Since transitioning into their positions last April, Student Body President Suril Kantaria '13 and Vice president Julia Danford '13 have taken steps toward implementing their campaign promise to increase the Assembly's visibility and involvement in student programming, according to Kantaria. Many students interviewed, however, said they were not aware of the new programming options.
This Fall, the Assembly introduced a handful of new initiatives for students, including the first-year peer mentoring program, which links interested freshmen with upperclassmen mentors, and an intellectual life initiative to encourage informal interaction between students and their professors, Kantaria said.
The mentorship program was formed out of a partnership among interested upperclassmen, members of the Assembly and the Dean's Office.
Program co-director Andrew Longhi '14 said that although the program currently serves only the Fahey-McLane and Russell Sage residential clusters, he plans to expand it and add faculty advisors. The original program included about 200 first-year students, according to Kantaria.
"We've been pretty happy with it," Kantaria said. "The Dean's Office put out a survey and several students mentioned it as a positive experience."
Co-director Lily Michelson '15 said that while the program was somewhat disorganized at the start of the school year, she hopes that it will become more visible and attract new mentors next year after positive student response. On Friday, the program will host a panel discussion on summer internship opportunities for first year students, Longhi said.
The intellectual life initiative, which started midway through Fall term, plans events for professors and students to meet over dinner or in small discussion groups outside the classroom, according to Austin Boral '16, an Assembly cluster representative for Russell-Sage.
"It's geared toward getting students to discuss current events and meet professors in a more intimate setting," Boral said.
Boral is a contributing columnist.
The Assembly has increased student programming, and planned tailgates before sports games and events in alternative social spaces such as Sarner Underground, Collis Common Ground and the Hopkins Center, Kantaria said. In the future, the Assembly plans to co-host more events in these spaces with interested student organizations and Greek houses.
"We've been thinking about alternatives to the social scene for a while," Kantaria said.
The Assembly hopes to increase the number of events in residential clusters to improve community interactions among students, he said. First-year student programming will begin this week.
"A theme in our programming is to improve intellectual life outside of the classroom," Kantaria said.
Following the recent incidents of racism on campus, the Assembly has worked closely with Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson and the Office of Pluralism and Leadership to reach out to students and increase campus discussion on campus culture, Kantaria said.
The Assembly sent students a survey in the Fall asking about the qualities they wanted to see in Dartmouth's incoming president. At the beginning of the Winter term, the Assembly organized a breakfast in Paganucci Lounge where students could meet President-elect Philip Hanlon.
The Assembly continues to run its most popular programs, including arranging extra buses to Boston and New York City at the end of academic terms, according to its website. It will also fund access to national newspapers in dining halls and sponsoring the "take your professor to lunch or coffee program," according to Kantaria.
Kantaria said the Assembly continues to compile a searchable database of student clubs and organizations, called the Dartmouth Group Directory. The database currently includes 68 percent of student organizations.
Although the Assembly has tried to increase its visibility to students through event planning and weekly "T.G.I.F." emails about upcoming programs, students interviewed said that they had not noticed the Assembly's increased involvement in student life.
Dan Harris '14 said he was not aware of the Assembly's new programming for students, and Jennifer Wray '16 said she had little knowledge of the events that the Assembly had planned for first-years.
Asked about his knowledge of Assembly programs, Alex Bulteel '16 said that he had never heard of Student Assembly.
Jacob Savos '16 said he felt that the Assembly "did a good job fulfilling their role on campus," though he only attended one of their events during the Fall.