Athenaeum Fellows Push for More Engagement with the Athenaeum at Senate, Sept. 25


On September 25, the ASCMC Senate hosted the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum fellows — Wesley Whitaker’18 and Isabel Lilles’ 18 — to talk about increasing student engagement with the Athenaeum. They started off by going over the operational procedures, including how to sign up for talks as well as signing up for the head table, and reminding their audience that students are allowed to attend only the talk should they not be able to join for dinner. They pushed to get more people to engage at the head table, stating that “the Athenaeum is a place for discussion of big ideas on campus," and that the head table is an excellent place to engage with thought-provoking thinkers and speakers.

On the role of the fellows, Whitaker said: “We act as liaisons and make guests comfortable.” He clarified that while one of the roles of the fellows is to bring in speakers, they do not try to endorse any particular speakers or sides, and try to balance out representation from across the spectrum through the line-up. The discussion with the fellows ended with President Pro Tempore Thomas Schalke '18 asking the fellows which speakers they were most excited for. Lilies said that she looks forward to the talk scheduled for October 3 by Christian Rudder, founder of OkCupid.

Senate then heard a funding request from the Claremont Chinese Theatre Group. The group wishes to attend an off-campus event, a modern Chinese play called “Rhinoceros in Love,” created by the same playwright who wrote their annual spring play last year. They believe that seeing a great play in person would help them take their annual production to the next level.

They requested $400 to pay for five CMC students to watch the play, about $80 per student. Senators expressed worries that there would be nothing stopping other clubs from walking in and asking for per person funding on a similar level. They passed a motion to provide the funding in two parts: $200 from the Campus Organizations Chair and $200 from the Senate fund, contingent on the fact that the club anticipates requiring low amounts of funding in the Spring semester.

Transitioning into Open Forum, Michael Hess '21 voiced his concerns over those being on the lower meal plans not being able to plan meals effectively due to them having to use meal swipes compulsorily during events such as Turf Dinner. Concerns were also raised about the limiting timings of using meal substitutions at the Hub. Executive Vice President of ASCMC Patrick Elliot '19 promptly addressed these issues by mentioning that there are ongoing talks on converting unused meal swipes to flex credit at the end of each week.

The session came to a close with a motion to sing Ryan Chakmak '19 Happy Birthday, with 91% of voters choosing “Aye” over “Nay” in an online poll conducted instantaneously.

The ASCMC Senate will continue meeting at 9 p.m. on Mondays.