Hoffman, Griffin bring transparency to administration
Ashley Charnley | Thursday, December 10, 2009
Jenny Hoffman, student body president, and Meg Griffin, student body vice president, set the goal of transparency at the beginning of their term back in April 2009.
The duo has succeeded in implementing some of their specific goals, like adding printers to the Student Center and residence halls and extending campus facilities’ operating hours, but their continued and focused efforts are geared toward making their offices more accessible and reconnecting to the student body. Though there is still a long way to go, their progress is respectable.
The Saint Mary’s student body is at times reluctant in offering feedback, and Hoffman and Griffin need to work to get their constituents involved in Student Government Association (SGA) events.
The pair has planned several events — a major priority of their administration — but Griffin said they want to be more than an “event planning service” on campus, and they are working to listen to the desires of the student body.
Griffin said they have tried to stay focused on the wants of the students and look at their requests frequently, one of their campaign promises. The SGA and the student body have trouble communicating and the administration is not ignoring the problem.
Students asked for more all-campus events, so Hoffman and Griffin reinstated the Navy Dance as well as planning a service trip to Wabash College earlier in the semester. Both of which, Hoffman said, were a great success.
The two have also started a Facebook page for SGA to provide an open forum for students.
Most of the work Hoffman and Griffin have been doing is very much behind the scenes.
Griffin said they are trying hard to work out the issues with passing resolutions and different policies to help clear the way for the next semester.
This year, Hoffman and Griffin eliminated the old Board of Governance (BOG), which served as the ruling body and renamed it the SGA in effort to make student government less confusing for students.
Another goal of the administration is to smooth the process of passing resolutions and allotments on the College campus.
Other internal issues the two have focused on include balancing the workloads of individual commissioners and the sponsorship process, strengthening restrictions.
The pair should be applauded for its new focus on community relations, something previous administrations have neglected. They are working to make connections with the South Bend community and organize service projects that will take students off campus.
Hoffman said she believes the South Bend community has positively affected the women of Saint Mary’s, and the administration would like to support the relationship. SGA has organized events with the Center for the Homeless to help improve the College’s reputation in the area and bring the communities closer together.
Hoffman and Griffin also said they have been trying to have a more active voice within the College’s administration, effectively communicating students’ needs. Hopefully they continue to pay attention to the desires of the student body as successfully as they have so far.
Overall, Hoffman and Griffin are a far cry from administrations past that lost students’ trust. They work to listen to students and try to be as approachable as possible, refreshing changes in student leadership. They work hard and have a respectable level of follow through.
Hoffman and Griffin entered their positions with the challenge of reconnecting students with student government. They have been consistent in working to smooth out the inner workings of their office, as well as creating open forums with the student body. While there is always room for improvement when it comes to involvement with the student body, the pair has gotten creative in ways to connect with the students. Both are approachable and have answered student demands in some form since they took office in April. They deserve credit for how successfully and efficiently they have improved the image of student government while still in the middle of their term.