"When the next history of Dickinson College is written, few will figure more prominently in this part of it than Stephanie Balmer. Her energy, passion, and intellect helped take us further than we ever imagined we’d go, improving the community on campus, our quality as an institution, and our standing among our peers. We are all better off because of Stephanie’s tireless efforts on behalf of Dickinson. While Student Senate is sad to see her depart Carlisle, we extend our congratulations and best wishes as she embarks upon the next phase of her journey."
It’s customary for the incoming Student Senate President to write to the Dickinsonian with his vision for the upcoming year. My letter is below. Let me know what you think!
A few weeks ago, I was sworn in as Student Senate President. It was an invigorating moment for me, and I was gratified to see many friends—students, faculty, and staff alike—watching in the audience. Despite the special nature of the moment, I personally couldn’t help but feel as if mine was not the most exciting inauguration Dickinson would in 2013. After all, in just a few short months, Dr. Nancy Roseman will stand on the steps of Old West, swear a different oath, and become the 28th president of Dickinson College. She will have a major void to fill, but I have no doubt that she will fill it with the grace and intelligence that so clearly distinguished her as a presidential candidate.
Her predicament, succeeding a transformational figure, is actually one to which I can relate. Among young leaders in Dickinson’s history, my predecessor, Andrew Chesley, stands out. Few students at any college have the opportunity to make such an impact on their institution, and that is credit to this institution. Even fewer students, though, take hold of that opportunity as thoroughly as Andrew has, and that is a credit to him. It is because of Andrew, and Austin Farneth before him, that I am able to write in the pages of The Dickinsonian as Student Senate President.
It seems strange to point out now, but I did not wish to continue with Student Senate after my first year here. As a first-year member, I was discouraged by Senate’s emphasis on procedure over policy and rules over outcomes. I ran for student government to represent my peers, but the system I found was not “representative” in any sense of the term. However, Austin, then Andrew, helped solve that problem by engaging the broader student body and throwing open our doors for community discussion and debate. Next year, I’ll seek to build and expand on their efforts.
Big data is playing an increasingly significant, oftentimes invisible, role in our lives. Navigating all of its ramifications, as exemplified by the implications surrounding this latest manipulation of human genetic information, is exactly the kind of challenge a liberal-arts education prepares us for. Biologists who are worrying that they are unprepared for the ethical and other challenges posed by the very research they are doing would have benefitted from what the liberal arts have to offer.
You may have been wondering exactly how cool Dickinson’s new president, Nancy Roseman, is. Cool enough to spend the entirety of her first column in Dickinson Magazine talking big data and its relationship to the liberal arts. I know everyone in Student Senate is really excited to start working with her!
Prof. Bilodeau from the History department [the suave looking guy in the top right] led a discussion on how Benjamin Rush would have considered the modern debate on gun control and mental health, today in Memorial Hall. It was part of the Public Affairs Committee’s presentation of “The Next Great Debates,” a lecture series directed entirely by students on contemporary public issues. I love American History, I love Benjamin Rush, and Prof. Bilodeau is kind of a rockstar. Nothing but good this afternoon.
We wish to express our sincere appreciation to all members of the student body and other members of the Dickinson community for your incredible support at Saturday’s NCAA men’s basketball playoff game.
There were many highlights from the fantastic, memorable contest that we hope will be shared in the ensuing months. Meanwhile, we wish to articulate how proud we were of the controlled behavior exhibited by student spectators at the end of the game.
As many of you know, “court storming” at the end of basketball games has been a hot topic during the last week as a result of the recent Duke and Virginia match-up. We were delighted at the end of Saturday’s game that our students recognized how dangerous, disrespectful and inappropriate it would be to celebrate while the opposing team and officials were still on the floor. Everyone still celebrated our momentous victory— but in a classy fashion. This was also recognized by CBS Sports when they posted a video of Dickinson’s court-storm on Sunday, titled “D-III students show perfect, proper way to storm the court,” and commented on how Dickinson students got it right.
In addition, one of the spectators supporting the Marietta basketball team, a retired U.S. Navy commander from its class of 1942, Nick Wasilewski, attended the game with his wife and commended our students for their spirited, reverent and spontaneous version of the national anthem. He noted that it was a great way to begin the game, and the rendering reflected highly on the type of student who attends Dickinson College.
In future contests at the Kline Center, it will be tough to match the unprecedented level of excitement that we all experienced Saturday night. However, we strongly encourage your active support and positive school spirit in upcoming Dickinson athletic events. Once again, on behalf of the Department of Athletics, Office of the Dean of Students and the Department of Public Safety, we offer our genuine thanks.
Les Poolman, Director of Athletics
Leonard Brown, Dean of Students
You might not know her name, but you’re probably familiar with at least the outlines of her story. Kris is the respondent in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case currently before the Supreme Court contesting the constitutionality of Proposition 8 — California’s ban on gay marriage. We couldn’t be more excited to hear from Kris about her personal and legal journey! She’ll speak at Dickinson’s Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium on April 8th at 7PM. More details on PAC’s page.
We’re very pleased to launch an even more accessible, vibrant web presence for Dickinson Student Senate on Tumblr. It’s easier than ever to ask questions, post an idea, or make a suggestion. Whatever you send us, I’ll review it - along with the members of Senate’s Initiatives Committee - and get back to you in a few days!
Another update to our Tumblr is the addition of a Public Affairs Committee page. I am so excited about the great work that PAC is doing, and I hope you’ll take the time to learn more. The page has details, but suffice it to say that PAC is bringing speakers like Ta-Nehisi Coates, John Lott, and Richard Wilkinson to our campus, among many others. Check it out!
Senate has been asked to pitch in to assist students afflicted by the flu in the first few weeks of the semester. We’ll be helping deliver “flu kits” from Health Services to students with the flu! If you’re not on Senate and are interesting in helping us out (it would only take a few minutes on any afternoon M-F in the first month of the semester), just email the Senate account (senate@).
Senate had an exceptionally productive fall semester and I’d like to highlight some of our most significant accomplishments:
- Purchased bulk New York Times subscription for students on campus
- Funded significant portion of Carlisle Circulator Bus
- Purchased 12 water bottle filling stations to upgrade campus water fountains
- Allocated funding to create a student music group practice & performance space
- Fundamentally changed housing selection process to permit students to live in inter-class housing groups with penalty
- Amended roles for class officers to incorporate Our Dickinson, the Senior Class Gift Drive, and Senior Club
- Improved procedure to class budgeting process
- Created the Public Affairs Committee to oversee the Poitras-Gleim lecture series and Senate’s other work enhancing the intellectual life of Dickinson students
- Funded Rush the Vote and organized shuttle buses to the polls (and the celebrity shuttle!)
- Passed the Social Progress Fund to support programming that fights discrimination on campus
- Funded weekly Pilates and Yoga classes for students
- Approved the Exiled Spoken Word Poetry club
- Selected students to serve on advisory committees for the Trout Gallery and the Wellness Center, as well as to offer input on future housing renovations
- And much, much more (like Greek yogurt in the CAF!)
We are very proud of the work that we’ve done this semester and hope to do even more in the Spring!