The Student Association (SA) at Syracuse University was created in 1944 to serve as the liaison between the student body and the university. Each year, SA rolls out a variety of leadership initiatives that confront and improve the student experience at SU. Having been at SU for almost four full years now, I have noticed some drastic changes that have gone a long way in fostering a safe and inclusive environment for students. Here are some recent initiatives SA has taken on:

Heat lamps in bus stops

This initiative was introduced last year and has since been fully rolled out. The newly installed heat lamps at major campus bus stops, keep students warm while waiting for the campus shuttles and make the cold temperatures much more bearable.

Bike Share Program

Although the program only kicked off this semester, it has been a long time coming for SU students. According to Jane Hong, recent SU graduate and former SA Vice President, “We have a fairly large population of students that bike around campus and the local community. We knew that a program like this would quite literally mobilize students to explore the surrounding area, and get out of the orange bubble.”

The program encourages students to immerse themselves in what’s beyond the university campus and explore the city of Syracuse. Hong also expressed that “what impresses me the most about the Bike Share Program is thinking about how many students actually contributed to this initiative — all because they wanted this to be a reality for future students.”

The bikes are available by reservation with a signed liability waiver. The reservations are free to make and bikes can be picked up and returned at the rack outside Schine Student Center.

Free feminine products on campus

One of SA’s many student life initiatives is to provide menstrual products in all non-residential buildings, starting Oct. 28. With this new initiative, students will have access to free tampons and pads in every bathroom on campus. This campus-wide plan will change the taboo topic of female menstruation; by projecting a positive light on this unspoken issue, SA is taking a stance for inclusiveness in a college campus.

Adding new minors

SA is a major advocate of students declaring new minors. This significant change in the traditional structure and its curriculums was mobilized to fulfill students’ diverse passions.

“My freshman or sophomore year, one of our assembly representatives successfully advocated for a minor in Arabic,” Hong recalled. “He was an Arabic major, and he knew there was so much for students to gain from being able to minor in a Middle Eastern language. The university and the office of academic affairs agreed, and now students have the opportunity to minor in an extremely important global language like Arabic.” Students can speak to their academic advisors regarding the new minors and the process of declaring one. View a list of SU’s current minors.

Chat and Dine

In  an effort to encourage relationship-building and networking between students and faculty, SA kicked off the ‘Chat and Dine’ initiative two years ago and has since proven to be a student favorite. The program offers free lunch at Goldstein Alumni & Faculty Center for small groups of students and staff or faculty members.The program serves as an alternative to office hours, with many students opting to talk about career goals and academic advice. Students can apply here to be considered for the program. Students just have to provide detail on the reason for the meeting and SA arranges the rest.

In recent years, SA has been pushing further to accomplish initiatives that will benefit students and faculty as a whole. With the implementation of new amenities and programs, SA has consistently provided concrete solutions to many of the university’s issues. For more information on SA and how to join, visit their website and follow them on Twitter.

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