GSB sets new goals, deals with enrollment issues

Michaela Ramm

The Government of the Student Body has a lot of work lying ahead this semester — accomplishing new goals and finishing what they started last semester.

In the first weeks of each semester, GSB holds a Senate efficiency meeting to lay out plans for the coming semester.

Gabe Walsh, speaker of GSB, said this semester’s meeting will happen during the next couple of weeks.

“As we finish up our term in office, we are reviewing our goals and the things we campaigned on,” said GSB President Hillary Kletscher. “We’ve really achieved a lot of those things over the last year, but there’s a couple big things we really want to try to achieve.”

One of the biggest concerns of this semester will be dealing with campus growth and the issues that the sudden influx of students have caused.

“There’s a huge outcry of enrollment that we didn’t predict last year after elections,” said Mike Hoefer, vice president of GSB. “We’ve had to change and adapt to meet the needs of students’ interests.”

Walsh said the increasing campus growth has caused some issues with GSB representation.

“This year we’ve started out with 43 senators, and next year we’ll start out with over 50,” Walsh said. “We’re investigating if that will be feasible or if that’ll be too many voices to add.”

Issues surrounding this topic include improvements to the online testing centers, the Thielen Student Health Center, seating arrangements in the campus dining centers and classroom usage.

Kletscher said the university is bringing in outside consulting groups to look at how Iowa State manages its processes to see if any improvements are necessary.

“We’re [GSB] focused on being that voice in those conversations to make sure the students are being served,” Kletscher said.

The increased enrollment has put a strain on on-campus transportation. Walsh said GSB discussions on this will include CyRide — such as improving the No. 23 Orange Route — opening bike lanes on campus and implementing the bike share program.

A transportation committee was formed during GSB’s last session to look into improving issues caused by campus growth. The committee’s biggest topic of discussion will most likely concern the bike share program.

“We’re not deciding whether or not the bike share program will happen or not,” Walsh said. “However, we are investigating the rationale behind it.”

Another plan from the executive branch is renovation of Parks Library.

Joyce Garnett, the interim dean of the library, is conducting a space audit to determine for what purposes the library’s available space is being used. The audit will help predict long-term renovation plans.

The library is also installing an $800,000 fire-suppression system.

Kletscher said her biggest plan of action for GSB is expanding recycling on campus. So far, progress has been made on approaching the issue from building to building at Iowa State, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

“What we’d really like to do is establish it as a permanent program on campus,” Kletscher said. “We’ve been working with outside consultants to come up with an agreement to do so.”

Kletscher said they will be advocating for funding for next year’s program, while still accomplishing what they can in the meantime.

Walsh said they are also planning for a trip to Washington D.C. sometime in March. The trip is to allow representatives from Iowa State to lobby at the Capitol on various educational issues with other Big 12 schools.

Beyond that, GSB will be focusing on finishing projects that began last semester.

Kletscher said most of the steps to accomplish these goals have already been started, whether it’s meeting with administration or other members of student government.

“It just starts with conversations,” Kletscher said. “We’re going to students and seeing what they want, then going to administration and seeing what’s actually possible. We’re essentially searching for that middle ground.”

Kletscher said she doesn’t believe all of these goals will be accomplished by the end of the semester, since there is a lot going on. However, that doesn’t mean GSB won’t meet these goals sometime in the near future.

“The fact that we’re working on so many things is promising because I do think a lot of things can be achieved into the summer and the fall,” Kletscher said.