By Boris Zyumbyulev || Contributing Writer
Franklin and Marshall’s class of 2020 had its first town hall meeting on January 31. The presidential cabinet convened in College Center to hear the voices of their class, discuss future projects, and focus on things that concerned students. The event started just after 6:30 p.m. due to a small technical difficulty and lasted approximately fifty minutes. Hargobind Vohra, the class president of the current first years, opened the floor by motivating his decision to hold a town hall without a clear topic: he and the rest of his colleagues wished to hear from their people directly. The thoughts and ideas of students are extremely valued by his cabinet, and if he were to do his job properly he ought to know precisely what he ought to aim for. After that, he described how the discussion should proceed. Each member of the audience had a minute to talk openly for issues on her mind, before another attendee voiced her concerns. Students were able to oppose each other if they had different experiences with a certain topic. After several opinions were shared, the presidential panel would take the floor to address the issues that were brought up.
There were several categories that were brought up for the audience to voice their opinion on including academics, registration, student life, athletics, and sustainability. One of the main topics of the academic section, unsurprisingly, was the Connections courses and their usefulness. Several issues brought up were the ineffective assignments that were given out and an unforeseen lack of critical seminar evaluation of the readings in class. The audience was also asked to talk about the registration process. Unsurprisingly again, a key point was the difficulty associated with managing to get into the courses students want, especially as a first year. The difficulty for student athletes to schedule classes around their team practices was also an issue.
Other topics the panel was urged to look into was mental health awareness and reform of attendance policies. The common theme in both is the lack of awareness of faculty; in most cases they simply do not know what is happening with their students and that leads to unwanted results such as lowered grades (as discussed during the Town Hall).
The “student life” category circled around issues such as the meal plans, dining options, and sustainability. Members of the audience brought attention to the very limiting set of options for breakfast, namely the lack of plain yogurt and fresh vegetables, and the subpar quality of food in the Dining Hall. In addition, students desire to have more easily accessible sustainable trash bins in the college houses.
The final category was sustainability, which the presidential cabinet brought up themselves to inform the public. There is not much information about what exactly happens to the compost bins from College Center and the Dining Hall, but the cabinet promised it would be investigated. In addition, the cabinet is pushing for acquiring a compost bin for Zime. This ended the Town Hall discussion. As a final remark, the president of the class of 2020, Hargobind Vohra, stepped forward and assured the whole audience that everything that was said was noted and it will be looked into as soon as possible. Vohra noted that further concerns can be directly taken to him through email or in person to facilitate more change if the students wished.
First-year Boris Zyumbyulev is a contributing writer. His email is email@example.com.