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Soler, Bell take office Thursday; look forward to goals for 2010-2011 school year

Sarah Mervosh | Wednesday, March 31, 2010

As sophomore Catherine Soler looks forward to her term as student body president, which will begin Thursday, she said community relations would be a priority for her administration.

“A main goal of ours is for students to feel compelled to go into the community, feel safe while they’re there and also give a lot to South Bend, but also get a lot out of being an active member of the community,” Soler said.

Student body vice president-elect Andrew Bell said strengthening relations between the University and the community will be a mutually beneficial relationship.

“Not only will we benefit from a positive relationship with the community, but it’s better for both sides if we work together,” he said. “They are the people that surround us. No one wants to stay on campus and the community members don’t want to avoid students.”

To fulfill this goal, Soler said she would work for the continuation of Transpo and hopes to get a traffic light installed at the intersection of Twyckenham Drive and Vaness Street, which is highly traveled by students.

“We are also looking forward to continuing the focus on students taking care of themselves when they are out in the community, being respectful and also being aware of their surroundings,” Soler said. “We’ve seen a lot of success in terms of off-campus safety and we want to continue along that line.”

Bell said they have also explored the idea of students obtaining class credit through involvement in the community.

“You will advance your education while becoming directly immersed in the community,” he said. “We think that’s a really great way to become involved.”

For the remainder of the current school year, Soler said she would also pursue a textbook rental system that was part of her platform.

“We really are pushing for the rental textbook system to come about in the fall,” she said. “We’re working with the bookstore as well as business operations. We’re in the beginning stages.”

Soler also said she plans to host April Awareness Month, a new campaign in which student government will raise awareness for various charities, fundraisers and service opportunities.

April Awareness Month will be a way to combine their passion for service and student government, Soler said.

Events will include Communiversity Day, a student government Relay for Life team and The Bald and The Beautiful, an event where students will cut their hair to benefit childhood cancer research.

“We’re both participating,” said Soler, who will cut eight inches off her hair, while Bell will shave his head.

Bell said April Awareness Month is also a way to connect with the student body.

“It’s reflective of the fact that we represent a very service-oriented student body,” he said. “We are entering into a climate where service is very important so this is just a result of that.”

Soler and Bell said they are grateful for the opportunity to serve the student body and look forward to working with students to enhance the Notre Dame experience.

“We’re more energized than ever,” Soler said.