“The Devil is coming at us hard and the way that he tries to divide us is pitting us against each other,” said Kaitlyn Krikorian, newly elected Vice-President of Student Government. Matthew Middendorf, newly elected President, shares her sentiment. He decided to run for president when, in leading Neri Household, he saw “a lot of hurt within the student body.”
“The biggest two [issues] that we narrowed down were communication and community,” said Krikorian. “The staff, they work very hard all the time, and students work hard too but I hear them complaining about things not getting done, and I hear staff complaining about students complaining.” She believes that both students and staff are doing their best, “and if we kind of unify ourselves and talk about stuff, we’d be more on the same page.”
“[We have a] complete open slate,” said President Middendorf. “We have little to no oversight by administration, which really allows us to take ideas from the students and implement them.”
In the past, Student Government has been closely connected to university administration but is now a “semi-autonomous entity,” no longer answering directly to the administration.
When asked whether his job as a Resident Assistant trivializes Student Government’s newfound independence, Middendorf says, “As an RA, my number one responsibility is to be an advocate for the students…it is actually really beneficial that I’m an RA. It’s not necessarily that they come in conflict, but it’s almost a marriage between administration and the student body.”
If students are uncomfortable going to Middendorf as President since he is an RA, he suggests that they go to Krikorian, another member of the cabinet, or a representative with their issues.
Middendorf is obligated to answer directly to Jonathan Sperling, the Director of Residential Life, as an RA. The new student government’s primary responsibility is to the student body.
Middendorf and Krikorian invite the student body to become involved in Student Government as students or as official representatives. “They complain to their friends and just sit in that annoyance just waiting for something to be done. Don’t sit around. Don’t wait for someone to make your life better,” said Krikorian. “Speak up, talk to us.”
Middendorf wants to hold public monthly town-hall meetings as well as have bi-weekly proposals from students in order to streamline the bill-writing process. They intend to send out a regular newsletter informing the student body of what occurs during each of these meetings.
They also “want to establish a kind of a café area in Student Life, or a designated area where people can store food, come, cook…as a greater way of building community,” said Middendorf. Sprucing up the Perch garage is also part of their plan.
Gianna Allegretti has been appointed Event Coordinator. They plan to use the Event Coordinator committee to empower other student organizations in putting on more events.
The new Student Government does have a budget, but it has not yet been finalized. Middendorf has chosen Lucas Hamilton to be Treasurer.
Students who wish to represent their class or major are asked to send their declaration to run to firstname.lastname@example.org before April 30th. Representative Elections will occur on May 3rd. Those elected will hold office until the next presidential election in summer 2020.