By Rebecca Briesmoore

The Savage Library. Photo: Abigail Krueger

Here are some highlights from Student Government Association’s April 13 meeting:  

Former Gunnison Mayor Gelwicks visits, talks lighting, traffic issues in Gunnison 

Former Gunnison Mayor and current City Council member Jim Gelwicks attended the SGA meeting to address student concerns about lighting and traffic issues around Gunnison, and specifically within the vicinity of campus.  

Gelwicks acknowledged that he has heard concerns from community members about the lack of lighting in and around Gunnison, and asked students to share their concerns about areas of town that need better lighting. He also asked students to share their thoughts about traffic problems in Gunnison. 

SGA students raised several areas of concern. One area discussed was the alley east of Chipeta Hall and south of the President’s residence. SGA members expressed concern that this alley has insufficient lighting and can be dangerous for pedestrians, as there is low visibility for drivers. Another area of concern was the sidewalk alongside Meadows Park, just north of the Mountaineer Village and Garden Walk apartment complexes.  

Students also shared traffic-related issues. One area of concern expressed by SGA students was the intersection of North Colorado Street and East Denver Avenue, where late last year the city converted the intersection from a two-way stop to a four-way stop. Students said that they have experienced drivers blowing through the intersection without stopping or driving too fast. 

Gelwicks stressed that he will always listen to students’ comments and concerns, and that he wants students to feel comfortable sharing ideas with him. He wants there to be an open channel of communication of ideas between the city of Gunnison and students at Western, telling students he was at the meeting to listen and learn. 

In addition to asking for student feedback, Gelwicks congratulated the graduating seniors and emphasized Western students’ impact on the Gunnison community. He commended the work of Shannon Hessler and Jenny Nitzky, two graduate students in the Master’s of Environmental Management (MEM) program who have been developing the city’s first comprehensive sustainability plan. He told students that this city is as much theirs as anyone else’s and that he appreciates the energy and ideas they bring to the community. 

Brad Baca returns to hear student feedback on the late payment process 

After presenting at the April 6 meeting about the late payment process, Western’s current Executive Vice President (and newly selected future President) Brad Baca, returned to SGA to hear student feedback. The current plan, which freezes access to student’s academic resources including MyWestern and Canvas, is being reconsidered.  

Baca listened to SGA student feedback about the current system and an alternative system, which would charge students late fees instead of freezing access to academic resources. SGA students, who collected feedback from their constituents, emphasized that implementing late fees would increase student stress and while not alleviating the core problem.  

SGA members noted that sometimes students are awaiting payment from scholarships or federal grants and do not have control over when the money is transferred. Overall, members acknowledge that it is difficult when accounts are frozen, but it is even more difficult when late fees are applied. 

SGA members also put forth ideas to assist in informing students of their upcoming freeze, including a Canvas warning notification. Another option presented by SGA was to work with EPIC Mentors to have peer success advisors reach out to students with late payments and assist them in talking to financial aid to get their bill paid.  

Baca plans to take feedback into consideration and return to SGA in the fall to inform them of the new late payment process. 

Stay tuned for more coverage of SGA.