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Chesley, Smith work to be ‘voice’ of student body

Ashley Charnley | Friday, December 10, 2010

Student body president Rachael Chesley and student body vice president Laura Smith set lofty goals when they took office on April 1, and as the first semester of their term come to a close, they are on the right track.

When they entered office in April, they wanted to “be a visible and involved voice for the students,” Chesley said in an interview last spring.

Since they entered office, Chesley and Smith extended student center hours, defended the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s co-exchange program which allows Saint Mary’s students to eat at Notre Dame dining halls, started renovating the Le Mans Hall basement and worked for students discounts at off-campus venues as well.

It is clear that Chesley and Smith have been working hard to make this year’s student government as effective and efficient as possible.

In addition to the changes they are making around campus, they also changed the internal structure of the Student Government Association (SGA). SGA meetings that used to be devoted solely to giving funds to clubs and organizations now include campus issues.

In order to do this, Chesley and Smith launched a Finance Committee that oversees funds so SGA can focus on other things.

This has been one of the smoothest and most productive years for student government at Saint Mary’s. In the past four years, students have asked for extended Student Center hours, printers in the dorms, a new space for students to spend time and off-campus discounts. Chesley and Smith have solved or addressed all of these issues, and it is only the end of the first semester.

The Student Center is now open until midnight during the week and Le Mans Hall basement will be a new place for students to relax and spend time by the end of spring break next semester.

“We will reach out to [the student body], and we want [them] to reach out to us and all of SGA,” Chesley said in an interview at the beginning of their term. “We have open minds that are ready for your thoughts and ideas.”

The only setback to their success so far is the same issue that has been facing student government for many years: student feedback. While this year’s SGA is far more transparent then it has been in the past, attempts at open forums and seeking suggestions has seen little response.

Chesley and Smith said they want to be the “voice of Saint Mary’s” and they have done their best to push for the changes SGA has set out to do for the past many years, but they have still struggled to get students involved with their government.

 

Grade: A-

Chesley and Smith have proven that the student body can be confident that its needs will be addressed. However, the duo still has a lot to accomplish. They have started many initiatives, which have yet to be proven successful. Considering they are competing with a short time frame and a somewhat apathetic student body, they have put forth a good effort so far.