Examining the "IPAC" Proposal
Ben Kraus and Eric Scott have a vision. It's a vision for the future of our school - one that the two members of the Class of 2011 have been dreaming up for some time now. Perhaps like many students preparing to depart from Claremont McKenna College, the two have the desire to leave a lasting legacy upon classes of CMCers to come. Their vision, which was presented at the Forum's Idea Night earlier this semester, involves the creation of a new student committee to aid in facilitating student ideas for campus changes. The Improvements and Projects Action Committee (IPAC) would be comprised of as many as 15 students and capable of reaching a variety of groups on campus, opening up a new system of bidirectional communication between student representatives and the student body. Members would be chosen through an application process, ideally in cooperation with the Dean of Students Office and ASCMC members.
"This plan was born out of the idea that sometimes there are only a finite number of positions at the school for a vast number of people who are interested in helping the community," said Kraus, who ran unsuccessfully for ASCMC President in the most recent round of student body elections.
Such projects would range in size and scale, but Kraus stressed that the goal of the committee would be to give the student body incentives to submit ideas for changes on campus. Via a portal posted on an independent website (perhaps on the Forum itself, said Kraus), all members of the student body would be able to submit proposals to the committee, which would in turn take steps to implement the good ideas with funding from DOS or ASCMC. According to Kraus and Scott, such ideas include high pressure shower heads in all the dorms and coffee in study lounges.
"Ben lobbied to get new TVs in the Hub, and there’s nothing stopping [these changes] from occurring, but [we want] something institutionalized to make sure there’s that type of change happening at all times," said Scott.
But several obstacles remain between their idea and the committee's implementation. For IPAC to become a part of the existing ASCMC institution, the ASCMC Constitution needs to be amended. Additionally, Kraus and Scott admit there are potential overlaps with the duties of the ASCMC Senate, but they believe this problem would be fixed by having either the ASCMC Vice President or President pro tempore sit on the committee.
Kraus and Scott have met repeatedly with ASCMC President Tammy Phan and Vice President Chris Jones to flesh out their plan and work towards its implementation. Ideally the committee would be situated under the Dean of Students Office and would not function as a direct part of ASCMC, making it free from constitutional issues and other ASCMC limitations.
The student government has yet to form a cohesive position on the proposal, and has withheld from giving a full-fledged endorsement. ASCMC Vice President Chris Jones stated that the issue was being discussed by ASCMC, and offered some insight into its future: “One of the things we thought was crucial was making sure someone who was a representative with a connection to Senate would be on board,” said Jones. “[We want to] figure out where situations overlap, working together and combining forces when applicable.”
ASCMC President Tammy Phan said of IPAC, "I support student efforts to improve our campus and I look forward to what will come from the committee. It's important for CMCers to work together in order to change our school for the better."