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A&M interim president holds a town hall meeting

Published: Thursday, October 1, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

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Jeremy Northum

Executive Associate Vice President Lallah Howard, Student Body President Kolin Loveless, MSC Student Programs Director Sherry Wine, Vice President for Facilities Chuck Sippial, and Interim President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin answer questions regarding current issues facing the University Wednesday evening in Rudder Theater.

Interim President R. Bowen Loftin held a town hall meeting Wednesday to address concerns and issues of the University.

The town hall meeting consisted of a panel of speakers from various departments that helped clarify major changes happening at Texas A&M.

"We hope this meeting will help students understand the changes, as well as the reasons behind them," said MSC President Stephanie Burns.

Loftin spoke about Vision 2020 and the enrollment increase at the University.

"There are now more women than men at Texas A&M," he said.

The president also addressed concerns with the current flu season.

"We urge you to go and receive a flu shot from [Student] Health Services," Loftin said.

He encouraged students to practice safe sanitation procedures, such as washing hands thoroughly, not attending classes and organizations when ill, and receiving proper attention to their illness.

Loftin urged students to write to him about any issues and concerns they might have.

Student Body President Kolin Loveless spoke on the ongoing search for a new president and said that there will be meetings in the next week with the Board of Regents.

Loveless said a 10-year commemorative Bonfire Remembrance will occur at 8 p.m. on Nov. 17. The memorial service will honor the 12 students that lost their lives on Nov. 18, 1999.

The Military Walk, a traditional walkway for the Corps of Cadets and students alike, is currently nine percent complete, said Physical Plant Vice President Charles Sippial Jr. Other buildings that are under construction are the Emerging Technology and Economic Development Interdisciplinary Building, Agriculture Headquarters Building and the Ross Street extension and paving. There are plans for the restoration of the historic YMCA Building. Sippial presented plans for a Wellborn Road grade separation, which will allow A&M buses to go under Wellborn Road and stay away from the railroad tracks.

Another big project under consideration is the effects of the MSC renovation to Joe Routt Boulevard. Considerations include closing the north side of the street and opening the south side for vehicles, but another idea is to close the entire street.

"Safety is our No. 1 priority," said Sippial.

The MSC renovation was discussed by Sherry Wine, the director of the University Center.

"The renovation has been a team effort project and has touched every corner and stakeholder on this campus," Wine said.

Floor plans of the new MSC were shown, including various components that will be added. The lower floor of the MSC will have retail stores with talks of a computer-type establishment, such as an Apple store. There are talks about modernizing the recreational games, such as putting in new technological equipment.

On level one, they hope to put in "a Starbucks-type coffee shop as well as a 24-hour student lounge," Wine said. The building will be constructed to allow as much natural light in as possible.

Dining Services introduced many new options for students for the fall and upcoming spring semester.

"We have renovated various dining locations on campus such as Azimuth in the Architecture building, as well as established sidewalk cafes at Koldus and Rudder," said Lallah Howard, the vice president of business affairs. Sbisa Dining Hall has updated its menus to include stir fry, Vietnamese noodle bowls, a rotisserie oven and more healthy options.

"We will also be opening a late night coffee shop at the West Campus Library, hopefully, right before finals," Howard said.

The town hall meeting concluded with an open forum. Students asked questions concerning military walk and the Howdy portal. Questions from students who wrote to askthepresident@tamu.edu were answered in the meeting as well.

"We hope this type of meeting will help the University community communicate with us," Loftin said.

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