Story by Kenzie Wilson, The Saint Reporter
Photo courtesy of Josh Weiland
On Wednesday, November 11, Student Senate hosted the Fireside Chat, where President Juan Olivarez, Provost Gilda Gely, and Dean of Students Dr. Andrea Wirgau were seated in front of the student body in the Moose to discuss the new additions to Aquinas.
The brief meeting went over multiple new additions coming to Aquinas in the coming years. The 10-year plan involved the construction of the $4 million dollar chapel, Our Lady Seat Of Wisdom. Another project that will excite the scientists in our Aquinas community, is the expansion of Albertus Hall, doubling in size with more labs as well as study areas and classrooms, which is the next big project after the chapel.
The meeting also included the idea of eventually tearing down the houses to build more apartment-style housing, academic buildings, as well as green space due to the inefficiency and expense the current houses bring.
The Q&A session started shortly after the viewing of the floor plans for the additions to Albertus Hall, where students were given the opportunity to ask the three questions about what else is next for Aquinas. This lead to the topic of expanding majors, where Dr. Gely said, “we are constantly looking for programs to advance the college.”
After observing the racial slurs on a predominately white campus at Missouri University, one student asked about the effort for creating an inclusive community and what how important that is to the upper-level staff. In response to that, President Olivarez stated that it is very important to the Aquinas community and staffs to create an environment that strongly values diversity and inclusion, and that they are constantly thinking about minority students and making sure they feel heard and respected.
Another hot topic that was brought up was It’s On Us week, a national program Aquinas adopted just this year to draw attention to sexual assault that allowed students faculty and members of the community to sign the pledge to end sexual assault. In response to a student question on whether Dr. Wirgau thought it was making an impact and if they were receiving the support they wanted, she strongly stated, “Yes,” at which point Dr. Wirgau along with the students in attendance encouraged President Olivarez and Dr. Gely to sign the pledge.