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The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

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A conversation with…Divya Aggarwal

Currently the vice president of student life for USG, junior Divya Aggarwal has been involved with USG in various capacities for the past three years. A biochemistry major and nutrition minor, Aggarwal aspires to adequately represent the needs of students on the CWRU campus.


Lisa Viers: What is your major and what activities do your participate in on campus?

Divya Aggarwal: I am a biochemistry major and nutrition minor. I’m in USG and I’m in Sigma Psi sorority.


L.V: Why did you choose to run for vice president of student life for USG?

DA: I’d been in USG for my entire college career and I’ve grown to have a passion for it. I was on the student life committee my freshmen year and I really enjoyed it. What I enjoy the most about this committee is that you get a whole slew of interaction with different administrators. You get to talk to campus services, dining, etc. It’s really getting a whole coverage of the university and I really enjoy it.


L.V: How has your participation in USG affected your experience at CWRU?

D.A: It’s definitely helped me to grow to love this university. As a general student you only see the surface. You only see academics. But this position lets me learn the ins and outs and its history. It’s really exciting. Being in USG had enriched my experience at CWRU and given me a better appreciation for this university. And it has allowed me to be a part of so many events and committees that directly the student experience


L.V: What aspects of student life have you focused on during the fall semester?

D.A: Athletics facilities and equipment have been a focus for me, especially hours, like Veale center hours. The whole athletic department has been a major focus. Currently undergraduate and graduate students have expressed the hours, particularly the pool hours, are very inconvenient. One major issue the athletic department has cited for the pool hours being short is staff. One solution the committee is trying to implement is change the current pool safety class or implement a class where lifeguards can be trained. We want to offer credit for lifeguard training and offer a work-study position to be a lifeguard at the pool. It’s our responsibility to work to find a solution and propose a solution to the administration to come to a consensus or agreement to make a change. We don’t just give up. We have to think very hard to find the best solution that we can. Another thing I’ve been working on which will be going next year is getting an alternate for Pura Vida in Thwing Atrium and trying to get a little Italy greenie stop. Of course one of the most exciting projects that I’ve been able to be a part of is the university center planning process. Being able to come up with designs for the building with other campus leaders and administration was a really exciting experience.


L.V: What has been your biggest accomplishment during your tenure so far?

D.A: Getting a greenie stop in Little Italy, actually, although it hasn’t happened yet. Standard parking is really receptive to the idea of having a greenie stop and they’re testing it out right now. We plan tot have it implemented next semester as a pilot. If students don’t like it all then we won’t continue it. Another big accomplishment for me involved working for a student who wanted more athletic equipment for open recreation on campus because he wasn’t allowed to use the soccer goals that were in place for varsity soccer. After some research, it was apparent that there was no equipment available for the purpose of open recreation. Also, when he wanted to play the lights shut out on him early. There’s no definitive answer about when the lights shut off on the fields. I wrote a resolution asking the administration to purchase more equipment for recreation and make facilities make definite and post their hours on their website or on the field about when the field lights shut off. He was incredibly appreciative. He didn’t expect I would email him back right away and tell him and follow through. He was very much like, ‘I can’t believe you’re replying to me and this is actually happened I’m really appreciative of USG.” That’s what we want to hear. All you have to do is follow up with them. One thing we’re always fighting for is to let them know USG is on their side. It was affirmation that we’re doing the right thing buy following thorough with the student by saying ‘I believe what you’re fighting for is important’.


L.V: What has been the most difficult issue to arise during the fall semester?

D.A: Many students have expressed the smoking on Adelbert road. This is something USG has had to tackle several times. It’s always come to a standstill because we don’t know how to approach UH [University Hospitals] about this. We just need to express to them their failure to implement their smoking policy is having an affect on the health of our students. Our next to step is to work with administration to express this concern to UH and help them implement a program to better implement their smoking policy. It’s clearly an issue of them just not enforcing their policy. That’s been the most controversial topic we’ve had to deal with.


L.V: How integral is your position to improving conditions on the CWRU campus?

D.A: I am the point person related to the student experience that is not related to academic affairs. It’s my responsibility to be that point person who talks to administration to say ‘You need to make this change.’ And my committee writes resolutions to hopefully alter university policy. It’s not just me. I need my committee too. I don’t make these changes myself. I have representatives who help me out and work with administrators. My objective this semester was to empower them. I gave instruction, I gave lessons on how to write emails and meeting etiquette so they could also learn about the infrastructure of the university and meet with administrators.


L.V: If you had any advice for students attempting to change an aspect of student life on campus what would it be?

D.A: being proactive. Don’t be afraid of administrators. They are some of the nicest people on this campus and they’re so willing to meet with you they’re not behind locked doors. Great thing about being on such a small campus is that your resources are never out of reach. You have USG and RHA and other representative organization love to voice the opinions of students and help them. USG is not a closed organization. Students are always welcome to come to our weekly general assembly meetings and committee meetings. Have a lot of at-large members who say they gain a lot from their experience. It’s jut a direct result of taking an hour of your time and sitting in a meeting. It’s so much easier to make change than you think.

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