Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


Congress Updates


by Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Representative

Student Congress welcomed Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P., president of Providence College, to our weekly meeting on Feb. 9. After giving an overview of his current priorities as president, Fr. Sicard answered questions from members of the Student Congress. 

When asked about his priorities for the spring semester, Fr. Sicard said he is focused on handling COVID-19-related challenges and diversity initiatives. Fr. Sicard stated that the College is continually working to keep students safe and to make experiences in isolation and quarantine as comfortable as possible. He also said that PC will be directing more funding towards diversity initiatives and will be conducting a cluster hire in the Black studies department. 

When asked about the mental health of students in isolation and quarantine, Fr. Sicard said that there will be counselors available to them. Furthermore, he said that the College is working to make quarantine comfortable by providing Dunkin’ Donuts and specialty meals to the students. 

He also discussed his “Friarside Chats” program, wherein students have the opportunity to speak with him in person about their experiences at PC. At recent Friarside Chats, topics such as COVID-19 protocols; diversity, equity, and inclusion questions; mental health concerns; and commencement in the spring have come up in conversation. Fr. Sicard encourages students to attend these conversations in the upcoming semester. 

Thank you Fr. Sicard for taking the time to attend our meeting and speak with us.

Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


Congress Updates


by Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Representative

John Sweeney, chief financial officer of Providence College, came to the Student Congress meeting on Feb. 2. Sweeney provided an overview of COVID-19’s impact on PC’s expenses and revenue, stating that PC has spent $12 million on COVID-19 testing, quarantine protocol, meals, staff, technology, physical changes, and cleaning. After giving an overview of the College’s financial outlook, Sweeney also answered a series of questions from Student Congress members. 

When asked about the College’s financial health in light of COVID-19-related expenses, Sweeney said that the College has made cuts to expenses and that PC is investing in energy efficiency, which will save the College money in the future. Sweeney also remarked on the success of the free textbook program that began this fall and said the program has become a model for other schools. 

When asked about financial aid, Sweeney answered that PC increased financial aid by about $9 million this year and that the College currently meets about 89% of demonstrated need. Sweeney also addressed the security challenges of student organizations using electronic payment platforms like Venmo, but he said that they are looking for a way to accommodate electronic payments. 

When asked about upcoming projects, Sweeney said he anticipates that the Ruane Friar Development Center project will begin in May 2022. Sweeney also said that COVID-19-related expenses vary significantly between institutions depending on the aggressiveness of the program. COVID-19 prevention requires more ventilation, heating, and cooling, but associated costs with such increases are necessary for the safety of everyone at PC. Looking into the future, Sweeney anticipates that in three years, 80% of PC’s energy usage will be offset by solar power. 

Student Congress thanks John Sweeney for coming to their meeting and for all he does for PC students. Following Sweeney’s presentation, the Fashion Society presented to Student Congress and were approved as an official club by Student Congress. 

For students interested in joining Student Congress, they will be in attendance at the Involvement Fair on Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the upper Slavin lobby. 

Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


Congress Updates


by Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Publicity

On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, Student Congress welcomed Jim Rizzo, help desk manager from information technology, to present on additional security features they are adding to student email accounts. 

The new security features will include push notifications to authenticate email sign-ins. These features will be added to student accounts by class year over the summer. 

Following the guest speakers, Student Congress voted to approve a statement of position supporting a Faculty Senate bill that  eliminates the core focus requirement for all future classes, starting with the class of 2023. Following this vote, members of Student Congress presented a recommendation for hiring a permanent full-time Title IX professional. 

This piece of legislation also recommends that this position be filled by an individual that identifies as a woman.

Following this presentation, members of Student Congress gave a presentation on questioning the narrative surrounding Christopher Columbus and addressesing the continued suffering of Native Americans as a result of Columbus’s actions. 

The members of Student Congress then presented a piece of legislation recommending the College recognize Indigenous People’s Day, instead of Columbus Day. The presenters stated that the goal of the piece is to rename the holiday to bring awareness and education to the suffering of indigenous people. 

Following this discussion, members of Student Congress presented a piece that makes new clubs eligible for funding when they are approved by Student Congress. Following this presentation, the executive secretary of Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA) presented on changes to the BMSA Constitution that were passed at the March 25 meeting.

Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


Congress Updates


By Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Publicity

On Tuesday, April 2, Student Congress welcomed Sara Eckhoff, from Day One Rhode Island. 

Eckhoff is the Victim Advocacy, Support, and Education Coordinator for Providence College. She is a confidential resource for students and faculty, and she is available to meet with any member of the campus community to answer questions, offer support, provide resources, and assist individuals after an incident. 

Eckhoff informed Student Congress that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and that there will be several events on campus throughout the month to raise awareness. 

Furthermore, Eckhoff reiterated the importance of cultivating a culture at PC where sexual violence will not be tolerated at any level. 

Following Eckhoff’s presentation, members of Congress voted to approve a Statement of Position supporting the “Introduction to Providence College” one credit course. 

Student Congress also voted to eliminate the core focus requirement starting for the Class of 2023. 

Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


Congress Updates


Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Publicity

On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, the 69th Student Congress hosted Peter Palumbo, director of academic advising, who presented on updates to the current academic advising program. Palumbo said his department has been working on streamlining the degree audit format and have been implementing additional faculty development programs. Palumbo then fielded student questions and feedback about the advising process. 

Following Mr. Palumbo’s presentation, representatives from the Student Advisory Board on Mental Health presented on their organization’s role on campus. This club serves as a liaison between the student body and the mental health resources on campus. The advisory board has participated in Fresh Check day, worked Inside Out week, and hosted a forum about mental health. Additionally, the representatives highlighted their upcoming events such as, “A Chance for Change: How to get involved so you can make a difference” on March 26. 

Following the guest speakers, Student Congress voted to approve “Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans  in Science (SACNAS): Diversity in STEM” as an official club under Student Congress.

Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


Congress Updates


Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Publicity

Chuck Haberle, assistant vice president for Academic Facilities and Technology Planning, presented the calendars for the 2020-2021 and 2021- 2022 academic years to congress. 

Haberle discussed the benefits and drawbacks that accompany starting after Labor Day, in contrast to the  past several academic years, which have started before Labor Day. 

In planning the schedule, Haberle stated that the College needs to have 15 weeks of academic instruction per semester. PC currently has 14 weeks of classes and a week of exams every semester. 

Mr. Haberle discussed student interest in a longer Columbus Day break, which could be especially beneficial for freshmen, who are still adjusting to college life.  

Following this presentation, the executive board of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SANCAS) presented to congress. SANCAS is a national organization that works to foster the success of underrepresented groups in STEM. This club would be a PC chapter of the national SACNAS organization. 

The executive board emphasizes that this club would provide valuable opportunities, such as access to conferences,  and would be open to students from all majors. Student Congress will vote on this club at the next meeting. 

Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


Congress Updates


By Margaret Mahoney ’21

On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Student Congress welcomed two guest speakers. 

Jana Valentine, director of Residence Life, answered questions about various aspects of Residence Life, such as Hybrid Housing, housing selection, and accommodations for overenrolled classes. On the topic of Hybrid Housing,  Valentine discussed how the program is going and the direction Residence Life anticipates this program taking in the future. 

In the next academic year, Residence Life will be offering approximately 90 Hybrid Housing spots for seniors, through a partnership with a local landlord. 

Valentine also addressed housing selection and emphasized the importance of having a complete housing group when submitting housing applications. 

After Valentine spoke, two members of Student Congress, Dylan Black ’ 20 and Sean Gray ’21, presented on the Office of Academic Services application process. The presenters highlighted the qualities that a good tutor possesses and answered student questions about the position. 

Applications for tutoring positions are due March 22. 

Following the guest speakers, Student Congress passed a bill regarding legislation process and timing.

Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


National and Global News


by Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Publicity

Student Congress met on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 and welcomed two guest speakers. 

The first speaker was a representative from the Rhode Island Blood Center who spoke to Congress about the critical need for blood and the blood drive happening on campus Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The second guest speaker was Shan Mukhtar, director for the Center at Moore Hall. Mukhtar presented to Student Congress on the purpose of the Center at Moore Hall, which is to help “creative approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through arts and culture.”

This goal is approached by the Center at Moore Hall and the Office of Institutional Diversity in four sub-goals. The first sub-goal of the Center is to foster an “affirming and ethically and critically engaged space” through encouraging students to share their ideas for the Center and creating affinity group dialogues and collaboration-focused events. 

Additionally, Mukhtar said they are working to achieve this goal by making the Center at Moore Hall more inviting and by offering free tea, coffee, and snacks, in the Community Kitchen and Arts Café. 

The second goal of the Center is to promote shared experiences of artistic and cultural forms, by hosting various programs involving poetry, urban dance, and visual arts. 

The third goal of the Center is to advance deeper intellectual inquiry through partnerships with Campus Ministry and Feinstein Academic Center. 

The final sub-goal of the Center at Moore Hall is focused on “solving problems correctly,” specifically focusing on initiating dialogue and debates on  non-violence, racial bias, and restorative justice training. 

Following the guest speakers’ presentations, Student Congress approved spring allocations for club funding and a piece presented last week regarding recycling in residence halls was postponed indefinitely. 

Members of the Legislative Affairs Committee presented a piece to organize the process of presenting legislation.

Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


Congress Updates


by Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Representative

On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, Student Congress welcomed members of the Core Curriculum Committee, who presented on the Science, Fine Arts, and Core Focus components of the curriculum. The Core Curriculum Committee presented on the goal of the committee, which is to assess the implementation of the core curriculum. They are in the process of reviewing each requirement. 

Regarding the science component of the core curriculum, the members of the committee gathered student feedback on how members of congress have fulfilled the science core and their general ideas and suggestions regarding this component. The Committee also gathered feedback and experiences from students fulfilling the fine arts core at Providence College or while studying abroad. One main discussion regarding the fine arts requirement is if students should make art,  analyze art, or a combination of the two in order to fulfill the requirement. 

Additionally, the committee gathered student responses to the core focus and how it impacts their academic experiences. One element of the core focus that was discussed is how frequently a students’ core focus develops into a minor or double major. 

Following this presentation from the Core Curriculum Committee, Student Congress also voted to approve the Sports Business Organization as a club of Providence College. 

Members of congress also presented a recommendation regarding the trash and recycling methods in residence halls. This piece recommends that Residence Life place more trash and recycling bins in the residence halls and have UG2 workers rotate trash and recycling on the weekends. In the discussion regarding this piece, students debated the effectiveness of increasing bins and a need for a cultural shift favoring recycling at PC.

Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor


Congress Updates


by Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Representative

The 69th Student Congress met for the first time this semester on Tuesday, January 23, 2019. The Sports Business Organization presented on their proposed club and how it would positively impact Providence College students. The primary goal of the Sports Business Organization would be to expose students to careers in sports through guest speakers and networking opportunities. Furthermore, the club’s executive board also plans to host events with the Center for Career Education and Professional Development to help students improve their résumés and teach them other professional skills. The executive board answered several questions ranging from the club’s potential financing to the guest speakers they would like to host. Student Congress will vote on this new club at the next meeting on Tuesday, January 29.