NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

Student Senate Square

Aug. 27, 2023 to Jan. 21, 2024
Areej Qamar
Graphic by Areej Qamar

Vol. C | Spring | Issue I

The Student Senate introduced second-year financial technology major Nahomy Zuniga as the new vice president of finance and third-year civil engineering major Larissa Cavalcante as the new vice president of administration.  

Towards the end of last semester, the Student Senate met with two candidates running for the mechanical engineering major representative, with third-year student Victoria Almeyda securing the role.  

The Senate also met with one new student organization on campus — Material Advantage of NJIT, Student Chapter — and one student organization revival — Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers — both being ultimately approved.  

Material Advantage of NJIT, Student Chapter plans to enhance education of materials sciences students and give better access to opportunities. It plans to host resume workshops, continuous technical presentations, and job fairs to help students secure co-ops and internships. 

The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers aims to support engineers and give them opportunities in industrial and system workplaces. This club already has 50% of industrial engineering students interested.  

Senate president Lauren Azer, fourth-year biomedical engineering major, spoke about four projects that are in the works. One is that Oak Hall is set to undergo renovations in Fall 2026. Additionally, the external affairs committee is working on a Free Legal Advice Initiative, which will grant access for students to legal advice covered by the school. The same committee is also working on discount cards to be given to students for local restaurants and businesses to encourage bringing aspects of Newark to campus. Finally, planning the annual concert is underway, and a teaser of the artists will be coming soon.  

Senate’s vice president of administration Macrina Makar, third-year biomedical engineering major, presented about the initiatives that she and her committee have been working on. The first is about the implementation of wellness days starting in Spring 2025. In addition, she and Dr. John Pelesko — provost and senior vice president for academic affairs — addressed co-op resolutions that carried from the previous academic year. The academic affairs committee received responses from students regarding academic advisors. Furthermore, the university is at full capacity regarding buildings and dormitories. One suggestion brought up was providing more online classes to make it easier for professors to offer them. Finally, there was discussion on professors and the university addressing artificial intelligence and having it taught in courses in the Ying Wu College of Computing.  

There were two senator reports presented in November; all three students involved serve as their respective major representatives. One was from third-year business and information systems Megha Saju; she met with information systems interim chair Dr. Michael Halper and associate chair for information systems Dr. Lin Lin on Nov. 9. The second was from second-year computer engineering major Natalia Peña and fourth-year electrical engineering major Max Polonet; they met with electrical and computer engineering chair Dr. Durga Misra, associate professor Dr. Xuan Liu, and the department’s curriculum coordinator Ryoko Mathes on Oct. 25.  

Saju mentioned that students were frustrated with over six information systems courses that had either one professor or one section available. There is also a new international business prerequisite course that will be added to the catalog. For human-computer interaction students, there are courses now available at NJIT instead of having to go through Rutgers University; Lin has the full list.  

Peña and Polonet covered topics relating their majors individually and together. They discussed the implementation of MATH 337: Linear Algebra in ECE 321: Random Signals and Noise. In addition, ECE 361: Electromagnetic Fields I and ECE 362: Electromagnetic Fields II will be merging into one course. For computer engineering, they covered that CS 116: Introduction to Computer Science II in C++ would be better served as an embedded engineering course. The computer architecture track is incomplete, and there isn’t enough faculty to fill the track at the moment. The course ECE 252: Microprocessors can lead into the track if done well; some of the material seems to be repeated among other courses, so there is room for further optimization. 

Vol. C | Fall | Issue IX

The Student Senate met with three candidates running for major representatives. Second-year general engineering student Anna Maria DeCicco became the representative for her major, and the mechanical engineering representative was tabled for further discussion.  

Two newly approved student organizations and one revived club also met with the Senate to discuss their progress: the Vietnamese Student Association, Hispanic Association of Computing College Students, and Aviation Club.  

The Vietnamese Student Association aims to bring rich Vietnamese cultures and traditions to students on campus. The Hispanic Association of Computing College Students has already collaborated with organizations for events like homecoming, galas, and many more; it aims to empower and represent Hispanic culture in the computing field. The Aviation Club was active until 2020 and still has top-of-the-line equipment, such as flight simulators, aerospace lab equipment, and hot air balloon access.  

There were two Senator Reports presented; one was from the senior class president Michael Schober, fourth-year history and law, technology, and culture major, and the other report was from third-year civil engineering major representative Larissa Cavalcante. 

Schober met with Margarita Morales, Alumni Engagement & Giving Associate Director, on Oct. 24. They discussed having the senior formal at The Art Factory in Paterson, New Jersey on April 26, 2024 at 7 p.m. The theme will likely revolve around the old aesthetic the location already offers.  

Cavalcante met with Dr. Taha Marhaba, Professor and Chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, on Oct. 26. There is a new minor available: climate change adaptation and resilience. Dr. Arjun Venkatesan is a new professor in the department teaching ENE 262: Introduction to Environmental Engineering in both undergraduate and graduate levels and is open to research water treatment.  

Based on feedback, Cavalcante will send weekly emails to highlight important department information and opportunities for students academically and professionally. She is planning to work with NJIT’s American Society of Civil Engineers to promote events. The department also needs more ambassadors, so she is working on offering volunteer opportunities to those who serve in this role.  

Cavalcante introduced the idea of bringing back a joint capstone option for architecture and civil engineering students; a formal proposal will be written and presented in the Spring semester. Alongside an alumnus and former major representative, she is also aiming to create a civil engineering student guide that would benefit incoming students. They are looking for students to assist in forming the document.  

Concerns regarding the course CE 320: Fluid Mechanics include that it follows a quiz-only structure and will continue to do so. Not enough students have dropped the class to increase the department’s consideration of changing the framework. Administration and alumni deem the syllabus as a positive pressure system on students, since the course is fundamental. 

Vol. C | Fall | Issue VIII

The Student Senate reviewed and discussed its new amendment to the student organization bylaws. Instead of a budget guaranteed to be given to New Student Organizations, it will have to be requested upon the club’s official establishment to then be approved by the student organization committee. In addition, the Senate has made amendments to the tiering system, which can be found in the updated bylaws.  

The Senate met with two New Student Organizations on campus, both of which were approved: The NJIT Skate Club and The Society of Hispanic and Latine Appreciation. The NJIT Skate Club is an already very active organization with at least 50 active members. It aims to collaborate with other organizations and even public safety to spread awareness and safety around skateboarding and also teach others how to and about skateboarding. The Society of Hispanic and Latina Appreciation aims to represent the culture and history of Latin America on campus. The representatives spoke about potential future events such as cooking nights, tabling, Spanish lessons, and a quinceañera.  

Tutors in Residence, a new initiative developed by the Student Affairs Committee, aims to provide tutoring after the Learning Center closes at 4:30 p.m. in the residence halls. On Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., the committee did a trial run in the Cypress Kitchen Lounge. About 30 students requested tutoring, and many more expressed interest in the program continuing during their time at NJIT. If you have any suggestions about this initiative, please email Vice President of Student Affairs Marina Samuel at [email protected] or stop by the Senate Office!  

Christina Ayoub, third-year biomedical engineering student and Senate major representative, presented her Senator Report covering her Sept. 26 meeting with Dr. Alev Erdi, Programs Director in the Biomedical Engineering Department, and Dr. Ashley MontJohnson, the department’s Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies. Both are advisors to students.  

For the course BME101, Introduction to Biomedical Engineering, Ayoub spoke with MontJohnson to add job and networking skills lessons as well as resume reviews. These changes aim to better equip undergraduates for future biomedical engineering careers and research opportunities.  

Ayoub also brought up the Biomedical Engineering Society, which was a very active club from 2017-2019. She contacted the previous president and is actively working with her to effectively bring back the club and advertise it to students. To have a centralized platform for fellow biomedical engineering students, Ayoub is currently working on creating a Discord server as a place for effective communication among students in the department. It will have information on clubs and events as well as a place for questions to be asked and answered among peers. 

Vol. C | Fall | Issue VII

The student affairs committee proposed a summit about upward mobility for minorities, which would feature Loida Lewis, Filipino-born American businesswoman, as a guest speaker. There are going to be panel discussions as well as collaborations among diversity organizations on campus. The proposal, which outlined the additional funds, was approved by the Senate, and will be taking place Nov. 7 from 5-9 p.m. in the Campus Center Atrium.  

Three major representative positions were secured. Second-year architecture student Shahd Ali Elsayed Ali, second-year computer science student Devon Wallerson, and third-year data science student Kamil Arif won their respective majors’ positions.  

Two additional senators were sworn in: third-year science, technology, and society major Justin Ferrao as the commuter representative and first-year biology major Miriam Basily as a first-year representative.  

Fatimah El-Belkasi, fourth-year forensic science major, presented her Senator Report as a major representative. She met with Dr. Wunmi Sadik, Chair in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences on Oct. 11. 

There was discussion on the grading structure of one of the major’s core courses, FRSC 201: Introduction to Forensic Science. 10% of a student’s grade relies on attending one of three conferences taking place in November, and students are not given any funds to offset the cost. Registration rates for these conferences begin at $50, if they’re a student member, and go until $260, if they’re a student non-member.  

The alternative to attending the conference is to watch and respond to a movie streaming on HBO. This requires students to either use a free trial period or purchase a month of its subscription. El-Belkasi and Sadik responded by proposing that students be notified of grants they can apply for to cover the costs within this course. In addition, they can work with the library on campus to make media such as documentaries more accessible.  

Another point of discussion was that the major’s digital track has a class, IT 400: Information Technology and the Law, that has been unavailable for several semesters. They proposed that students should be able to use IS 350: Computers, Society, and Ethics for this track.  

Lastly, they talked about wanting to make a student-driven Discord server for the chemistry department. This initiative is likely to involve input from other major representatives in the Chemistry and Environmental Science Department. 

Vol. C | Fall | Issue VI

Assistant Director of Student Life Krystal Aguilar spoke with the Student Senate on behalf of Student Life. They discussed miscommunication that occurred with clubs and organizations and attributed it to the quick turnaround within Student Life’s team; many of the team members were new, but they are ready to handle matters properly now. Various contracts and legalities shifted as well as organization registration rules and guidelines.  

The Senate met with four candidates for two vacant spots: commuter representative and architecture major representative. The former was given to Justin Ferrao, third-year science, technology, and society major, and the architecture major role was tabled for further discussion.  

Finally, the representative for Ying Wu College of Computing, second-year business information systems major Eric Huang, presented his Senator Report. He, along with third-year computer science student Ausberto Colon, met with Dr. Ali Mili, Interim Dean of the college; Dr. Brook Wu, Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Dr. Xiaoning Ding, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies.  

They discussed that many computer science students have faced major scheduling issues. One of which is that too many upper level classes are being scheduled at the same time, making it difficult for juniors and seniors to make a schedule, and potentially delaying graduation. Another point was that upper level electives are already very limited, and they are being scheduled at the same time.  

The university’s registrar doesn’t permit classes to be scheduled during common hours, which leads to making other times difficult to work with; three-hour classes are also heavily discouraged to take place before 6 p.m. Additionally, there are plans to increase electives and section availability. The group discussed the possibility of releasing which electives are available before scheduling starts officially.  

Students also expressed that for some computer science courses, number grades don’t matter, as only 20-30% of people can get As in them. Mili said that the letter grades are guidelines that apply meaning to grades.  

The following were some of the points discussed about specific classes:    

CS 100: Roadmap to Computing 

  • Large difficulty spike between CS 100 and CS 113: Introduction to Computer Science I
  • Exams are too easy; no Lockdown Browser; all multiple choice 
  • Credit By Exam (CBE) system for CS 100 is really frustrating for new students 
  • Only one date and in person exam, so out-of-state students can’t take it 
  • Possibly have a new placement test system or overhaul CBE? 
  • More CBE dates, maybe schedule CBE during orientation?

CS 280: Programming Language Concepts  

  • Only one professor teaches
  • Assignments and projects contradict the lectures due to an incomplete rework by the current professor and course coordinator 
  • Lots of self-learning due to this disconnect 
  • Has been like this for years 
  • Some auto-graded assignments don’t work 
  • Saturday commons often get scheduled on the same time as Saturday classes 

IS 218: Building Web Applications 

  • Only one professor teaches 
  • ChatGPT has been too ingrained in the class recently and affects class learning 
  • The professor is aware about it, but not much has happened yet

Vol. C | Fall | Issue V

The Senate held a meeting on Oct. 4 with Chief Diversity Officer Dr. David Jones regarding his plans for this year. One of the topics he covered was expanding on signature programs in the hopes that they become annual celebrations. He also aims to help NJIT become the premier polytechnic institution in the state and across the country.  

In order to accomplish this, he was able to open up three full-time positions in his office upon having his budget approved. Jones would also like to expand the committee formed to discuss matters and make formal recommendations to University President Dr. Teik Lim and Provost Dr. John Pelesko; this is to achieve the goal of advancing NJIT in equity and fairness as an institution — some student senators are already part of this initiative.  

Another one of Jones’ objectives is to establish an inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day of service program. This would entail day-long opportunities for service while using NJIT’s campus as well as other Newark landmarks; keynote speakers would be present, food would be served, and reflection and journaling events would take place. Jones emphasized that his office is open to everyone, and students are welcome to stop by for resources, learning experiences, or just a listening ear.  

As for upcoming events, the Senate will be hosting its annual Casino Night on Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 6 – 10 p.m. in the Campus Center Atrium. Students will be given free chips at the door and can play any of the various games. Chips can be traded into raffle ticket submissions, which Senate will use to select winners at the end of the night. There will also be food and music, so make sure to stop by and place your bets! 

Senate finalized its collaboration with the Art Club — Pumpkin Paint Night — which will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Center lobby area. Attendees will be able to make arts and crafts using pumpkins. Supplies are limited to those who stop by first, so make sure to come on time if you would like to secure your creative holiday decor essentials! 

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Senate will continue to table on Wednesdays throughout the month to sell pink merch and treats. The organization will donate the money made to support the cause.  

Senate continues to encourage students to fill out major representative vacancies forms and apply to become students-at-large if they would like to be more involved with the Senate.  

Vol. C | Fall | Issue IV

On the weekend of Sept. 22, the Senate and other University Serving Organizations attended their annual retreat in Frost Valley to network and get to know each other. They discussed collaboration efforts and participated in leadership workshops managed by Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Marybeth Boger and Student Life Director Michael Davis.  

New Student Organization, Organization Revival, and Organization Re-Tiering forms are now closed and will reopen in the Spring.   

Highlander Hub still has forms available for Senate Vacancy and Student at Large positions. This is an opportunity for students to get involved with the Senate and help bridge the gaps between students and the decisions that affect them.  

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Senate will be tabling throughout the month to sell pink merch and treats. They will donate the money made to support the cause.  

Fall 2023’s Feedback Fair will be taking place on Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 2:30 — 4 p.m. in Campus Center’s Ballroom B. This event is an opportunity for students to meet their representatives and provide any thoughts for the senators. Any comments are welcome, whether they be about academics, campus life, or any other part of the college experience. Pizza will be served as well, so be sure to stop by for a slice.  

Senate will be hosting its annual Casino Night on Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 6 – 10 p.m. in the Campus Center Atrium. Students will be given free chips at the door and can play any of the various games. Chips can be traded into raffle ticket submissions, which Senate will use to select winners at the end of the night. There will also be food and music, so make sure to stop by and place your bets! 

A Commuter Lunch will be taking place on Halloween — join fellow commuters and senators for a bite in the Senate Office on Oct. 31.  

Keep an eye out on the Senate Instagram for when Art Club and Senate will be hosting their Halloween-themed Paint Night. Attendees will be able to have some spooky treats as well as make arts and crafts using canvases and pumpkins. Supplies are limited to those who stop by first, so make sure to come on time if you would like to secure your creative holiday decor essentials!

 Vol. C | Fall | Issue III

The Senate is pleased to introduce four new and important roles to better serve the student body — webmaster, commuter representative, residence life representative, and Greek Life representative.  

The webmaster serves on the public relations committee. Their main purpose is to manage and update all of Senate’s technology, including physical devices such as office computers, tablets, monitors, and more. In addition, the webmaster communicates with NJIT’s Media & Technology Support Services to make sure events and meetings are properly functioning. The role also keeps the website and social media in check. 

Serving as the commuter representative means that they are a liaison between the commuter population and Senate. They are responsible for attending and hosting commuter-centered events and must meet biweekly with the Off Campus Commuter Association’s president.  

The residence life representative acts as a liaison between the resident population and Senate. This student must attend and host resident-centered events and meet biweekly with the Residence Hall Association’s president.  

Being the Greek Life representative requires the student to be informed on Greek Life organization finances. They are to organize events through the Senate in collaboration with Greek Life while acting as a liaison between both groups.  

The three representatives serve on the student affairs committee and must submit at least two senator reports to the Senate’s vice president of administration each semester; at least one of those must be presented in a general body meeting. All four roles require the student to provide updates for their respective committee chair on any goals they might have. If you are interested in running for any of the vacant positions or becoming a student-at-large, be sure to fill out the forms available on Highlander Hub. 

Vol. C | Fall | Issue II 

The Student Senate is the student government representing NJIT’s undergraduate population. Some of the group’s responsibilities include advising the operations of all Senate-recognized organizations, promoting and administrating activities affecting the student body, and providing students with information regarding policies and decisions impacting students. The Senate also advocates and defends the inherent rights and responsibilities of students consistent with the principles of academic freedom. If there is a matter that needs to be addressed on campus, the Senate is your go-to organization to highlight the issue and find ways to resolve it.  

To get involved, the group holds general body meetings every Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. during which members speak, fill any vacancies, and announce important information. The table below shows the seven primary committees along with their corresponding executive board members. Other events that will be coming up throughout the semester include a Casino Night, Commuter Lunch, and giveaways through the Senate’s Instagram account.  

Vol. C | Fall | Issue I

NJIT’s Student Senate is excited to welcome students and organizations back on campus for the 2023-2024 academic year! Here are some updates to keep in mind as we prepare for the semester.  

The first Club Cabinet is on Friday, Sept. 15 at 11:30 a.m. in Room 110 of the Central King Building (CKB), and two eboard members from each organization must attend the session. Senate’s director of student organizations and vice president of finance will be sharing important information regarding the student organization and finance by-laws. More details such as the location will be sent out through email in the next few weeks.  

If you would like your organization to be considered for a higher tier in the Spring, don’t forget to fill out the form on Highlander Hub by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24. Submitting the re-tiering form will have your club be evaluated on your progress during the Fall, and if it passes, you will be re-tiered in the Winter.  

Do you have a new club to form on campus? The New Student Organization form on Highlander Hub is open now until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24. Upon approval, clubs will be considered as active, and they will receive their budgets immediately.  

Is there a club NJIT had earlier but needs to bring it back for current students? Make sure to fill out the Club Revival form on Highlander Hub by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24. Like the last form, clubs will be considered as active upon approval, and they will receive their budgets immediately.  

Incoming students, you have the chance to be involved with the Senate as a first-year representative. In this role, the individual represents their class in their respective Student Senate committee and advise the Senate on how to address issues for first-year students. With the seven positions, each representative will be assigned one of the following committees: public relations, student organizations, finance, academic affairs, internal affairs, and external affairs. Students in this role must maintain and update records of all documents — senator reports, feedback forms, meeting minutes, transition packets, etc. — throughout the semester in their respective senator folders in the Student Senate shared Google Drive. Finally, the selected individuals will act as liaisons between their class, the Advising Success Center, and the Learning Communities. Election packets can be submitted anytime from 12 a.m. on Aug. 31 to 11:45 p.m. on Sept. 6 on Highlander Hub. Once campaign materials are approved and forms are submitted, candidates are able to start advertising their campaigns. The debates will take place on Friday, Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.  

There are still vacant positions as senators for the upcoming year. Check out one of the latest posts on Senate’s Instagram page to see which majors need representatives — there are about 30 majors available! Some include architecture, business, computer engineering, and forensic science. The engineering technology college representative position is also open. 

Stay connected with the Senate on Instagram, @njit_senate, and feel free to stop by the Senate Office located on the first floor of the Campus Center at any time with questions or to just say hello! 

This column is written in collaboration with Jonathan Ghaly, Student Senate Director of Public Relations.

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Yukthi Sangoi, Editor-in-Chief
Areej Qamar, Executive Editor
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