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In Focus: Student leaders overcome budget cuts to ‘ring in change’

Kelly Meehan | Friday, January 21, 2005

Saint Mary’s Board of Governance, led by student body president Sarah Catherine White and vice president Mary Pauline Moran, has kept its promise to “ring in change” despite the constraints of a campus-wide budget cut.

“We do not foresee the budget cut causing any difficulty in terms of student government funds,” Moran said. “Our treasurer, Molly Welton, has been diligent in making sure all of the [Student Government Association’s] allotted money is properly distributed to serve the entire student body.”

According to Welton, the budget cut has had a positive effect on student government. It has caused BOG to be more careful with the expenditure of funds, resulting in larger events, such as the Emerson Drive and Blessid Union of Souls concerts, rather than smaller, more frequent events.

“Because student government’s money comes directly from the $150 per student fee, we have refocused our goals so that we’re spending our money in ways that it will reach the most students on out campus, and so far I am really pleased with the results,” Welton said.

BOG is composed of 10 boards dealing with the areas of admissions, campus foods, alumnae, campus clubs, off-campus students, mission, public relations, technology, women’s issues and Holy Cross College.

When White and Moran were elected last spring, they promised to properly welcome College President Carol Mooney and oversee the completion and opening of Opus Hall, the new on-campus apartment complex and the new student center. They also pledged to provide an outlet for increased student volunteerism.

“This year student leaders are continuing to lead the student body down exciting new avenues. These women are in tune with campus life and are witnessing the progress of a more active student body,” White said.

Through cooperation amongst the entire Board of Governance and the student body, all three goals were successfully achieved.

Mooney was welcomed to the College through an event called “Dessert with Dr. Mooney,” jointly organized by BOG and the Residence Hall Association. During the program, each residence hall was able to share an evening of desserts and discussion with their new president.

BOG has worked to give students a commitment-free opportunity to give back to the South Bend Community through the creation of “Service Sundays.” BOG mission commissioner Mary Beth Swygart was the primary organizer of this monthly volunteer excursion to the Christ Child Center.

BOG has made old traditions new again through the reinstatement of the “Big Sis, Little Sis” program, which pairs each first year student with a sophomore.

As Saint Mary’s students anxiously await the tentatively scheduled March opening of the new student center, BOG is making plans to utilize it, as Women’s Issues commissioner Katie Kelly is co-coordinating the opening of a Women’s Center in the building.

BOG has worked diligently through Kelly and the Student Diversity Board to promote discussion about the definition of a Saint Mary’s woman by holding Identity Forums open to the entire student body to increase open and honest discussion.

Based on its success thus far, the BOG should continue to achieve its goals for the rest of its term.