The Towne Meeting could be considered the epicenter of democratic life at New College. Since every student is automatically a senator in the New College Student Alliance (NCSA), it allows students a space for presenting, ideas, propositions, and problems they see on campus.
“As far as the NCSA goes the power is pretty expansive,” Thesis student McAlister Grant and co-speaker of the NCSA towne meeting said. “Any power not delegated specifically to another body are given to the towne meeting.”
The NCSA office is located in Hamilton Center and is open to the students.
“When in [a] towne meeting we are working together towards shared goal,” thesis student and co-speaker of the NCSA Evann Stoltys-Gilbert said.
The speakers expressed that the towne meeting is an impressive body at New College. They gave an example of a recent Towne Meeting where students came together to discuss the changing of the name of what was formerly known as Palm Court Party to what is now called Center of the Universe Party (COUP).
“The student body had the choice to make [the] pole and make the choice before it was made for them,” Stoltys-Gilbert said.
“The Towne Meeting is the strongest tool the students have for voicing their concerns and holding the administration accountable,” Grant said.
“Everything that is brought through the Towne Meeting is voted on,” Stoltys-Gilbert said.
Stotltys-Gilbert explained that the Towne Meeting is place where important things, such as the counseling and wellness center budget are voted on.
The speakers both said that they share the information that will be given and what will be voted on at least a few days in advance if possible.
“It’s not clear, or it hasn’t been in the past, that the Towne Meeting is where students can make the most difference,” Stoltys-Gilbert said.
Both co-speakers were adamant about making sure students know they can be a part of legislation and bringing issues forward.
“It’s a lot easier to talk at town meetings than I thought,” third-year Kasia Burzynski said. “It’s a simple process to submit an agenda item for discussion and for your views to be heard.” “It’s really affirming when you realize that other students care about similar issues and are doing things about them.”
Grant also gave the example that positions, such as the counsel of diversity, can be and have been created through the Towne Meeting.
Towne Meetings have been increasing in attendance, up to around 75 this past Wednesday, with the highest this semester being over 120. This is up from last year, when it was a struggle to get 50 people to show up and stay. Even still, the co-speakers are hoping to increase visibility and get those numbers even higher.
Making sure that students know that the Town Meetings are happening and making sure that they are a good use of student time is the co-speakers main goals.
“The biggest thing that we can do is making sure the meetings are run effectively,” Grant said.