By Tyler Kennedy
Staying true to the remarks he made at the end of last semester, Student Body President Cameron Cook spent much of the summer in the Durham area. A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Cook worked roughly 40 hours a week doing business related to his position along with Ryan Grogan, who serves as his vice president.
On Aug. 31, Cook sent out an email to the student body detailing all the updates that occurred to the university during the summer months.
“One thing I have done is that I decided early on that I wanted to get involved with town affairs, which is something that student senate hasn’t had in a while,” Cook said.
After meeting with Todd Selig, who serves as town administrator for Durham, Cook was encouraged to join the Durham Energy Committee.
From there he learned about the plans to create a charging station for electric cars in the Pettee Brook parking lot.
“The logic behind that is twofold,” Cook said. “One, because UNH is working to become more a more energy-efficient and sustainable campus, the town figured there would be interest on the UNH side of getting something like this so we could encourage more students to use electric cars…
“On the other side, the town is more interested because there’s a bunch of residents in the town of Durham who use electric cars,” he added.
The station, which opens on Sept. 20, was a project that the university worked closely with the town to develop.
“It’s basically a 50/50 project. The town of Durham is paying for half and UNH is paying for half. We also got a grant to cover some of the difference from the state,” Cook said.
The logistics are still being configured, but Cook was clear and upfront about his wish to make the charging station free for students.
“I really want to make this a free service. At the minimum, it will be a discount. I will guarantee you that,” he said.
“I’m very excited about this because I’m very big into energy efficiency and seeing UNH become more efficient as a whole,” Cook said. “I know this is a good step forward.”
On the topic of ‘going green’, Cook also made notice of his and Grogan’s potential plans to increase bike lanes throughout both campus and the town of Durham.
“ I just want to see a continued new effort to see more biking on campus. Especially with how many more non-resident students are moving into town and these off-campus apartments,” he said.
During the summer months, Cook made a habit of walking around town before dinner to see new updates on the construction throughout Durham.
“Some of the projects went really well, really efficiently, and were completed on time,” he said.
He is aware of some complaints, especially in regards to the new Orion apartment complex among other locations.
“When I was reading a report from the town of Durham a week ago, there were still 11 students who had been displaced because their complexes just weren’t finished yet, which disappoints me,” Cook said.
“I know University Edge is compensating them for that…which in reality is putting a band-aid on a wound, in my opinion. To my understanding, those updates that will need to happen for those students to move in will be done within the next week or two,” he said.
In regards to the renovation of Holloway Commons, Cook maintains that the project is currently still on schedule for completion in January.
“I’m very excited to see it expand, and I think it’s becoming a crown jewel on campus,” Cook said.
Cook also discussed how the student activity fee will be increased starting next year to pay for the expansions to the Hamel Recreation Center. Within the next month or so, Cook and Grogan plan to pass a new resolution that sets the exact number that next year’s students will be paying. According to Cook, students can expect the increase to be around $200 a semester.
Not mentioned in the email sent out by Cook was the newly- formed ‘Professional Success Strategic Planning Task Force’. According to Cook, it was formed with the goal to completely revamp the way UNH deals with professional success, or what used to be known as career services.
“It’s a renewed effort to make UNH a leader in helping to develop students in a way that they can come out (of college) and get a job,” he said.
Cook also expressed that there will be an effort made by all of student government to have a complete examination of the Students Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities document.
“There are policies in there that be to be recodified, and in general, we feel we need to revamp the document and make it more student readable,” Cook said.
You can expect more from Cook on these matters as the semester goes on. He is readily available at his office in the MUB or by email.