Sustaining Excellence Project vetting first round of suggestions
May 11, 2017
The university wants to trim the fat, and Associated Student Government senators are among the first students to hear some of their proposed butchering methods.
At their May 4 Senate meeting, student leaders received updates on the Sustaining Excellence Project—an initiative to cut university costs and generate additional revenue for the campus. Started in March, it was largely in response to a loss in the overall operating budget and the ensuing budget cuts across campus.
“This is a brainstorming process to find ideas to either reduce certain expenses or generate additional revenue that we can set in play now to pay off over the long haul,” said Michael Nuttall, associate director of the Ignatian Center. “What it isn’t is trying to address short term budgetary issues.”
On April 26, the Steering Committee of the Sustaining Excellence project asked Members of the campus community to submit their ideas for achieving the project’s goals. Along with Nuttall, Associate Dean for Student Life Lester Deanes and attended Thursday’s meeting to update senators on the project and the 283 ideas the project received.
Lidia Diaz-Fong, ASG Student Body President, briefly described this project in her email to Santa Clara undergraduates on May 4.
“Part of Father Engh’s Santa Clara 2020 plan is the Sustaining Excellence Project,” Diaz-Fong wrote in the email. “The project is looking at ways to revise university operations and costs, as well as generate new revenue through new business opportunities and/or expanding current ones.”
Deanes and Nuttall briefly explained the types of ideas the Steering Committee was looking for in their survey. They also talked about the challenges they have faced.
One of the biggest difficulties, they said, is the aggressive timeline of the project. It is part of the 2020 Plan which hopes to bring big changes to the campus by the year 2020. Another issue is the sheer impracticality of some ideas they received in the campus-wide survey, such as changing Santa Clara to a semester school.
Despite the many infeasible proposals, some students came up with ideas that Deanes and Nuttall felt were perfect for the project. These included a proposal for online courses during the academic year and doing a cost-benefit analysis of campus beautification services, such as groundskeeping and watering.
Nuttall made it clear to senators that the ideas they presented to ASG were directly from the campus community, and had not yet been examined in detail by the project’s leaders.
“If you read the list, you can figure out which ideas are not going to work,” he said. “These haven’t been vetted at all. We wanted to bring them to you as raw as possible.”
Jill Rovaris, director of the Cowell Center, also spoke at the meeting about mental health awareness month. As part of an effort to raise awareness about the initiative, Cowell is showing a short film in the Graham Commons on May 30 at 6 p.m. The film, titled “It’s Real: College Students and Mental Health,” is a 20-minute documentary that follows a handful of college students that struggle with mental health issues.
ASG Senate will meet again on May 11 at 7 p.m.
Contact Kimi Andrew at kandrew@scu. edu