Name: Hersh Bhatt
Major: Economics and finance
Relevant Experience: First Year Representative on Student Life Committee (2016-17), College of Arts and Science Representative on Student Life Committee (2017-18), Fall Elections Commissioner (Fall 2017)
Running for: Vice President of Student Life
What is your top priority in this role?
As Vice President of Student Life, I plan to put forth my best efforts in providing our student body with the resources and parameters they deserve to help them achieve an ideal level of comfort and happiness. To follow on this initiative, I will try to minimize the hindrances that one can face on their journey towards having a successful college career. One of the main qualities of a leader is to listen to the voices of their constituents, and, also, to hear the silence of those who are not being voiced. I have already instilled the personal standard of “listen, understand, and act” to ensure that my priorities remain in tact, and I am an approachable VP of Student Life. After listening, understanding, and acting on the concerns/issues brought to me, I hope to help the students achieve the undergraduate experience they expected.
What is one initiative that you want to complete in your first semester?
One initiative I want completed my first semester as Vice President is fixing the campus transportation issues. Currently, the TransLoc Rider app does not provide accurate updates as to the location as well as the ETA of the shuttle. In order to solve this problem, I will utilize my friendships with senior administrators to help them understand our perspective, the problem we all face on a daily basis, and work to achieve a solution. One aspect of Student Life which I would like to continue from this year is the “one-email initiative”. These initiatives are done to tackle problems that do not require meetings. The completion of these initiatives is a huge morale booster for the representatives, committee and the Undergraduate Student Government.
A large part of what the VP of Diversity & Inclusion does was once part of this position. What specific new areas do you plan to expand this position to?
While the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Diversity & Inclusion Committee has taken on some parts of what the Student Life committee was once undertaking, I believe that there are many initiatives that fall under the Student Life committee particularly. These include improving the food quality at dining halls, wellness, health and counselling services as well as entertainment and school spirit. A new avenue that I would like to focus my efforts on is understanding where the yearly tuition increase is being spent, and why students do not see any changes occurring on campus. Working with the Vice President of Academic Affairs to improve the work-life balance of students. Also, developing relations with other campus organizations to find ways to uplift the student community and make the CWRU experience enjoyable is one of my main goals Vice President.
How will you work with the President of USG and the VP of Diversity & Inclusion to respond to student needs?
While Diversity & Inclusion takes on an advocacy role, the Student Life committee works to ensure that all students, including those who are underrepresented, achieve the college experience that they hoped for and expected. However, collaboration between the two committees to achieve common goals such as all-gender restrooms, and ensuring that all students are represented in USG will be very important during my tenure as Vice President.
What are your plans to make CWRU a safer campus?
My first semester on campus was Fall 2016. There were a plethora security alerts, which was extremely concerning for all students. I worked with the campus safety and security office to ensure that these concerns were heard, and co-authored a resolution that directly led to a fall in campus crime over the past 3 semesters. In order to make campus safer, I will work towards adding to the street lighting on and around campus, ensuring the shuttles are working on a fixed schedule and the app provides accurate real-time updates, pushing to add more SafeRides to the fleet, and working to provide an alternative solution by partnering with Uber or Lyft to ensure a safe, low-cost commute on campus when desired.
What initiatives do you have in mind for the dining halls?
Many of us are unhappy with the dining halls, be it for poor food quality or a lack of food diversity. We often complain that paying around $15 for a single swipe (depending on meal plan) is not worth it. One way I have worked to tackle this issues is by developing relationships with senior Bon Appetit administration as well as chefs. This past semester, there was significant increase in food diversity in the dining halls after multiple meetings with the chefs. I would like to continue working on this by
– working to ensure that the diversity of our campus is represented in the food served at the dining halls
– all students are made aware of the fact that the chefs are always interested in listening to feedback as well as suggestions
– a new tracking system is created to ensure that all students with various restrictions are able to eat healthy meals, be it at the dining halls or other restaurants on the meal plan
– the overall food quality of the dining halls is improved
– ensuring that all dining halls/restaurants on campus provide packing materials that are environmentally sustainable as well as sturdy so students can take food “to-go”
– implement a system so that all meal plan options, including Bag It/Grab It do not get repetitive with the food they serve