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May 11, 2018

Student Senate Maraki Tihtina (4)


Student Senate held an open meeting April 25 on the first floor of the Academic Center to discuss the Vitality Initiative.

Photo by Maraki Tihtina


Student Senate Learns about, Discusses Vitality Initiative at Open Meeting 


Kelleen Cullison


The Student Senate held an open meeting April 25 at 8 p.m. on the first floor of the Academic Center and began their meeting with discussion about the Vitality Initiative, a three-committee project formed to lead the direction of future Manchester University spending.            

The three groups—the Academic Committee, Co-curricular Committee, and Steering Committee—are charged with saving the University $1.5 million in the coming three years. Representatives from each committee were present at the Senate meeting to answer any questions from the student representatives, although the project is only in its initial stages.

The Academic Committee, comprised of faculty from each undergraduate college and a student representative, will strive to save $400,000 from the collective department budget. “Right now, we’re refining the criteria for evaluating programs,” said Professor of Business David McGrady, the Academic Committee representative at the Senate meeting. The criteria, once defined, will be the measure by which each academic unit is evaluated, and from there, the task force will make recommendations as to how they believe the university should move forward.

Alexis Young, new Senior Director of Auxiliary Services, was present as a staff representative of the Co-Curricular Committee, along with student Senator Tabitha Lanning. The Co-Curricular Committee includes all aspects of campus life outside of academics, from athletics programs to printing services, and are looking to save 1.1 million dollars over the next three years.

Both the Academic and Co-Curricular Committees, referred to as Task Forces, will give recommendations to the Steering Committee, represented by student Senator Carson Fort, which will serve as a go between the committees and the Board of Trustees. President McFadden is a member of the Steering Committee.

The representatives spoke highly of McFadden’s outlook on the project. “We have a president who has made this a participative project,” McGrady said.

According to Senate President Tate Wooding, the Task Forces were developed to “change ways of looking at institutional processes [on campus.]”

McGrady’s description suggested the Board of Trustees were looking for a “cash cushion” to prepare the university in case economic hardship were to befall the pharmacy sector, as the Manchester Pharmacy Program subsidizes the main campus.

A budget cushion would protect the university in such a case. “We don’t anticipate problems with the program,” wrote President Dave McFadden in an email, “but we are always on the lookout for potential vulnerabilities.”

The school is not currently in financial strains. McGrady stressed that the Task Forces were an effort on the part of the Board of Trustees to be proactive and noted that the 1.5 million dollars that they are to save constitutes only 5% of what the school spent last year. “This is for the long-term viability of the institution,” McGrady said.

Young was focused on how to best contact students in the event the committees wish to seek feedback. The committees will continue to be in contact with the student senators and will maintain the reports sent to the student body through Dave’s updates, sent through email every Friday. The representatives encourage inquiries, contacting student senators or sending questions directly to vitality@manchester.edu .