by Keenan Wostenberg
Student Government is moving forward with structural changes intended to improve the effectiveness of their interactions with the school. A separation from what is now called Resident Life will allow for more leeway with bills and an independent government that is working towards helping
When asked why these changes were caused, Neil McDonough, Vice President of Student Government, had this to say. “It felt like Student Government was a reporting service. It was if people wanted something changed we would just tell that to Student Life and they would tell that to the rest of the school and we had no presence with the staff of the school as the Student Government.”
The break between Student Life and Student Government happened after Student Government decided they wanted real responsibilities. Neil commented, “We really wanted to get more freedom, it really felt like we were working for student life as event organizers and student communication coordinators without getting paid and it felt unfair that we had this weird authority exercised over us.”
The split has allowed for Student Government to work towards these changes without having to push against Student Life. When asked about the break, Neil said, “Really when we looked for alternate ways for Student Government to interface with the school as a whole we didn’t talk to Student Life about it because they didn’t feel like the right people to come to with our problems.”
Student Government’s responsibilities are twofold, the Party Planning side and the Policy Change side. The Policy Change side involves the modification of the way things operate so that the student body can have a better-tailored set of rules and freedoms. They plan to change the way Student Congress meetings work as well, by turning these meetings into an open-forum in which students can start a dialogue with Student Government so their concerns can be realized.
The Party Planning side works to create unification within the student body by putting on events, such as Coffee House or the Halloween Party. Neil commented, “When you think of the school as a unified body, that comes from the events that happen. While they feel corny or cheesy, it’s the only time we really are all together and there is no real way to do that without someone pushing for that and that’s what Student Government does.”
Student Body President Grace Reding wanted to make a change for the better when she was elected. Neil said, “Grace wanted Student Government to not function as an office under Student Life and instead be a separate entity, one which represents the students the way a Student Government should.” She planned to implement changes at a structural level, meaning the Student Constitution would be changed to allow for student concerns to be met.
Policies have already begun to be put into place, and others in the process of being changed. Currently, the student dinners are under a very rigid timeframe that doesn’t allow for many choices. Now, Student Government plans to allow for longer amounts of time and a wider range of available windows for these dinners.
The Student Constitution has been worked on heavily by the Student Government and will be finished soon. Neil said, “The revisions are finished. They are just being sent to the Congress to look over and make sure they are agreed upon before it gets finalized.”