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Last Semester's Alternative Plenary Space. Photo by Maxwell Cox

Spring Plenary 2020: The Layout of the Room

Last Plenary left many of those who attended with mixed feelings about the layout of the room. To accommodate the planned small group discussions, no bleachers were set up and 300 chairs were available for Students’ Council and Honor Council members leading the event and the students who arrived first. 

Otherwise, people milled about and tried to get comfortable sitting on the floor with friends while waiting to gather in circles with the others who drew the same group number. After hours of waiting, some people who had chairs switched to laying on the floor to better do homework in the absence of tables, leaving the coveted chairs empty. Meanwhile, other people grew stiff from sitting on the floor the whole time. 

More “typical” Plenary organizations with bleachers can be overwhelming and make participation feel inaccessible to some. However, sitting on the floor for an extended period while waiting to join a group of random people—that could perhaps make speaking feel more required—brought up other accessibility concerns. 

Students’ Council Co-Presidents Mariana Ramirez ‘20 and Katie Leiferman ‘20 explained to the Clerk what to expect the GIAC to look like for Spring Plenary tomorrow. They want to focus on “maximizing accessibility and engagement” with a more traditional set-up comprised of one set of bleachers and a semicircle of 300 chairs all facing the microphones. This is the same number of chairs as last semester and the maximum number available to rent for events on campus. 

Seats at tables used to be popular for people who wanted to study during the event but Ramirez’s and Leiferman’s goal to increase engagement and discourage tuning out the discussion means that tables will once again not be made available. A quieter room upstairs will still be offered as an alternative space, and the usual snacks, all-gender bathrooms, and club tabling will also be provided.

Like most past Plenaries, but unlike last semester, there will be resolutions to discuss. Check out The Clerk’s Pre-Plenary Rundown here to hear more about them. Students will vote on these resolutions as well as the ratification of the Honor Code and the Alcohol Policy. Plenary leaders also “are using the in-house speaker system as opposed to relying on Blast to cover the entirety of the GIAC,” which is new. 

Quorum is 66% of the students present on campus, so on behalf of The Clerk editorial board, we hope to see you there! Don’t hesitate to reach out to The Clerk with any article ideas or opinions in response to Plenary; we are always looking to be a space for furthering the campus discussion.

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