WIU student leaders meet with President Spencer

Dan Morton

Student leaders from more than 20 of WIU’s top student organizations met at President Donald Spencer’s house Friday for the Presidents’ Roundtable Meeting. From 3 to 5 p.m., the representatives discussed issues facing WIU students and organizations.

The panel decided the top three issues facing students were parking, financial aid and the transit system beginning next semester.

Parking, the top issue students have to deal with, was criticized because of the scarce availability of spots. It was pointed out that even when a parking spot is available, it is too far from students’ classes or residences, so they park off campus, which is closer.

Another problem with parking is that students who graduate in December are forced to buy a parking pass for the whole school year. Students can buy a pass only for the spring semester, but not only for the fall semester.

The second biggest problem facing students is how long financial aid has been taking to come through.

Many students complained about not being able to buy books on time because their checks hadn’t come in yet when school began, and a law was passed forbidding the bookstore from granting credit for purchases.

“We’re working on a voucher system with the bookstore, seeing if it’s legal or not,” Matt Bills, Student Government Association president, said. “We’re hoping it might be a loophole in the law.”

Another idea brought up was a debit card system to be used for the bookstore.

Some students said they are still waiting for their checks.

“Financial Aid has told me that with any student who is having this problem, it’s their fault,” Bills said. “They said the student must have not turned all the paperwork in on time.”

One problem students have been having with the Financial Aid Office is that when they try to find out the status of their applications, they are consistently referred to someone else. They said it is hard to find someone in the office who has knowledge of students’ applications.

“Communication is seriously lacking or something,” DJ Newport, president of Inter-Hall Council, said.

“I think the whole process is more complex than we think it is, since they have to deal with all the paperwork that comes in,” Bills said. “Just think of it like every other organization where one person will have this job and another person will have that job.”

Bills said that a committee is being put together now for the transit system. It will consist of six students, two university officials and two community members. The committee will be chaired by the SGA president.

Bills said bids are going out this week for the new transit buses to be used in a year to a year and a half. Until they are built and running, temporary transit buses will be used. The transit system will begin Feb. 1 at the latest.

The next topic for discussion was the top three issues facing student organizations at WIU.

The biggest problem organizations face is low attendance at events. They expressed disappointment in organizing events and having only a small number of students attend.

Another problem organizations are facing is spotting leaders in an organization and grooming them to take over.

Bills also said that they are still trying to move major student organizations into the Delta Deli area in the University Union.

“We’re still working on that. We should know what’s happening with it pretty soon,” Bills said.

Heading into WIU’s centennial year, Bills said the school would like to write a creed to go along with formal activities. “We’re talking about entering our centennial year

. We’re talking about leaving a legacy,” Kathy Cavins, assistant vice president for Student Services for Student Life, said.

Among the other issues discussed at the roundtable were enhancing communication and cooperation between student organizations, increasing school spirit and pride and whether the organizations feel the administration listens to their concerns.