By Mark McGuire
At the Diplomacy United Leadership and Communication Exchange’s (DULCE) November meeting, the organization’s first official town hall for the 2017-2018 academic year, the organization saw a large number of students come to address pressing questions and concerns of theirs.
At the meeting, students were able to address Student Government Association (SGA) Diplomacy Senators Jacob Abel and Efrain Vallejo, as well as Senior Associate Dean Courtney Smith.
The town hall began with Senators Abel and Vallejo’s remarks, who provided students with information about their efforts to keep true to their campaign promises. These promises included frequent attendance at DULCE meetings, which has helped the senators stay in contact with their Diplomacy constituents through active engagement.
The primary concern that the senators are working to solve is that of scheduling conflicts, which occur due to key language courses overlapping with students’ Diplomacy courses. The senators are addressing this issue by speaking not only with the deans at the school of diplomacy, but also with the deans of other schools.
Senior Associate Dean Courtney Smith urged students to direct concerns regarding the Modern Languages major to their Diplomacy advisors, as a number of students were not aware of the exact requirements for their plans. Noelle Sorich offered the suggestion that students check such requirements through Blackboard by accessing their specific university catalogue edition through the “U-Life” course tab.
Caroline Hall inquired about having diplomacy-related organizations represented at open houses to promote extracurricular opportunities more overtly. It was suggested that the Liaison Initiative could prove useful inpromoting this effort starting as early as next semester.
Senator Abel shared an encounter he had with a Board of Regents member who asked why more students did not come to large university events to see acclaimed speakers and professionals on Seton Hall’s campus. In light of this question, Senator Abel informally polled students in attendance with respect to what means of communication they find most effective. The leading answer in the poll was email, but more information will be gathered to better contact students.
Some students proposed using SGA as a conduit to share information about upcoming events across schools on campus to increase attendance. Others stated that peer advisors and DULCE itself have a valuable place in promoting events run by the School of Diplomacy. Still others stated their belief that flyers would be useful in such efforts.
Those present, including Dean Smith, emphasized the need to take RSVPs seriously, stating that there is no excuse to RSVP and not come to an event without emailing the event coordinator. Dean Smith emphasized that ensuring attendance confirmation is conducted in a professional manner is an important part of professional development.
The idea of providing incentives to students for participating in School of Diplomacy events was also broached. The variety of ideas expressed included the possibility of providing extra credit opportunities, to a complementary dinner with Dean Bartoli, to a point system similar to that of SHIPS for athletic events.
Suggestions were also made to mandate that Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society members have a minimum number of hours that they must spend mentoring. Other students expressed their belief that the Undergraduate Student Diplomacy Association (UDSA) would be better suited to this task.
The meeting was concluded with an update on the results of an interest poll that was conducted. Results showed that students wanted to host peacebuilding personnel on campus most of all among the listed poll choices. The idea of a joint DULCE-GDC effort to host a cocktail night featuring alumni also came up as a means of promoting a sense of community within the School of Diplomacy.