Univ. officials hope new councils help serve student groups’ needs

By Julia Barnes, News Correspondent

After much brainstorming, planning and deliberation during the fall semester, student leaders and university officials have reclassified more than 325 student organizations, grouping them into more than a dozen Student Organization Leadership Councils, Northeastern’s Vice President of Student Affairs Laura Wankel said.

Each council is made up of student groups with common interests. Groups like NUTV, Tastemakers Magazine and Cauldron Yearbook will be grouped under the Print and Broadcast Media Leadership Council while groups like Acting Out, Nor’easters A Capella and Northeastern University Symphony Orchestra will be classified under the Performing Arts Leadership Council.

Beginning in March, the councils will meet once a month for an hour and a half at assigned locations. The councils will be chaired by faculty within corresponding areas of expertise and co-chaired by student government leaders.

Wankel said the Office of Student Affairs and the Student Government Association (SGA) made many efforts in the past to fulfill the needs of student organizations, but “with 325 organizations … it seemed as though we could do more.”

Wankel said the councils will “strengthen micro-communities, avoid redundancy [in addressing issues], target information to specific interests and explore more broadly the needs [of different organizations].”

Peter Petrin, student body president, said the grouping will enable student organizations to collaborate and solve common issues. He said in years past groups were placed in separate categories for purposes of easy identification, but it was difficult to address the demands of all student organizations precisely.

Some groups have already started to meet and students have expressed excitement about finding organizations they never even knew existed, Wankel said. She said leaders of each student organization will act as representatives at council meetings, allowing them to easily inform the SGA of pressing issues.

If a leader fails to attend two meetings, his or her organization’s recognition as an established group at Northeastern could be endangered, according to Northeastern’s OrgSync portal. But a representative can also choose someone else to temporarily take his or her place if for some reason he or she cannot attend the meeting.

The SGA and the Office of Student Affairs plan to evaluate and review the councils’ progress, most likely through surveys and focus groups in the future. More improvements could be ahead for student groups, too, Petrin said.

“I think there’s a lot more to come,” he said.

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