SGA Senate approves senator-at-large

By Dan Doren

DeKALB — The SGA Senate voted unanimously to approve Jeremy Pope, junior physical education major, as senator-at-large during Sunday night’s meeting. He was sworn in post-confirmation.

Pope said he’s been making an effort to join student organizations on campus after transferring from Harper College in Palatine, where he wasn’t particularly involved in extracurricular activities.

He has since joined NIU’s KNPE Majors Club and Student Council for Exceptional Children, according to his Senate application.

“I want to make the most of my time here,” he said, “which is why I’m trying to do things and trying to get more involved.”

Pope said he would like to see improvements made to the outdoor basketball courts across from Stevenson Towers. Senator Clayton Schopfer raised this issue earlier in the meeting and expressed a desire to collaborate with Pope on a solution.

“I’m excited that [Pope] showed interest in revamping those basketball courts,” Schopfer said. “The two of us can work on that.”

Pope also favors the installation of a parking lot at Gilbert Hall for campus residents and a more visually appealing space surrounding the Holmes Student Center, his application states.

Cabinet reports

Two cabinet reports were given from the Director of Athletics and Recreation and the Director of Organizational Development.

The Recreation Center will undergo locker room renovations, scheduled to begin in May after the semester is finished, Aidan Shields, director of athletics and recreation, said.

“Unfortunately, they may not be able to meet this timeline,” Shields said. “They may have to close the [facility] in order to do some things just a little beforehand. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen.”

Shields said he’s sent out a survey for students to fill out regarding what they would like to see from the renovations. It’s undecided whether both the male and female locker rooms will be renovated individually, or if a single unisex locker room will be constructed. 

Shields also said he joined the NIU Wellness Steering Committee at the end of the fall semester, which works on initiatives to increase student health and wellness on campus.

The committee is looking into changing a policy that would set the latest deadline for online assignments at 10 p.m., as opposed to 11:59 p.m., in order to improve students’ sleeping habits, Shields said.

“Because [of] human nature, you would kind of put [your work] off until the very end,” he said. “[Students] get more groggy through morning classes, which could affect them and may hurt their grades in the long run.”

Furthermore, Director of Organizational Development Andrea Woods said she’s been organizing the Spring Involvement Fair, an SGA-hosted event where students interact with representatives from 44 different student organizations and learn how to get involved.

The Spring Involvement Fair will take place 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Holmes Student Center, Regency Room, according to the SGA’s Facebook page.

Other Business

Speaker of the Senate Ian Pearson presented a slideshow toward the end of the meeting with information about the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge that NIU is participating in.

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a nationwide initiative that honors college campuses working to increase student voter participation, according to its website.

NIU is striving to increase the percentage of registered students from 72.6% in 2018 to 80% in 2020, increase the percentage of students who voted from 50.1% in 2018 to 55% in 2020 and surpass the mean voter turnout rate for all institutions, according to the slideshow.

“We were just behind the mean voter turnout rate of a lot of our peer institutions,” Pearson said. “Hopefully moving forward we […] can surpass that mean and be an [exemplary] campus of what happens when you have a coordinated effort to get students to the polls.”