The State of the University Address, an event that was absent from the University for the past eight years, was reintroduced this year by the Fairfield University Student Association.
Although this event was advertised as the first annual address, according to the Feb. 9, 2011 issue of the The Mirror, the event was held annually prior to 2011. The address was required of the FUSA president according to the FUSA constitution, but former FUSA President Eddie Muniz ‘11 vetoed the requirement in 2011.
FUSA’s Constitutional Convention Committee chose to re-establish the tradition at Fairfield, believing that students should be educated by the organization that represents them, as FUSA is “for the students, by the students,” said FUSA President Zoë Ferranti ‘17.
Ferranti kicked off the night by educating the audience on the roles of each of FUSA’s boards, including the Council of Student Organizations, and branches, Judicial, Legislative and Executive. Additionally, Ferranti discussed the objectives accomplished recently and goals that they have for the future of the University.
As of 2016, COSO, provides funding for more than 104 clubs and organizations on campus.
Ferranti also discussed the Diversity and Inclusion Board, which was developed over the past summer.
In the past year, the Diversity and Inclusion Board helped write policies, such as a resolution that was passed by the Senate regarding feminine hygiene products and a resolution regarding the distribution of condoms.
Additionally, there will be open forums on national and University news, Ferranti added.
The Diversity and Inclusion Board will collaborate with the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs to launch a commuter meal plan and a library textbook borrowing program.
Part-time undergraduate student Andrew Schmidt commented that the new meal plan will be helpful because “as someone who was a commuter for five years … it makes my heart sing to know that we will be free of the mini fridge situation.”
In addition to the future of FUSA, Father Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. spoke about the future of the University as a whole.
In Fr. von Arx’s address to the student body, he discussed the ongoing Fairfield Rising campaign.
“It is our hope and expectation that this campaign will conclude sometime in the second semester or over this summer,” said Fr. von Arx. “We have every confidence that we will reach and exceed our fundraising goals.”
Fr. von Arx went on to address some of the ongoing and future projects of Fairfield Rising, including the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, the expansion on the Main Dining Hall and Oak Room, construction on the parking garage in front of the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Center and a new sophomore residence hall in the Quad. Additionally, there will be air conditioning in the residence halls in the Quad.
Despite the high costs of these renovations, according to Fr. von Arx, “We’ve also committed ourselves not to be raising undergraduate tuition beyond the cost of living for the foreseeable future.”
Fr. von Arx further discussed the expansion of the student body.
“We have been slowly, but surely growing enrollments at Fairfield University and as we look to the future, it is our plan to grow the undergraduate population from the present 3,750 to about 4,000,” said Fr. von Arx. “So we’ve been accepting new classes of about 1,000 each.”
On the topic of University expansion, Fr. von Arx went on to explain how “growth is also happening in our graduate and professional programs, especially in areas of continuing education, online education and new graduate programs.”