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Committee chairs, chief assistant named

Claire Reising | Thursday, April 3, 2008

The new student senators and executive council took office Wednesday at the first meeting of student body president Bob Reish and vice president Grant Schmidt’s term, and created two ad hoc committees designed to improve communication between Student Government and other organizations on campus.

Reish and Schmidt were sworn into office, and junior Karen Koski will serve as the Chief Executive Assistant.

Reish issued executive orders creating ad hoc committees on Student Outreach and Campus Technology to address problems on campus. The Student Outreach Committee, a part of Reish and Schmidt’s platform, will enable the student body to give feedback to the Senate and suggest future initiatives through a survey issued each semester.

“During the course of our campaign, Grant and I realized that there’s definitely a gap that we thought we could bridge between students and the administration, more importantly between students and student government,” Reish said. “We’re hoping that through this committee, we’ll be able to get more of a sense of what students want to be working on.”

Because of the range of technology-related issues discussed this past term, the Campus Technology Committee will improve communication between the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) and Student Government and allow all technological issues to be concentrated within one committee.

Reish and Schmidt also appointed new committee chairs.

McGlinn sophmore Sarah Rodts was approved as chair of the Student Outreach Committee, and junior Devin Fee, from Stanford, will head Campus Technologies.

The Senate also unanimously approved the nominated chairs for the already existing committees.

Ryan Brellenthin, a sophomore in Stanford, will be the new Academic Affairs chair. He served on the committee last term and said this term’s agenda will include planning Majors Night and making more business courses available to non-business students.

Gus Gari, last term’s Keenan Hall senator, will serve as chair of the Community Relations Committee and plans to address the use of Domer Dollars off-campus and problems with taxi services during the term.

Keough sophomore Patrick Tighe will remain the co-chair of the Gender Issues Committee, and Lauren Cummings, a junior in Cavanaugh, will also serve as co-chair when she returns from London. In addition to the annual Health and Body Image Conference, Tighe said the committee also plans to look into policy that affects gender relations, such as the double-standard between men and women regarding dorm parties. He also wants to address the addition of sexual orientation to Notre Dame’s non-discrimination clause.

“Our community needs to figure out a way that we can make this issue and maybe present to the university that there is discrimination going on based on sexual orientation, instead of just letting this be a nice tradition that we pass this resolution and nothing ever happens,” Tighe said.

Ian Secviar, a sophomore in Knott, will continue to serve as Oversight Committee Chair and said he plans to concentrate on increasing efficiency in student government.

Cavanaugh sophomore Joy Hwang will lead the Residential Life Committee and said she will pursue free DVD rentals in The Huddle, better water quality in the Rockne Center and better workout facilities. Hwang said that when she looked at Princeton Review Rankings, she was disappointed that Notre Dame did not rank No. 1 for “Happiest Students.”

“ND was only No. 20 for happiest students, and that makes me wonder why we aren’t No. 1,” she said. “I feel like next year, I want to try to get us up there to No. 1.”

Cavanaugh junior Michelle Byrne will head the Social Concerns Committee. Byrnes said she will continue last year’s initiatives, as well as strengthen Senate’s relationship with the Center for Social Concerns.

Ashley Wright, a junior from Lewis Hall, will chair the University Affairs Community when she returns from studying abroad in London. She has previously served on the University Affairs and Community Relations committees.

Besides installing new leaders, the Senate approved resolutions awarding Liz Brown, Maris Braun and Sheena Plamoottil for their work as student body president, vice president and chief executive assistant, respectively.