Senate Beat: Nov 16, 2020

Senate Meets with CLBR to Discuss Student Engagement

Monday’s public Senate meeting was visited by staff members from the Center for Life Beyond Reed (CLBR) who gave a presentation on what CLBR does on campus and what their philosophy around career and education planning is. They then discussed with Senate members how CLBR can better engage and connect with students.

After committee reports, CLBR Career Advisor Hayden Todd gave a presentation about CLBR’s mission to help students understand their interests and purpose, learn about job opportunities, and become leaders in their chosen field. Hayden went on to explain that one of the ways that CLBR is different from most career offices is that at most schools, resources for applying for jobs, graduate and professional schools, and grants and fellowships are all under separate offices, whereas Reed’s CLBR covers all of those areas. Instead of focusing on the specific job a student wants, CLBR focuses on where students want to have an impact and how they want to structure their lives, and then looks for the fellowships, jobs, and future schools that might help them in that endeavor. CLBR advisors and staff are grouped together not by major, but by communities of purpose with themes like “sustainable life on earth” or “education and human potential.” This allows students to encounter a variety of experiences and understandings of the same purpose or goal instead of being contained only to their major.

In addition to staff career advisors, CLBR employs Peer Career Advisors, who are student workers that focus on advising first and second year students. CLBR recommends them as a jumping-off point for underclassmen to find jobs and summer internships. They have drop-in sessions every Sunday to Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m..

CLBR also hosts various events, such as alumni panels or in-class presentations, to connect students with working professionals and develop career skills. CLBR also publishes a weekly newsletter, as well as a podcast titled “Burn Your Draft” run by Nate Martin, CLBR Operations Coordinator.

After the presentation, students on Senate started discussing strategies for how CLBR could better engage and connect with students. Senator Alondra Loza recommended integrating more CLBR presentations into Peer Mentor Program (PMP) meetings, as the students engaged in the PMP are often first generation college students who would benefit from these workshops. Senator Priya Narain suggested that CLBR could host panel discussions that are specifically targeted at first generation, low-SES and BIPOC students. Assistant Treasurer Kodinna Anachebe mentioned that as a Housing Advisor (HA) of an economics pod, they were sent infographics about possible career paths that were really helpful for the freshmen in their pod. Other senators agreed that infographics and flowcharts that clarified the often opaque and nebulous process of getting a job in a student’s chosen field would not only be helpful, but easy to distribute widely.

Furthermore, Hayden explained that CLBR rarely collaborates with other student-facing groups because it isn’t in the Student Engagement Division. As a result, CLBR is often unaware of the spaces that are accessible and used by staff groups to communicate with students. Narain suggested CLBR could increase accessibility by delivering more materials to HAs and using social media platforms such as Instagram. Anachebe recommended setting up a table outside of commons with flyers and information about events. Student Body President Al Chen echoed the enthusiasm for infographics, stating that applying to fellowships and graduate programs is much less intimidating when the process is succinctly explained in a flowchart. CLBR Assistant Director and Master of Employers Brook Hunter added that CLBR can often help connect students with alumni, which is made easier in the pandemic when virtual meetings can be held irrespective of geography. CLBR Career Adviser Julia Burrows also added that Career Panels are made easier by the prevalence of Zoom, so if students are interested in panels, CLBR can organize them more easily now than ever before. CLBR Career Advisor Shania Siron added that CLBR is currently working on an audit and report on the needs of disabled students, who have been historically overlooked by CLBR and other staff organizations. Hunter ended by stressing that while the administration is focused on sending students to graduate programs straight out of Reed, 70-80% of Reedies go to work before starting grad school. CLBR is not only trying to communicate with students on how to be prepared coming out of Reed, but is also communicating the needs of Reed students to the administration, trying to get the administration to better understand that Reedies want jobs straight out of school.

The committee reports for Monday’s meeting were short and sweet. Chen reported that they are collecting student organization bylaws to add to the SB Info website.

Student Body Vice President Apoorva Mangipudi met with administrators to talk about the relationship between the Committee on Academic Policy and Planning (CAPP) and the Student Committee on Academic Policy and Planning (SCAPP). According to Mangipudi, CAPP was very apologetic for excluding SCAPP from summer meetings. Mangipudi and the administration discussed ways to avoid situations like the one that happened over the summer, where SCAPP was not invited to many of CAPP’s meetings, as well as how SCAPP can get minutes for the summer meetings. Mangipudi has also been working with the Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies (CRES) department as part of the Student Committee on Diversity (SCOD) CRES liaison subcommittee. CRES has wanted to be involved with SCOD in implementing race-minded curricula across departments, and now with the CRES liaison subcommittee, that involvement will be realized.

Assistant Treasurer Kodinna Anachebe reported that, as usual, they have been doing disbursements. Anachebe also expressed their inability to get basic tasks done in the past week or so, and they hope to become more productive in the coming week. Kodinna, the Quest emphatically sympathizes with your predicament. I don’t even know how I’m writing this right now.

Vice Treasurer Ena Hashimoto raised a vote for Financial Committee to allocate $7494.29 to Spring/Fall. Hashimoto has also been meeting with Bon Appetit to talk about getting fresh doughnuts in the marketplace. You’re doing God’s work, Ena.

Senator Priya Narain announced that Sexual Health, Advocacy, and Relationship Education has been planning to meet with Period Collective. Senator Billy Fish announced that a Student Health Advisory Committee charter was approved and is on its way to the administration.

Senator Aziz Ouedraogo announced that Sasha Chang was appointed to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Congratulations Sasha! Ouedraogo also reported that the Academic Success Committee is working with the Student Success Committee to involve students in discussions surrounding academic decision making. The Academic Success Committee will now invite students to any meetings where it makes sense to have student input.

Senator Amrita Sawhney has three podcast episodes ready to publish. And finally, Senator Charlotte Thompson announced that the Title IX committee will organize listening sessions to hear community members’ thoughts on new policies.

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