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SAINT MARY’S STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT: Mitros, McIlduff lead in time of transition

Megan O'Neil | Sunday, December 11, 2005

When student body president Kellye Mitros and vice president Susan McIlduff stepped into office last spring, they came armed with the ideas and tools to lead at an institution in the midst of transition.

Mitros and McIlduff exerted their leadership early, modifying freshman orientation by having Student Government officers and residence advisors serve as counselors. Previously, counselors were selected through an application process. Mitros and McIlduff said the change links student government with new students.

“Since [student government representatives] are present at most events held on campus, this first year class has been able to keep in contact with their orientation counselors throughout the year,” Mitros and McIlduff said. “Our goal is that multiple mentor-mentee relationships will continue to be formed and retention among the Class of 2009 will be higher than in previous years.”

The pair has been committed to a campus-wide effort to improve recruiting techniques and increase enrollment numbers, an issue that appeared on their campaign platform in January. Last spring they appointed a student representative, Annie Davis, to the vice president for enrollment management search committee.

The committee eventually hired Dan Meyers to fill the position, and he began at Saint Mary’s in August.

McIlduff herself is a member of Volunteers in Support of Admission (VISA) and conducts tours and provides overnight visits for prospective students.

“It is essential for student government representatives to be involved in the admission process,” McIlduff said. “Student government representatives know the College’s schedule of events, since they are the ones who plan the events.”

Mitros and McIlduff watched another one of their campaign goals – strong student representation to the administration – become a reality during the Board of Trustees meeting during fall break. Eleven student government representatives sat in on various subcommittee sessions, including the college relations subcommittee and the committee on enrollment management.

Three students hold a vote, including Student Trustee Jill Vlasek, public relations commissioner Alanna Chiefari and alumnae commissioner Meghan Cassidy. The previous year there were eight student representatives and one student vote.

Mitros is also playing a role in the hiring of a third new administrator in two years at the College. She currently sits with the vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty search committee – the body that will name a successor to Pat White, who announced his retirement in August.

The president and vice president are successfully utilizing and contributing to the physical changes occurring on campus. Their administration is the first to make use of the new student government office located in the new student center, and the pair maintains extensive office hours and an open door policy to interact with students.

Additionally, McIlduff sits on the new academic building committee which began meetings this summer to pinpoint the needs of the College for a new building scheduled for completion by 2008.

“My role is to address the concerns of students such as a need for a commons area and 24-hour access to the building,” McIlduff said. “Last week, Kellye and I invited vice president of finance Laurie Stickelmeier to [Board of Governance] to give them an updated version of the building blueprints.”

The most creative idea that appeared on Mitros and McIlduff’s campaign platform – and what may ultimately define the success of their administration – is Heritage Week. Although it was not originally intended to replace the College’s annual Pride Week, an administrative decision to drop the week left a gaping hole in the Saint Mary’s calendar of events. Heritage Week, designed to highlight the history of the College and build school pride, could prove to be a successful supplement.

Mitros and McIlduff have spent months planning the week which is scheduled for the week of Jan. 23-27. A tentative calendar of events has already been set and includes presentations by College President Carol Mooney and other Saint Mary’s alumnae.

McIlduff said her detailed planning and Mitros’s knack for promoting things has made them a good team.

“As it turns out, we are the complements of each other,” she said. “I often come up with an idea and Kellye markets it to the College. It has been a rewarding experience.”

Mitros and McIlduff said they anxiously anticipate the promising future of the College, due to both the long-term goal of increased admissions and the promise of creating tradition through the upcoming Heritage Week.