Image courtesy of Plymouth State Student Senate


James Kelly


Managing Editor


The Plymouth State Student Senate’s April fools meeting came complete with a 10-hour agenda and adjournment prohibition, but one thing was no joke: solar eclipse safety. 

Students can pick up free eclipse glasses at the HUB on Thursday and Friday, Provost Nathaniel Bowditch said. Viewing an eclipse outside of totality “will instantly cause severe eye injury,” according to NASA. Plymouth will see the eclipse with 98.1% totality at approximately 3:30 pm on Monday, April 8, according to Eclipse 2024.

Parts of Northern New Hampshire will be in the path of totality, meaning the moon will appear to completely cover the surface of the sun. Still, Bowditch encouraged students to stay on campus to take advantage of events and avoid traffic. “[Interstate] 93 is going to be a nightmare,” he warned. “98% is good enough for me,” Student Body President Devonte Gilmore said.

PSU will host eclipse activities on campus, including special solar-filtered telescopes. “There’s going to be all kinds of stuff on campus,” Bowditch said. “There will be things you can do here that you can’t do elsewhere.” PSSS is likely to cancel April 8’s meeting for the eclipse, Speaker Will Loughlin said.

Students involved in the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project will collect atmospheric data for NASA during the eclipse, USSB Representative Jonah Rosenberg said. “We’ll be leading the way in understanding what’s happening in the atmosphere before, during, and after the eclipse.”

Bowditch also updated PSSS on Resolution #7, which PSSS passed in February. The resolution (Amendment 2324.7, Minimum Publishing Date for Courses Hosted on Learning Management Systems) encourages PSU administrators to adopt a policy to mandate professors post class information on Canvas before classes begin, including classmates and course material like syllabi. 

The resolution went to the PSU Academic Affairs Committee, who were receptive to the policy but said there were logistical issues. There is a significant difference between posting syllabi and a semester’s worth of material, Bowditch said. “I think the faculty are generally open to figuring out a way to respond to the student concern, but the way the resolution was worded might not have worked.” Still, the Academic Affairs Committee wants to work on a compromise. “It would be much better if we create policy collectively,” Bowditch said. “Collaboration is the way to move forward.”

With the final PSSS meeting on April 15 fast approaching, PSSS reviewed ways they could improve the Senate next year. Vice Speaker Christyan Cimino recommended more team bonding exercises. Class of 2027 Treasurer Skylar Hammes suggested a PSSS newsletter and a more thorough overview of the resolution process to educate people on the Student Senate’s procedural politics.

Loughlin is working on a way to get students academic credit for PSSS membership. “It’s hard to… incentivize students to get involved in Student Senate,” he said. Bowditch supported the idea. “This is the spirit of who we are,” he said. To get credit, PSSS would need to demonstrate that participation leads to “learning outcomes,” criteria that come from the New England Commission of Higher Education, PSU’s accreditor. 

“There has to be some academic outcome: something that you’re going to learn from the experience, and something that we can evaluate,” Bowditch said. “It’s a pretty basic requirement, but it’s fundamental to what we are as a university.”

Gilmore described, in limited detail, an ongoing conduct issue within Residential Life. The issue centers around “the treatment of students from certain staff in Residential Life,” he said. “This is an issue that I have been dealing with for as long as I’ve been in the Senate.” Gilmore indicated that he does not know the identities of the parties implicated. Gilmore has discussed these issues with administrators before but without any resolution. “I have taken the proper avenues… [but] you can only ask so many times before it becomes just blatant disregard for the feedback,” he said.

PSSS meets on Mondays at 7:00 pm in the HUB Student Senate Room. Their meetings are also live-streamed on Zoom.