Federal Pell Grant basketball tickets:

The University of Kansas Student Senate and Kansas Athletics, Inc. have partnered to create a program that will give a ticket to 20 eligible students for each of the 2017-2018 Men's Basketball home games. Students who are eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant or are first-generation college students are eligible to opt-into this lottery system for a game ticket. Students only need to opt-in ONCE, indicating their eligibility and the games they would like to be considered for. Students will be randomly chosen through a lottery system before each game. Students will be notified before each game if they have been chosen to receive a ticket.

Check back on this page for updates and more policies as they are added throughout the year!

 

 


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