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Student leaders set goals for coming terms

Various organizations hope to strengthen communication with student body

<p>All the elected student leaders highlighted communication with various parts of the student body as priorities for their upcoming terms.</p>

All the elected student leaders highlighted communication with various parts of the student body as priorities for their upcoming terms.

Newly elected Student Council and Class Council leaders are setting their goals and agendas for their coming terms in office.

First-year Engineering student Ahmad Shawwal, the incumbent First Year Class president, was elected as Second Year Class President.

Shawwal said one of the major issues he will face next year will be the problem of communication as students leave the first year dorms.

“I think one of the biggest challenges for me is shifting how we spread the word to students because the first year, everybody is living in the first year houses and relatively condensed into the living spaces and so it’s very easy to spread the word,” Shawwal said.

Using social media will be an important tool for connecting classmates and getting people involved with events, Shawwal said.

Second-year College student Malcolm Stewart is returning to his role as the 2018 Class President and will lead the Third Year Council. He said he plans to make resources more accessible as third-year students begin to search for summer internships and jobs.

“For third-year students, it’s hitting us that we want to go into the job world at some point, so the big focuses for me are going to be on our academic and wellness committee,” Stewart said.

Stewart said the University’s alumni network will play an important role in making professional connections for students.

“One of the things I’d like to see is us working more with our alumni network … to bring more people who have already gone on to the professional world back here to talk to students who are going through what they went through a few years ago,” Stewart said.

Third-year Engineering student Patrick Rice will be representing the Class of 2017 for his first time as president. As Third Year Council vice president, Rice said he helped to successfully change the Third Year Council constitution in the spring elections and he hopes to update the Fourth Year Trustees’ constitution.

“I hope to accomplish the same with Trustees by reviewing the Trustees constitution, identifying laws that need to be updated, calling a constitutional convention to order and ultimately putting the amendment proposals forth to the class as another referendum next spring,” Rice said in an email statement. “This can help further uniformity in the way that all Class Councils operate and benefit future classes' Trustees.”

All newly-elected class council presidents took over their positions immediately after the election results were announced.

The newly-elected Student Council members, however, will not transition into their new roles until after Spring Break, incoming Student Council President and third-year Batten student Emily Lodge said.

"I'm hoping that it's going to be the week we get back from Spring Break," Lodge said. "If there's more logistics that we have to do then it will be the week after."

As Student Council president, Lodge said she hopes to empower students and give them more of a voice within the council.

"My big thing is really trying to empower the student voice, coming up with this infrastructure that’s able to track student concerns so that we’re able to stay accountable for addressing them," Lodge said.

Incoming Student Council Vice President of Administration Sarah Kenny, a second-year College student, said she also wants to more fully incorporate the student body into council proceedings.

"I want to start researching a polling app that would be free for all students to download," Kenny said. "With this app we would be able to send out little polls and surveys when we have our general body meetings or want a gauge on student opinion so we will be able to hopefully activate and understand the opinions of graduate students and people who don’t come to our meetings."

Newly-elected Student Council Vice President for Organization MacKenzie Hodgson, a second-year Engineering student, said she plans to further the council’s plan for greater outreach initiatives through the use of office hours.

"Instead of having a more 'come by if you have a problem' format, I’m trying to set up specific policy chats once a month, and each one is going to be targeted at a different genre of organization," Hodgson said.

Hodgson said she wants to engage with various religious, athletic and political organizations, among others.

"I’ll hope to have representatives from organizations in each category come and talk to me so I can understand what it’s like to be a part of each of those organizations,” she said.

With a year to leave their mark, Lodge said she and the rest of the newly elected members of the council hope to create an infrastructure which can be built upon in the years to come.

“Everyone’s a full-time student, everyone’s got a passion for addressing problems within the University, but finding the time to address all of the issues that we want to within a one year period I think is a bit of a challenge that we’re going to have to overcome." Lodge said. "I think if we really create an infrastructure that promotes us being effective and efficient I think then we’ll be good."