By Alveena Siddiqi, News Reporter
Students offered their critiques of the college’s planning, implementation and suggestions for improvement at the Elmhurst College Strategic Planning Forum on Sept. 26 in Founder’s Lounge. EC’s Student Government Association (SGA) held three forum sessions on Sept. 26, 27 and 28. The Leader was in attendance at the session on Sept. 26.
VanAken welcomed students to the forum by introducing the college’s yearlong strategic planning process, aimed at planning for the next four to five years, called “Elmhurst 2021.”
Students were presented with a recently revised draft of Elmhurst’s vision, mission and core value statements and asked to offer critique and suggestions for improvement.
During the open discussion, students noted the need for a clearer and more explicit emphasis on the college’s values of religious diversity.
Senior Derek Sire pointed out that the old mission statement, unlike the newly revised one, explicitly mentioned “religious freedom” as a core value.
“Saying that explicitly is really important in this environment globally, and in the national political environment,” he said.
The three statements are still in revision and are not yet official, according to VanAken.
In addition to being invited to improve upon the new vision, mission and core value statements, students were asked to respond to the question, “What would you do for the college if you had five million dollars?”
Student suggestions ranged from fixing residence hall maintenance issues to improving the orientation and admissions experience for transfer students to engagement with colleges in an international sister city.
Senior Daniel Crusius expressed his interest in focusing the budget on making the campus a more disability-friendly space.
Crusius emphasized the importance of “improving campus accessibility, having ASL interpreters at all public events, trying to obtain audio and braille textbooks whenever possible, ensuring that there are ramps and elevators and elevators in every building as well as improving accessibility to other things such as doors.”
He also suggested that the city of Elmhurst consider the installation of audio walk signs “to help blind people cross the street safely and independently.”
Senior Derek Sire suggested a scholarship fund for “under-represented or undocumented students” in reference to those affected by the rescission of DACA.
When reminding students to write their ideas on provided Post-it notes, Van Aken briefly made mention of EC’s parking space problem as one of the most common student complaints.
“There’s a couple of students here who put ‘parking garage,’” he said, “and then one said ‘Just build a parking garage already!’”
However, there was no mention of if, how or when any of these issues would be resolved.