What to know from the Committee of the Whole meeting


Josh Hardwood

The Committee of the whole meets Oct. 29.

The board of trustees saw four presentations regarding student governance, internships, academic reorganization and the UVM Foundation at its Oct. 26 Committee of the Whole meeting.

The Committee of the Whole serves as a body to enable the board to consider matters under conditions approximating those of a committee, but takes no action other than the referral of recommendations to the board, according UVM’s board of trustees website.

SGA works to minimize sexual harassment

SGA plans to help to minimize sexual harassment in physical education and physical fitness spaces, said senior Sam Pasqualoni, president of SGA and board of trustees student representative.

“It’s something that many of the people or the staffers on my body are very passionate about bringing forward,” Pasqualoni said.

This plan follows trends in the fitness industry of gyms providing female identifying or marginalized demographics with special spaces or hours, he said.

The SGA will also monitor the changes to the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunities, as laid out by President Suresh Garimella’s Oct. 25 report, Pasqualoni said.

Additionally, Pasqualoni said the Rally Cat food pantry served over 650 students during weekly pop up hours this semester and hopes to expand, now that the pantry has moved to the UVM campus children’s school.

The organization moved to the UVM campus children’s school and obtained SGA recognition for continued funding, he said.

Food and housing insecurity involve UVM’s graduate students, especially international students, said Rosie Chapina, president of the graduate student senate.

The Graduate Student’s Senate plans to propose a system to pick up international students from the airport and familiarize them with Burlington, Chapina said.

More UVM students intern than national average

Currently, 69% of seniors have participated in an internship through UVM, compared to 47% nationally. However Patricia Prelock, provost and senior vice president, and Garimella work to get the rate up to 100%, Prelock said.

The Office of Engagement looks to coordinate an approach to experiential learning and providing students with greater accessibility to career preparation opportunities, she said. This is part of a three to five year plan to increase internship participation.

“Ultimately what we really want to achieve is for each student to have at least one or more […] [internship] experiences,” Prelock said.

Seniors Skylar Bagdon, Dorcas Lohese and Risa Repetto presented their experiences with internships through UVM and how they helped to prepare them for careers going forward.

“I don’t think there is any problem convincing the students the value of [internships],” Prelock said.

Bagdon, Lohese and Repetto suggested paid, remote or partially remote and part-time internships may make internships more accessible to working students. Increased advertising, especially on social media, may also contribute to an increase in participation, Lohese said.

UVM is currently working to expand the internship opportunities for students in Vermont, especially the paid opportunities, Garimella said.

Committee discusses student interests 

The Academic Reorganization Working Group, formed May 2020, prepares to make recommendations for academic reorganization by the end of 2021, after an analysis of campus academic alignments, said David Jenemann, dean of UVM’s honor college and leader of the working group.

According to UVM’s surveys of high school seniors, the students applying to UVM take more interest in an active campus social life and access to nature than career advancement or professional development, said David Strauss, principal of the Art and Science Group.

The Art and Science Group is a consulting firm aimed at helping institutions present a favorable image to the public, according to the company’s website. The firm works to give an external look at students considering UVM, Prelock said.

“I think the question is, how do we translate that excellence and success that the students are experiencing, to the overall portrait of UVM that everyone understands?” Jenemann said.

UVM Foundation funds recruitment and research

The UVM Foundation works to provide more funding for the Student Opportunity, Access and Recruitment Campaign, as well as the SOLVE campaign to support faculty and graduate student research in key areas of strength, said David Keller, interim CEO of UVM Foundation.

SOAR raised $48.6 million of a $150 million goal, Keller said. SOLVE, which only receives donations from private organizations, has raised $56.6 million of a $200 million goal.

The meeting closed with an executive session beginning at approximately 11:05 a.m. to allow the committee to discuss South Burlington real estate.