In February 2018, Crimson and Blue launched as the second coalition in Student Senate elections, introducing seven platforms, including focusing on women in STEMM and textbook affordability.
Since winning in April 2018, Senate has implemented a parking amnesty policy, proposed a textbook affordability plan and proposed a new snack bar for the recreation center, and they have big plans for the upcoming semester.
“Food security is still an issue on campus, so we want to make sure we are still doing everything that we can to ensure that we are addressing this issue as much as possible on campus,” Student Body President Noah Ries said.
In an effort to fulfill their platform of supporting women in STEMM, Senate will hold a day-long forum March 23 in the Burge Union to bring together women in or on the path to STEMM careers. Senate will be recruiting about 200 local high school girls interested in STEMM in order to network with female professors and college-aged female students.
“Often times it can be a struggle in these difficult courses if you don’t have a friend or a professor you can turn to in that major or department,” Ries said. “It’s really sort of setting these women up for success so that when they get to KU they’re ready to rock and roll.”
Crimson and Blue’s textbook affordability platform was one of their biggest goals for the 2018-19 school year. After talking with Student Affairs, KU Libraries and other sources on campus that could provide some aid in the textbook affordability plan, they connected with the Open Education Resources (OER) library.
An action plan to successfully implement textbook affordability through OER was created through a discussion with Blake Flanders, the president of the Kansas Board of Regents, Ries and the president of Pittsburg State University. On Jan. 16, Ries presented the plan to the Kansas Board of Regents.
Another goal for Senate was to build a healthy snack bar inside the recreation center for students to have access to nutritious foods while working out.
Previously, a snack bar was created inside the rec, but the venture was not very successful due to poor operating hours, and it was later closed. Because the previous snack bar was not a complete success, it has been difficult for Senate to convince its voting members to implement another.
They first proposed to switch the operating hours, finding what times the rec had the most foot traffic and when purchasing became the highest. They also partnered with a third party called Shake Smart, which specializes in snack bars at student recreation centers and has seen great success at other universities across the country, including the University of Texas, University of Arizona and University of Oregon.
According to Ries, if the recreation center’s traffic continues to go up, the University's Memorial Corporation may look into the snack bar again. Shake Smart submitted a request for approval, and all that would need to happen would be to get money from the investors to implement it.
“Right now, from a financial standpoint, the numbers aren’t showing that the climate is right for the snack bar. While in fiscal year 20, having a snack bar is not financially sustainable, there’s definite room for growth,” Ries said.
There are a number of other platforms Senate is continuing to work on, according to Ries.
“We have a lot of things we’re really excited about that represent the last 50 years. Keep watching for more because there’s definitely a lot coming down the pipeline that we really believe in for the school,” Ries said.