A VSG resolution passed January 16 aims to give Vanderbilt’s international students a louder voice on campus. International students make up about 9% of the undergraduate student population, but their concerns often go unheard, Speaker of the House Sean Swinford said.
The bill, proposed by Moore College Senator Syed Rahman and Swinford, expands the VSG Community Building, Outreach, and Diversity Committee (CBOD) to explicitly encompass international student concerns.
The committee, renamed the Community Building, International Outreach, and Diversity Committee (CBIOD), will provide a hub of communication and support to organizations representing international student interests, like the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Advisory Board, Vanderbilt International Student Association (VISA), and the International Student Council (ISC).
CBIOD will meet with these organizations each month and bring their concerns to administration. The new structure will prevent redundant initiatives so that no resources are wasted, Rahman said.
Syed originally proposed a bill to create a separate committee to address international student concerns. The bill died in the Senate, but Syed’s efforts still had positive results.
“We realized out of this discussion that VSG didn’t do enough to address the concerns of international students. While we didn’t think that creating a committee by itself was the correct solution, we did realize that (Syed) had pointed us in the direction of a problem we definitely needed to address,” Swinford said.
Syed redrafted the resolution to address international student concerns through the already existing CBOD committee, and the resolution passed unanimously.
The bill is less than a month old, but its effects have already begun to show.
“I can already see how the changes in that bill are already helping us international students serve the rest of the international student community,” VISA President Iriza Baranyanka said.