Associated Students of Madison hosted the first Shared Governance Committee meeting of the semester on campus Tuesday. The committee seeks to bring together the university and city committees to discuss student and campus-related issues.
The meeting was attended by undergraduate and graduate representatives of various campus committees, like Housing and Dining and the Advisory Board for the Dean of Students. The role of students at these meetings is to develop, review and recommend student life services and policies. They also bring up committee-based and campus-wide problems and concerns and represent student interests.
In Wisconsin, it is the legal right of students to have a say in policies and decisions that affect student life on campus.
“This is the only effective way where all of the different members of the committees can have a broad understanding of where the campus is at so they can make educated decisions,” said Shared Governance Chair Reez Bailey.
The main issue brought up at Tuesday’s meeting was the switch to all-you-can-eat dining at the central dining halls, Gordon Avenue Market and Four Lakes Market. Concerns included student affordability within dining plans, elimination of trays and smaller portions.
Shared Governance is one of several overarching committees open to all students, others being Sustainability, Campus Relations, Legislative Affairs and Equity and Inclusion. Shared Governance is the broadest, as it is made up of all the different individual committees, ranging from the Campus Transportation Committee to Recreation and Wellbeing.
“Every issue on campus touches a lot of different areas,” Shared Governance Campaign Director Emma Cline said. “There is no one issue that is going to be individual; it will touch all different parts of student life and that’s the beauty of the shared [governance] bodies — they’re all interconnected and cross over each other.”
As chair and campaign director, respectively, Bailey and Cline facilitate the Shared Governance meetings. Their role is to connect students and committees to the right decision-makers and bodies that can help with their efforts, and act as liaisons between committees.
“A lot of the newer members of committees don’t know of the resources available to them and it’s important that they’re made aware,” Bailey said. “Only students can provide that unique perspective and we want to make sure that they’re empowered to do that.”
Although the majority of attendees were part of committees, the meetings are open to all students.
“If [students] don’t like something that’s going on on campus, our meetings are open, they can come and voice that concern and we will get everybody in that room working hard to address it,” Bailey said.
Shared Governance meets every Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. in the Caucus Room of the Student Activity Center at 333 East Campus Mall.