SIT Student Association

The SIT Student Association is the recognized collective voice of the students.

The purpose of SITSA shall be:
1. Advocate for the SIT student body on such issues as student programs, student life, diversity and community.
2. Plan and/or implement and/or finance a varied program of student activities (in collaboration with DOSS when appropriate)
3. Ensure continuity of student representation, i.e work toward achieving progress on long-term or repeated concerns voiced in previous years by SITSA or other representative student organizations.
4. Responsibly disperse budget.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 20, 2011 Meeting



Meeting Minutes

  1. Spring I meetings will take place Thursdays at 5:30

  1. January/SJ Reps

  • Kirstin will present to Foundations class on Monday, January 24

  • Vote ASAP

  • Annie will email SJ workstudy student to remind them to vote

  1. Campus Awareness

  • Board needs updating! Will do when we have all reps

  • TEDx promoting should start early

  • Patricia wants to meet with SITSA once a month, expect an email from her

  • Annie will update blog with past meeting minutes

  1. Coffee Hours

  • Mexico/Turkey trips present on experience

  • Maggie will contact Student Activities about possible partnerships

  • MAT/PIM mixer when MAT students return, present on their experiences

  1. Town Halls

  • Contact Communications Committee

  • During All Campus Time

  • Possible Dates: March 15 or 22 and May 3 or April 26

December 14, 2010 Meeting



Meeting Minutes

In attendance: Tanya, Liz, Ria, Kirstin, Maggie, Jamie and Laura (IE subs for Catherine)

  1. Assign Time Keeper: Tanya

  1. Assign Minute Taker: Maggie

  2. Position Check-in:

  • Tanya: Sent letter to David, Tony, Jane, and Janet in response to last week's discussion about sexual harassment on campus.

    • Responses were positive: Jane said report to Tony or any counseling staff; If you confide in any faculty, staff, or RA, they should know to go to Tony with concerns

    • Tony will post directory of staff phone numbers and display by phones

    • David and Donna will check lights and assess the lighting situation

    • We will also email all students with the information Jane provided, with specific attention to making sure off campus students know these services are for them too

  • Ria: nothing back from Alpha (Maggie just sent him, David, and Tony an email about it)

  • Liz: Did survey for the MATs

    • more speakers for MAT community, especially TESOL experts

    • clarity/availability of services, SITSA unknown

    • general feelings of being outcasts at SIT

    • Top-down administrative decision making is a problem

    • writing lab needs more MAT representatives and more resources in general

      1. Item: Flags need to be updated to include all countries represented at SIT

        • could we have a flag raising ceremony to promote unity?

      1. January Orientation: Ria, Catherine and Maggie will meet to talk about SITSA's involvement in orientation for January starts.

      1. Sodexo contract: Accountability contract has been offered by Sodexo if there is student interest. Talk to food committee and Communications Committee to discuss the logistics

      • Keene State already has accountability infrastructure. Contact them if possible, Emily Davis or Katie Homer about connections


Jose Alfaro's Funding Request


Jose E. Alfaro
SIT Graduate Institute
PIM 70 / SLM

Proposal for Speaking Engagement

One King’s Mission
Featuring: Rev. William “King Mission” Ross

The world we live in is one that has undergone change on astronomical levels. The last decade has continued this change, but has done so with unprecedented advances in technology. As a result, it can be argued that the planet itself has shrunken to a point where the community must now be defined as humanity. With this said, I am proposing that the student body of SIT Graduate Institute invite Rev. William Ross (also known as King Mission) to share with us his experiences as he has extensive experience in working with street organizations, has created and manages nonprofit organizations that focus on cultural education, became ordained as an Afro-Cuban priest in Havana, Cuba and then as an interfaith minister here in the United States, and understands that all things are connected.

From the perspective of
Social Justice and International Education, Rev. Ross focuses on combating the criminalization of a generation. A known member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, he has taken his experiences and has focused his energies on providing educational resources for members of street organizations and young people as a whole. Through such mediums as the published work entitled "The Globalization of the ALKQN" and, Rev. Ross reaches a population that has grown to become an easy target for law enforcement to harass as well as non-affiliated citizens to wrongfully judge. Most recently Rev. Ross has lead the internal efforts against the recent actions of what we know now to be eleven misguided youths in the Bronx, NY where two allegedly homosexual individuals were tortured and beaten.

From the perspective of
Service Leadership and Management, Rev. Ross owns and operates several nonprofit organizations that rely solely on the contributions of its executive board and not government grants. Operating under the leadership model best described as "Servant Leadership", Rev. Ross
not only invites and inspires others to join the front lines; he actively exists there.

From the perspective of
Conflict Transformation, Rev. Ross has traveled overseas (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Puerto Rico, and The Dominican Republic) to address the issues of globalization as they relate to the culture we know as "Hip-Hop" and street politics organizations, and how issues such as immigration and social services play into the management of crime and violence, the practice of culture, and the
overall process of adolescence. Rev. Ross' also works with youth who are convinced that the only manner with which their voices can and would be heard would be through violence. This in turn allows him to transform conflict into consciousness and community empowerment.

In summation Rev. Ross’ work and experience is one that is diverse and touches on a number of fields that we here at SIT are studying. As a student, I’m sure that our body would be interested in seeing how our degrees can be intertwined and also practiced in a manner that not only serves our immediate community, but the international community at large.


Discourse Applicable:

Service Leadership and Management
Sustainable Development
Conflict Transformation
International Education
Social Justice

Date of Presentation:

Because Rev. Ross is booked for the remainder of this scholastic school year, he has propose that he present in the Spring II Session in February, as he has expressed that his availability will be more feasible. I also propose that the presentation take place after dinner to maximize student turnout.


Honorarium: $500

Flight: $300

Hotel (1 night): $150

Estimated Total: $950

Because “One King’s Mission” is a presentation that accommodates the interests of various focal groups and majors; I am request that the budgeted total costs be divided by sponsors at a $200 contribution from each community’s budget.

*All costs except honorarium are estimated costs and may vary from the time of acceptance of the above proposal as flight and hotel tickets may differ from month to month. Honorarium is also subject to negotiation.


The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation:

Despierta Boricua:

Levantate Latino:

Ministry Ashe:

Literature: Mission, K. (2009). The globalization of the alkqn. Arizona: Lulu.

November 16th Meeting Notes

Kristen, Annie, Ria, Tony, Maggie, Chomba, Catherine, Erin

Marto, Jess, Heidi, Jose, Alpha, Anita

Timekeeper: Chomba

Position Check-in:

  • No MAT representation currently. The MATs are struggling to find replacement representatives. Hopefully they'll figure it out by after Thanksgiving. Only four certs so it's difficult to find someone who wants to be.

  • SITSA will not meet next week.

  • Maggie's going to help fill-in with the Communications co-President position

  • Need to think about what our co-presidency positions are like, do we need to change, do more, do less.

  • Ria update: Erin Murphy returned receipts for $33, so it's taken out of our budget

  • Approved the money for Doris, but Donna would rather have it painted on a canvas. Doris doesn't want to do it on canvas. Ria will ask Doris to talk to Donna.

Funding Requests

  • Marto's request for Thanksgiving potluck dinner $200

  • Alpha: spoke with Veejay, he's willing to come and is available. Requesting $500

  • Jose: asking for $400 for speaker

Debrief of Town Hall

Heidi debriefed us about a student meeting with Adam Weinberg. Apparently Adam said his staff was going to be working with SITSA.

Jason suggested a fishbowl kind of.

Groups Formed:

Lauren Thrift – Communications

Kiera – Staff Support

Maggie's going to email the groups that were formed last night

The Direct action group is going to contact Josh from the press.

SITSA and SODEXO Meeting Notes

November 18th 2010 Meeting with Sodexo, SITSA, and Adminstration

In Attendance:

From SITSA: Maggie Dudley, Kristen French, Catherine Bogle, Annie Hostetter, Tonya Pence

Students: Anita, Heidi

Administration: Bob Sousy, Tony Draplick, Michael Smallis, Chris Clark

From Sodexo: John (Sodexo rep), Rob McFarland (area chef from burlington, all of new hampshire to the mass line)

Kristen: Can the students see a copy of the contract?

Bob: No but it covers managing the dining, housing and facilities services. Same rate of pay for employees and the equivalent in benefits. We retain rights to all the decisions regarding staffing, food sources, renovations. We paid a single fee. Legal has advised them to not show a copy of the contract

SITSA: accountability – who is Sodexo accountable to and who will make sure that World Learning and students will be involved in decisions which we retain rights to?

Bob: John will be reporting to Nancy, the CFO. John will be making recommendations. John will be listening for student needs

SITSA: If local farms (like the SIT farm) are not willing to sell, how can we assure the food will be local?

John: World learning will be purchasing and consuming the food, more local. Hampshire college does local food. Want to buy CSA shares from a local farm. Will buy excess produce from farms.

SITSA: If we moved to Sodexo out of a budgetary need, how does it work that we will still be eating local and organic without paying more? I understand that as a large corporation, Sodexo gets cheaper prices because of purchasing power so how does that help in a local food sense?

Bob: We have a fee contract.

John: In a situation where local is important we work on a fee. So sodexo does the cost appraisals for the institution but world learning has the purse strings.

Rob: Will use black river produce. The cost savings from sodexo comes in not from purchasing locally but from being able to negotiate for lower national costs.

SITSA: If this is a price difference, and everything is going to stay the same...

Bob: More than price, it's a service issue as well

Michael: the dean started all of this. He said that in other schools have larger consumption. He thought that Fitzvogt was not providing the best services but we just kept signing contracts with them without looking modernization. Variety of product, modernization. The campus community is larger than students. With Fitzvogt, we kept having to cut services. The facilities were not part of what they were initially looking at.

SITSA (Kristen): students are saying they're not concerned as much with quality, but with the business practices. Sodexo is more known for the bad business practices. We feel they don't represent the mission. Many of us are morally opposed to Sodexo.

Bob: Sodexo has taken steps to correct the wrongs that were brought up 7 years ago. They are trying. They have a pledge to reduce carbon, buying food locally. I think they've gotten it. We have general electric in every room on this campus. they have polluted a lot and aren't even trying to change. How is this different?

SITSA (Catherine): If you're excited about the changes, why wasn't it presented in a more positive manner? Why wasn't the whole process more transparent?

Bob: That was a mistake. It was handled extremely poorly. Sodexo has great track records with schools. The used to be in prisons but they got out of it 7 years ago.

Anita: on your website, the commitment to sustainability doesn't include fair trade.

Ray: It should be because Sodexo has their own fair trade coffee program. Esspreto. We have the only fair trade college campus in Oregon. Emma Willard trying to go fair trade, they have 260 students. Right now we buy equal exchange and they'll try to keep it.

John: We really bonded with Javier. We're going to get newer equipment for El cafe. I want to have you tell me how you want the program to be. I hopes to have a food committee. What products do we want, which farms do we want to buy from, etc.

Ray: For every award, we get slammed in a different ways. Seven years ago he was the chef on campus that did the presentation. Social implications, he didn't understand. Number 2 with latinos. We get hammered because we're the biggest.

SITSA: Accountability. As representatives of the student body, we take this very seriously. We're hearing words but we can't see the contract. We're invested with our dollars and we don't have any assurance that what you see is going to come to fruition. If we can't know that. We need a guiding document. As a public entity and as a

Can we get a document that shows us the rights that world learning retains. How are decisions going to be made? If you're so excited about this why can't we see the contract?

Bob: we can come up with a contract and world learning and sodexo. Needs to be a legal document. Michael wants to deliver a document. He's our advocate. May not be able to give us what we want.

Michael: The standards for Sodexo should not be more than what we have for other things about the school. There should be the same process for grievances that we have with everything else.

Heidi: levels of trust were already broken at the town hall meeting. Disconnect between what Adam Weinberg said and what the kitchen staff said. Why wouldn't that continue to happen?

John: wants everyone to forget about all of the problems. Variety increased, local food increased. As a human being he wants to put a smile on your face and that makes him happy. His job is to respond to student needs, he'll be on campus Monday thru Friday.

Heidi: I don't trust this.

John: I'm a human being. We're more than what you read on the internet. We're not an evil empire. The only way I keep my job is to do what you want.

Anita: what's the give and take with what we can get all year long?

Rob: we can't get things all year long. As a company we purchase food: Sysco, Performance Food and one more are distributors for us. We buy food from a lot of distributors. We don't buy produce from Sysco if we can help it. Avocado from Black river and Sysco are the same. Hates comment cards, he would prefer to have a Chef's table where he meets with students.

SITSA (Maggie): we have a current food committee, which we will be continuing. Keep in mind that El Cafe is a student initiated facility, everything that is there is there because students asked for it and worked for it keep it as student driven.

Michael: It comes down to trust. I'm worried but the minute something goes wrong, we're going to hear about it and that makes me worried. We want to build the trust back up. He wants us involved. This is a honest. He wants us involved. Bottom line is that Sodexo is here, what can we do to make it work from there? Work study students won't lose their jobs. We want to make this a seamless transition. He promises that he will answer to you.

Bob: sorry about the communication and the way this has been handled.

SITSA (Kristen): thanks for the apology, but the contract is important. I'm asking this because students want to see it. Why aren't you showing it to us?

John: the reality is that we don't always see these contracts in the larger world.

SITSA: We really want to see who retains the rights. That's the first contract, the other contract is about accountability. The financial part is only a part, it's the retaining the rights part.

Kristen: a brief run down of how upset the students are talking about the town hall meeting and the many levels of anger.

Anita: Regarding the exodus of students, some students would be willing to stay on campus if there is an option to opt out of the food purchasing. Is that a possibility. How feasible is that?

Michael: not an option. No budging. It's frustrating because I don't want to lose any students. Even though they're angry students have been very respectful.

Anita: the students who have made the decision to move off of campus would like to break the contract without the $450 fee.

Michael: it's kind of like breaking the lease. Finding it hard to believe that all the students researched the food service. Oops, eat my words. There was no breach, we didn't specify the food service in the contract. I get it.

SITSA (Maggie): The website needs to be changed ASAP for students who are currently looking at coming here. The capital contribution/investment/gift that Sodexo is giving, could you explain more?

Bob: Sodexo has agreed to fund $150,000 to use in any manner we would like. It's been our intention to engage the student body on how to use this money.

Michael: there are some areas in serious need of renovations. 3-5 year capital projects. I keep in mind that you'll always be here as part of the community. We're looking at areas but would like to look down the line. Residential.

SITSA (Maggie): is it structured like a loan or is it part of the bid?

Bob: It's a gift. But if we ask them to leave before five years we have to pay it back.

It's a five year contract but we can give a 60 day notice to leave, or Sodexo could give 60 days but if we break the contract in under 5 years we have to pay the $150,000 back.

Anita: what happens if people leave and don't pay?

Bob: you'd be hurting the local farmers.

Rob: hearing these things about Sodexo, I don't believe them. I'm anti-union because you shouldn't have to need a union. Sodexo fed the miners in chile. Rohini heads diversity. You can teach us as much as we can teach you. Will convey the message that Sodexo is still not doing the job.

Bob: my reputation is on the line. I started a socially responsible banking program that did microloans in Vermont. I deeply cares about the state, locally grown products, supporting small businesses, priority to women and minority owned businesses. My reputation is on the line and he doesn't want to risk it so I care about making this work with Sodexo

Heidi: similar assurances in the facilities and maintenance.

John: yes

Rob: greenware, those are going away because when greenware they now have petroleum products so they won't compost. So we want to do get green containers go to a token system for these to go containers.

SITSA (Maggie): if you're having a hard time finding green things, can there be a fleet of students that do approval etc.

Bob: yes

Rob: some comments about the unionizing at UVM . He's not sure if they're unionizing or what.

Catherine: in the second contract (the student written one), it needs to be enforceable. We need to give the students power to change things if they need to be changed. Legitimate power to change what's going on.

Rob: maybe I'm naïve but the accountability piece is so easy for me. Contract has to be a living document. This is a collaborative partnership between us and the students.

Rob: I would ask students to define local. And know the safety of our food sources. Use Annie from Black River to get more local foods.

Heidi: Is Cargill the beef purvayor?

Rob: I'll have to look.

SITSA (Maggie): can we assume local unless we're told?

John: yes

Rob: first choice for commodity foods is the farm center, then black river, then the big guys/

Michael: this dialogue is not done after this meetingthis is a continued dialogue.

Anita: commodity veggies, where do they come from?

Rob: as long as it's being grown, black river will try to get it local.

Anita: would like to maintain the pride and assurances that the food we're ingesting is not farmed ethically.

Rob: because of the mission of world learning. Partrick martin, rob met with him. Went to the field to fork meeting and felt like a leper, but felt great when Patrick said that in order for the slow food movement to survive, you have to get with big food producers like them (Sodexo). Slow food movement is important to me. Can't feed the country without conglomerates. We have a unique opportunity for the students to educate Sodexo, what if you forced Sodexo to change?

Bob: what you're hearing is a commitment to the mission.

SITSA: Need to come up with an accountability contract to give after thanksgiving.

Rob would like us to define sustainability and locality. And some specifics (blank % need to come from local food sources etc. ) be more aggressive and then have to renegotiate.

Bob will look at getting the sodexo contract without the finances. Bob will commit to

When can have the folks from corporate responsibility come and talk.

Anita: (gave some statistic about minorities in managerial positions at Sodexo, it was very low)

Rob: that's surprising, I'll look into that, it seems like that's untrue.

Questions for SODEXO Meeting


Dining Hall:

  • What will Sodexo do to ensure high quality meals for gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diners?

  • Will Sodexo commit to using menu/recipe suggestions from students?

  • Who is holding Sodexo accountable for the source of the food? - Food Committee?

  • How are local, organic and fair trade foods included in the contract?

  • What are Sodexo's plans for El Cafe? - in terms of products and developing the space?

Facilities/House Keeping:

  • What are Sodexo's plans for Facilities and House Keeping? - will they continue to use Green Products? (paper & cleaning)

  • Will Sodexo continue to use the composting system that is in place?


  • What are the terms of the contract? Can we see it/have it on file?

  • What control will World Learning maintain over staff's employment? benefits & salary...?

    • Is this different for Food Services vs Facilities? And if so…How?

  • We, as students, deserve transparency regarding the savings this contract provides SIT/World Learning, INCLUDING any bonuses or allotments resulting from signing of the contract

  • What are the conditions of the capital contribution?

    • Is it structured like a loan?

    • Is it a gift with no strings?

    • Does it extend the contract until paid off?

    • Does the gift interfere with our ability to remove them for not being able to deliver service/savings?

  • Who can we talk to if the Sodexho Managers are a poor fit (ie: abrasive, abusive, sexist, racist?) or if we notice things not being managed according to contract?

  • Can we put "commitment to all the SIT/World Learning Values (explicitly stated) in the contract? This point of service will use sustainable and green services whenever possible, if it is not a green option, an explicit supplier search much be conducted, and the product list must be approved by a fleet of SD students.

  • What are the aesthetic contributions Sodexo plans to make?

  • Will they be willing to use 'unbranded' uniforms and signage?

  • Can they make "Peoples History of the United States" or similar required reading for all management level employees? (srsly - its an customer interface thing - I met the new El Cafe Manager, and by golly wow, he's got some privilege to work through.)

For SIT:

  • Can students who remain on campus be given an option to not buy the meal plan?

    • Is there any way for students who remain on campus to be provided with a communal cooking area?

  • Can students who move off campus get out of their housing contract without paying the $450 fee?

If so….

  • How do we keep the ‘opt out’ option PERM for incoming students? It's important they have the ability to divorce themselves from financially contributing to Sodexo. This is a good step in moving forward to keep our historical memory more vibrant and current.

    • It's imperative current students do not fade away, while new students come into a situation left without nurture from the resistance we have started.

November 9, 2010 Meeting

Minutes from Meeting November 9, 2010

Members in Attendance:

Ria Shroff (ISAP), Kirstin French (January-Start PIMs), Tami Brunelle (MAT, Chamba Kaluba (C T), Erin Maslanik (SJ), Maggie Dudley (SLM), Annie Hostetter (SD).

Student Concerns about Sudexo

Approximately 20 students attended the meeting to hear information, presented by Tony Drapelick, and ask questions about the recent contract SIT signed with Sudexo.

From talking with numerous students since last week, Tony noticed there seems to be three major concerns:

  1. The surprise of the change and the fact that only small group of people knew about it.

  2. The fact that decisions are being made by small group of people.

  3. The choice of Sodexo itself ( who are contracted for food and facilities which includes grounds and housekeeping)

Tony provided some information about the current financial issue surrounding the decision to use Sodexo instead of resigning with from FITZ VOGT (FV), who has been the food service provider since the 1970s. Sodexo will begin as the provider at the end of the month as FV did not want to operate till the end of the current contract (which would have ended in Jan.)

Basically, there are fewer students which creates a loss in revenue which is a big deal for a small college. Last year there was a food deficit – because number enrolled and number living on campus is lower – and there needs to be a way to close deficit gap. Tony worked closely with Gene to close the complete deficit gap but could find no solutions. There is a need for financial viability and that is why there was the decision to sign with Sodexo, who will also provide SIT with some funding.

  • Currently there are 71 people living on campus 65 who are students (usually this number ranges from 90-100)

  • For the 2010 Fiscal year there was $32,000 operating cost loss: the projected loss for next year is $100,000.

  • SIT is only one of the four parts which make up World Learning (WL). Usually the institution draws from WL’s surplus; however those funds are needed to keep the overseas programs legally compliant.

  • There is real mandate for SIT to be self-sufficient.

  • Even though WL may utilize some of SIT’s resources, like the library, it is removed from SIT because it doesn’t use the physical campus.

Following his presentation, and prior to opening up the floor, SITSA member Kirsten explain to the group of students, that SITSA represents body therefore at this time member can facilitate the conversation but there are limitations as to how members can participate-perhaps leadership will emerge and determine what action will happen. Also she explained, that based on other issues that have been brought up on campus, it is important to remember this most recent issue is a symptom of a larger systematic issue.

Some of the issues brought forth during the open discussion were:

Funds, the money which is paid for food goes to food provider.

Housing money stays on campus-if housing drops that may cause a shift that housing may shift to Sodexho as well a food and facilities.

Transparency – with WL, faculty, administration, and students-Some students do not want those who are detached make decisions without including the voices of those who are effected. How do decisions match up with mission and new vision

Food/Facilities employees - benefits package of the facility workers, whose benefits might change or may be lost (-WL does have some control/not sure to what extent the benefits will be effected). To find out the information, perhaps facilities employees will know.

Food – what kind of food will now be provided- not what students paid for/with or without Sodexho,

Fairness – its not fair that those who live on campus have to pay for food services (should also be an issue to address)

Brain Storming Session

Clarity: be clear on what we, as students, are targeting and be aware of the side effects of our actions

Examine root causes/do not make rash decisions, see how we can resolve issues not just react

What can we do?

Boycott food – use petition that makes reasons explicit

Move off campus

Involve community and the press

If this isn’t what we want what are the alternatives

Organize appreciation for workers/support them so they fell recognized

Support staff in transition, a committee was formed to support staff, Erin Maslanik will start that committee.


Need for a plan- clearly define demands, and consequences

Form committees

Possibly a Sit in Adams office