An Improved K-State Mobile App- Progress to report

K-Staters,

We’ve made it to March! The weather might not be much warmer yet, but Spring Break is right around the corner and Summer is in sight! 

From the start of our time in office, Jake and I have had the goal of moving K-State toward a more holistic mobile application for smart phones and tablets — one that would allow students to check grades, class notes, pay bills, and receive K-State news updates and other alerts. We knew coordinating the myriad of departments and entities on campus who deserve a say in the creation of such an app would be a big task, and that has proved to be true; however, we believe it will be more than worth it in the long run. 

Here’s a summary of our work: the folks in charge of iSIS have been hard at work for months on the potential for a mobile version of the system — or a similar version of the system that would allow mobility to be an option. The same goes for the K-State Online leadership team — they too are working on a potential transition, one to Canvas, a system used at a number of other universities around the nation and currently being tested by a handful of K-State students. Canvas would provide options for mobility on smart phones and tablets as well. Finally, there’s the K-State App released by the Division of Communications and Marketing in 2013, which has received an impressive number of downloads in the six or so months since its release. 

After work with all three of these relevant entities over the past months, we’re thrilled to say they’re now working in coordination on the concept of a full-service app for K-Staters. What’s the next step? Student input! In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sending a survey out to the entirety of the student body asking students what they’d like to see — specifically — in a mobile app. Class schedules? Grades? Financial information? Questions like these and more will be included in the survey. We need your help encouraging fellow students to take the time (5 minutes) to complete it. Its importance for the future of mobility at K-State cannot be understated! Watch for an email and social media campaign in the near future.  

Thanks for reading; more updates on this to come. Only two weeks until Spring Break — make them good ones!

 

Eli Schooley

Student Body President

elis@ksu.edu

Providing Cleaner Air to All

K-Staters,

 I hope you’ll have time this week to enjoy the forecasted warmer weather! You know it has been a cold winter when 35 degrees feels like shorts weather…

This week, I want to elaborate on a recent resolution that passed Student Senate on February 6 by a vote of 48-0-1. As you may have heard, this resolution recommended a stricter campus smoking policy for Kansas State University, and was in response to the clear mandate of the student body on the matter, as measured by a plebiscite vote taken last Spring.

On March 5-6, 2013, 84.79% of the students who voted in the annual SGA general election stated that they were in favor of some sort of further restriction of smoking on campus. In fact, 36.89% voted in favor of an all-out smoking ban. The plebiscite revealed that 93.51% of voting students do not smoke — telling data to say the least. The vote was initiated by SGA’s Student Affairs committee, chaired at the time by now-Speaker of the Student Senate Kyle Nuss, in response to the complaints of students concerned about the air quality of campus.

With the plebiscite data in hand, it became the job of this year’s SGA leadership to determine a path forward. While many universities around the nation — including Pittsburg State University here in Kansas — have moved toward and implemented full tobacco bans on their campuses, Vice President Unruh, Speaker Nuss, and Speaker pro tem Kaitlin Long and I determined a compromise solution would be best for K-State at this time. That’s why we authored Resolution 13/14/66, which recommends “designated smoking areas” in strategic locations around campus where smoking will be allowed, amidst the rest of campus being smoke-free. We feel this solution balances the freedom and rights of the most K-State students: it recognizes the right to clean air for those students who choose not to use the smoking areas, but protects the right of those students who do smoke to continue to do so on campus.

From here, the experts will take over. A copy of the resolution will be sent to K-State’s Director of Public Safety, Steve Galitzer, who we’re asking to work with the Campus Environmental Health and Safety Committee to determine the locations and number of the designated smoking areas. We’re also working with and encouraging the members of Faculty and Classified Senates  to pass similar resolutions through their legislative bodies.

In my time at K-State, I can think of very few issues that have united the student body like this one — barely a days goes by that I’m not asked about our progress on the matter since the vote last spring. We’ll continue to keep the momentum going until progress is made!

 

Eli Schooley

Student Body President

elis@ksu.edu

Veteran’s Center, LGBT Resource Center, DPC could Gain Long-Term Funding

K-Staters,

Happy Monday! Just like last week, I want to first and foremost remind you of the filing deadline for Student Governing Association office: it’s Friday — this Friday, the 14th — at 4 PM. To file, go online to your iSIS account and click on the “Student Government Elections” link under the Self Service Menu. I can’t encourage it enough!

If you run and are elected to SGA, one of the most valuable experiences you may gain is with SCTE, the Student-Centered Tuition Enhancement Committee. SCTE is beginning its work for this year right now, and I’m excited to tell you about it. Each year, around $1 million is granted to the committee within the university’s central budget, and it is entirely up to the SGA leaders on the committee how the money is spent. Campus units and individuals submit proposals throughout the fall semester to the committee, those proposals are revised throughout February, and the committee submits its recommendation for the money to Student Senate in March.

Past examples of programs funded by SCTE include Powercat Financial Counseling, Career and Employment Services’ Internship Director, K-State First, the Green Action Fund, and the Student Design Center. A number of exciting proposals were submitted this year — so much so that the committee faces difficult decisions in the next few weeks. New proposals include two relating to our platform goal of professional mentorship, and one relating to another platform goal of wireless internet improvements on campus. Also applying for funding are the Kansas Summer Teams, Tree Campus USA, and the Public Health Lecture Series, among others.

Your fellow SGA leaders and I are particularly excited about a plan we’ve worked on with President Schulz, VP for Administration and Finance Cindy Bontrager, and VP for Student Life Pat Bosco that would move the Veteran’s Center, LGBT Resource Center, and Education Opportunity Fund (EOF), all SCTE entities, to stable, long-term central administration funding. As a part of that plan, the portion of EOF currently funded by Privilege Fee would be replaced by Diversity Programming Committee (DPC), allowing it longer-term funding as well. The plan would lesson the burden students face through Privilege Fee and provide consistent funding for some of K-State’s most vital programs. It will be voted on in Student Senate in the coming weeks!

As always, let me know if you have questions about SCTE or anything else. I’m here to serve you!


Eli Schooley

elis@ksu.edu

Student Body President

Teacher Evaluation Improvements in the Works at K-State

K-Staters,

Welcome to February! I hope your first two weeks of class have gone well and that you’ve made it to Bramlage at least once to cheer on the men’s and women’s basketball teams!

Today, I’d like to update you on another one of the Schooley/Unruh campaign goals from way back when we ran for office almost a year ago, and it relates to a topic that affects every single student on campus: K-State’s teacher evaluation process. Running for SGA leadership positions, we heard the concerns of numerous students who felt their voices weren’t heard in the process — whether they filled out a TEVAL or IDEA form at the end of the semester, they worried K-State wasn’t doing all it could do to improve the quality of teaching. We made it our mission to represent the student voice and improve the process through the formation of a group dedicated to that goal. 

After months of meetings with administrators and students across campus, we’re happy to announce that we’re making progress — in a tangible way! We’ve worked with Dr.  Jana Fallin, director of the Teaching & Learning Center of Kansas State University, to initiate a task force to study the TEVAL surveys. Provost April Mason has approved the establishment of the TEVAL Task Force to begin this process, and we couldn’t be more excited! The task force’s goals will be threefold: first, to evaluate the validity and reliability of the student course rating survey, second, to discuss possible steps that could be taken to improve the survey, and third, to begin development of training events for department heads, faculty and students on use of the student course evaluation process.

Chance Berndt, Junior in Marketing and SGA’s Executive Initiatives Director, will serve as the student representative on the TEVAL task force. Chance’s email address is cberndt@ksu.edu — he’s open to hearing your thoughts on the current and potential future process, so as your student representative, don’t hesitate to contact him or me!

On an unrelated note, as hard as it might be to believe, it’s already almost time for SGA elections! Being involved in SGA has been one of the highlights of my time at K-State, and as cheesy as it sounds, my life. If you’re interested in running for Student Senate or even Student Body President, head to www.k-state.edu/elections today — the deadline to file for office is next Friday, February 14.

Keep up the great work!

 

Eli Schooley

Student Body President

elis@ksu.edu

 

 

 

Enhancing Mobility: Continuing to Make Progress

Happy Spring Semester, K-State!

I hope your new classes are off to a good start and that you’re surviving the cold temperatures — spring is on its way, or so they say!

Since being elected last spring, one of the top priorities Jake and I have had in office has been to do all we can to improve technology at K-State — to move us into 2014, so to speak. We’ve successfully added mobile charging stations to a number of high-trafficked buildings around campus (like Hale Library, the Union, and Leadership Studies) and we’ve added a wireless internet report link to K-State Online for those areas on campus — as unfortunately numerous as they still are — where wifi lacks reliability.

But that’s not yet enough — there’s more to do in the next three months before we leave office. Over the next several weeks, SGA’s Student Centered Tuition Enhancements (SCTE) Committee will be considering a proposal we’ve worked with Information Technology Services (ITS) to write that would provide funding for drastically improved wireless reliability and accessibly in one of campus’s most high-profile and high-trafficked buildings: the Student Union. We’ve found over the last few months that money is most often the factor preventing a rapid, full-scale overhaul of wireless internet in campus buildings. With limited resources, we have to take small steps and focus on the most used buildings, like the Student Union, first and foremost.

We’ve also been sure to articulate our ultimate goal of a comprehensive app for smart phones and tablets to numerous individuals around campus who are involved with information technology and mobile development. It’s a slow process, but we’re pleased with the expanded pilot this semester of Canvas, the likely platform that will replace K-State Online in the future. What’s most exciting are the mobile possibilities associated with Canvas; unlike K-State Online, Canvas is easily integrated into an app, and that will likely be in K-State’s future if the expanded trial this semester goes well. We’ve added a student, Jordan DeLoach, sophomore in Computer Science, to the KSOL Advisory Board to continue to push this process forward, and we’re doing the same.

Finally, improvements are in the works for iSIS as well — long overdue, I know! K-State’s team of excellent iSIS administrators is currently accepting proposals for a long-term solution that too would provide mobile app options. In the long run, the goal would be to combine this app with the Canvass-integrated one to create a one-stop, easily-accessible, student-friendly app where the day-to-day needs of students could be fulfilled. As we all know, time is of the essence on this project, and we’re working to do all we can to expedite the process.

Stay tuned!

Eli Schooley

elis@k-state.edu

Student Body Present

Semester Wrap-Up

K-Staters,

Wow, what a semester it has been! From wrapping up the 150th celebration to another bowl-bound Wildcat football team, it’s hard to believe it is already time for Winter Break.

As always, Student Governing Association (SGA) has been hard at work for you this fall, and there are more exciting things to come in the spring. This semester, we completed a multi-year project by making the South parking lot at the Rec free for student use for up to 2.5 hours with the simple swipe of a Student ID card. We’ve made progress on our goal to make campus more mobile-friendly by installing mobile charging stations in the Student Union, Hale Library, and Leadership Studies building. We’ve also added a Wifi Error Reporting Link to K-State Online for students to report problem areas on campus for wireless internet access.

All three SGA branches have worked together on a variety of initiatives this fall: we’ve passed a recommendation on to President Schulz regarding the usage of City University Funds, which included recommended improvements to Denison Avenue from Claflin to College Heights. We also asked for funding to be used to pave the parking lot in City Park, which would provide more parking spots for students near Aggieville. SGA has also been working hard to increase our communications efforts year-round, so we’ve created an SGA blog (blogs.ksu.edu/sga) and upped our FaceBook and Twitter presences as well. In addition to all that, we’ve recommended funding for the next year for the KSDB radio station (91.9 FM), the Office of Student Activities and Services, and will soon review the Rec.

What’s up for the remaining four months of our time in office? Lots! We’ve been working with two academic colleges to potentially start professional mentorship programs — more news on these soon — and we’re continuing work on the design of the soon-to-be-renovated Student Union. We’re also excited about some possible funding reform efforts we’re discussing with the Privilege Fee committee currently, the goal of which would be to lessen the burden on students through privilege fee for programs like the Veteran’s Center, Diversity Programming Committee, and the LGBT Resource Center, while simultaneously guaranteeing funding for years to come for those entities. Updates to come on this!

Finally, we’re continuing work on the issue of TEVALs and on-campus smoking. Students have spoken loud and clear on both issues, and we’re working with the various governing bodies on campus to make progress if at all possible on both issues. The Tuition Strategies Committee will meet throughout the spring to form a recommendation for the cost of tuition next year, and we’ll work hard through May to let the legislature know the importance of adequate funding for K-State. And most importantly, we’ll continue to listen to your concerns; if you’re passionate about a potential change on campus that I haven’t mentioned, let me know! My email address is below, as always.

Thanks for the opportunity to serve. Best of luck on finals — study hard, and enjoy your break!

Eli Schooley

Student Body President

elis@ksu.edu

Executive Branch Cabinet Works to Serve Students and Respond to Needs

K-State,

I hope you had a restful Fall Break! Only 10 more days of class, a few finals, and then we’ll have a real break! As many of your know, K-State Student Governing Association (SGA) is structured just like the Kansas state government or U.S. federal government: three branches (executive, legislative, and judicial) work together — each with its own unique function — to serve the student body. This week, I want to briefly explain the function of the executive branch; many of the individuals who serve within it work largely behind the scenes but are deserving of credit!

Jake and I can’t do everything (shocking, I know), and that’s why we have individuals who are experts in various areas that serve on our Cabinet. For instance, Kaley Oldani serves as Student Director of Sustainability, and works with K-State’s professional Director of Sustainability, Ben Champion, to enhance our university’s green-related efforts and initiatives. Eric Haun and Matt Brill, State Relations Director and Local Relations Director, respectively, work with the state and local governments to advocate on behalf of our university and fight for funding and other beneficial policies. Theo Stavropoulos, Technology Coordinator, Mark Johnson, Safety Director, and Shai Washington, Director of Retention Strategies, each serve on numerous university committees relevant to their issue area and work hard to enhance the student experiences at K-State.

As we all know, K-State is a diverse place, with students coming from locations around the state, nation, and world. That’s why Zuleica Gerardo, Multicultural Affairs Director, and Tanmay Varma, International Affairs Director, serve on Cabinet as well, as liaisons to the communities they serve and as advisors to Jake and I on any and all issues that may affect them. Ethan Hawkins, SGA’s Residence Hall Liaison, works to reach another student population — the huge number of students who live in K-State’s awesome residence halls — and keeps Jake and I up to date on the happenings of the Association of Residence Halls (ARH).

Getting the word out about what SGA does is a huge task in and of itself, and Ava Clark, Public Relations Director, does an excellent job of maintaining the SGA blog (blogs.ksu.edu/sga), Twitter and FaceBook accounts. Hearing the concerns of the  student body is our number one priority while in office, and Steph Hughes, Student Affairs Director, helps us to do that through her coordination of the InTouch program, which spreads the message of SGA to student organizations around campus. Finally, we’re lucky to have Chance Berndt, Executive Initiatives Director, and Abby Works, Chief of Staff, by our side everyday — they both work to support each and every project Jake and I launch as well as those of the rest of Cabinet. We couldn’t do it without the work of each and every member of the Executive Branch!

So there you have it — thirteen individuals in addition to Jake and I — who are working to improve the university we all love and call home. If any of those positions sound like something you’d be interested in, applications are accepted in March and April and can be found at www.ksu.edu/sga!

 

Happy December!

Eli Schooley

elis@ksu.edu

K-State: Diversifying by the Day

Hello K-State!

It’s common knowledge by now that K-State set another record for enrollment this fall. With 24,581 students, we’re as large as we’ve ever been in our 150-year history, and that is cause for celebration. What a lot of us may not realize, however, is that we’re also currently the most diverse we’ve ever been in K-State’s history – with 3,458 students who identify as black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Hawaiian/Pacific islander or multiracial.

Looking back on my time at K-State so far, I can say with certainty that many of the times I’ve learned the most in the classroom have been when I’ve gotten the chance to work on group projects with individuals different than myself. Whether they come from other parts of the nation or world, have different beliefs or different hopes for their future, many of these fellow students I’ve been able to interact with have stretched me to think through my own beliefs, paradigms, and mental models – often leading me to amend my patterns of thought and grow in the process.

One of my biggest hopes for our campus is that we can work together to have more experiences like these. As our enrollment figures show, we have great diversity at K-State, but all too often, I don’t think student government and other campus organizations do enough to encourage collaboration and cooperation across our diverse student body. Having more diversity (of race, religion, culture, sexual orientation – the list goes on and on) within our student organizations will allow us to view the events and programs we hold through the eyes of all students on our campus, leading to more and more ideas for improvement and innovation than ever before.

Recently, Provost April Mason hosted Speaker of the Student Senate Kyle Nuss, myself, and the leaders of several of K-State’s multicultural student organizations at her home for an evening of brainstorming and discussion; we left with may ideas to create a more inclusive campus. This year, SGA has hosted “meet & greet” events with both the international and multicultural students on our campus, and more, similar events are in the works. I plan to work hard in the coming months – along with the rest of SGA’s leadership – to promote the opportunities that come each Spring for involvement in student government, and we plan to visit organizations that we haven’t reached before in the process.

We’re making progress in this area, but we have a long way to go. If you or your student organization would like to learn more about SGA or have suggestions for how we can do a better job of reaching you, don’t hesitate to email me at the address listed below. Have a great week!

Eli Schooley

elis@ksu.edu

Student Body President

Empowering Relationships for All

K-Staters,

It’s crazy to think that it’s already the latter half of October. In a month, we’ll have time off for Fall Break and in two, it’ll be Winter Break – let that settle in for a moment!

As many of you know, one of the platform issues that Jake and I ran for office hoping to enact if elected was the idea of greatly increasing the professional mentorship opportunities available to students. We were inspired by the College of Business Administration’s innovative Executive Mentorship program. Currently, CBA students can get involved with the program and be assigned a mentor – someone out in the real, professional world with ten or more years of experience in their desired career path. Students and mentors communicate at least once a month, sharing advice on internships, careers, and transitioning from college to the world beyond.

Jake and I have always believed that all students at K-State should have the opportunity to grow personally and professionally through similar mentoring relationships. In today’s world, it’s inadequate to merely have a degree or a decent G.P.A. Those things, plus a sound ability to interview, strategic connections, and people skills to skillfully interact with a broad range of individuals have become necessary to succeed. K-State should provide these opportunities; it’s an idea that aligns flawlessly with K-State 2025 and the student-services nature of our campus.

We’re working hard to make our vision a reality. In recent weeks, we’ve developed a statistics and research-based proposal that we’ve presented to the Deans of each academic college at a monthly Dean’s Council meeting and through numerous one-on-one meetings. We have a number of promising meetings to discuss the specifics of such programs in the near future, like a meeting with the College of Human Ecology Alumni Advisory Council this Friday. University progress is often slow, but we’re working in earnest to provide professional mentorship opportunities to more and more K-Staters, and feel confident we’ll have substantial progress to show by the Spring semester. Stay tuned for further updates on the topic!

Keep pushing on through the semester, and Go Cats!

 

Eli Schooley

Student Body President

K-State’s Money – Where Does it Come From?

Everyday, we go to class, see our friends, enjoy the tweets of @kstate_pres, and do our best to get an education in the process. Often, I think students wonder what sort of decisions our leaders in Anderson Hall make on a daily basis – decisions that affect where our tuition dollars go and what the future of the school we attend will look like.

Some basics on K-State’s budget should be understood by all students – where does our money come from? As many of you have heard, the way state universities are funded in Kansas, for better or for worse, is changing. Whereas we used to receive the majority of our funding from the state government, a higher portion of it nowadays comes from student tuition dollars. It’s more important that ever that we’re aware of where our money comes from and is going. Last fiscal year, 21.9% of our overall budget came from state appropriations, 35.1% from external gifts, grants, and research contacts, 25.7% from student tuition, and the remainder from other, more minor sources. With such a large portion of the total money coming from students, we need to have a say in how those funds will be spent.

Last week, President Schulz announced the creation of a University Budget Committee, which will make large-scale recommendations to the President about new and continuing projects and programs at K-State. The committee will be composed of Provost April Mason, three University Vice Presidents, the Presidents of Faculty and Classified Senate, three Deans, the Student Body President, and several at large representatives (students included) as well. This is a great move by President Schulz and will make the process of budget allocation far more transparent – involving students directly in the allocation process.

I’ve mentioned before how unique K-State is in the makeup of our Tuition Strategies Committee (TSC), which makes a recommendation to President Schulz each year concerning how much tuition should cost the following year. The committee is comprised entirely of students; it’s not like that at other universities, where campus administrators alone make many similar decision. This new committee – the University Budget Committee – will work in parallel with the TSC on budgetary matters, largely separate from those worked on by the TSC. We as students will still have a direct route to the President on how much tuition ought to cost, and now we’ll get a stronger say in how that money is spent as well.

See you around campus!

Eli Schooley

Student Body President

elis@ksu.edu