Faculty Senate creates student affairs standing committee to foster collaboration between students, faculty

Kelli Nguyen, Assistant Campus Editor

Faculty Senate voted Wednesday to create the student affairs standing committee to promote communication and collaboration between students and faculty.

Medill lecturer Karen Springen will chair the committee, which aims to “work collaboratively with Northwestern students on matters of mutual interest,” according to Faculty Senate’s description of the group. The committee, which is in the process of establishing its members, will serve as a touch point between students and faculty. Springen said it is up to committee members and students to decide what issues it will address.

“I’m such a believer in the collaborative process,” Springen said. “I want to make it so clear that I don’t know specifically what (the committee) wants to do. I’m hoping students and faculty members will reach out and say (what) they would like us to do.”

The motion to create the committee stemmed from issues affecting both students and faculty that would periodically arise, said Feinberg Prof. Babette Sanders, a faculty senator. A recent example was Pura Playa’s initiative to eliminate bottled water from all on-campus locations, Springen said.

A Pura Playa representative met with senators to discuss the initiative, but at the time there was no formal committee the issue fell under, Springen said. Pura Playa co-project manager Samir Joshi, a McCormick sophomore, said the new committee will streamline student and faculty initiatives like those of Pura Playa.

“At first, the process can be really slow just because talking with administration and faculty is often a relatively complicated process,” Joshi said. “(The committee will) help student groups take action with something that they’re passionate about and make the changes that they want in the school.”

Springen said the committee will reach out to students in issues of interest to both parties and said she hopes students will do the same.

“Our goal is really to make Northwestern absolutely the best place in the world for faculty and students,” Springen said.

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