Constituent services to involve student input
John Cameron | Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Students with suggestions or complaints to improve campus life will soon have a designated student government committee tasked solely with fielding student feedback.
The Constituent Services committee will offer the campus a more direct line of communication to student government, student body president Pat McCormick said.
“The Constituent Services committee is hopefully going to function as the ‘front door’ to the student government office,” McCormick said. “Anyone who has a complaint, suggestion or criticism— they can take those and submit them online or in person to the chair, who will either work on them directly or distribute them to the right committee.”
McCormick said the new committee is built upon Whine Week, a weeklong event run by student body president emeritus Catherine Soler and vice president emeritus Andrew Bell. During the event, student government representatives stationed themselves around campus to collect student feedback.
“Our hope is that the Constituent Services committee will build upon Whine Week and make Whine Week every week,” McCormick said.
Freshman Heather Eaton, chair of the committee, said she hopes to implement “Whine Wednesdays” in the vein of Whine Week before the semester ends.
In addition to the online submission method, Whine Wednesdays will offer students a chance to present their concerns directly to student leaders.
“Similar to last administration’s Whine Week, Whine Wednesdays would occur once a month and would be a chance for students to talk to their senators and members of student government about things they would like to see changed at Notre Dame,” Eaton said.
Eaton said students would influence how the committee’s function takes shape.
“Since Constituent Services is a brand new committee, members and students will play a vital role in defining how we work and what projects we take on this year,” she said.
Eaton said the committee would consist of approximately 15 members, with up to five student senators. These committee members would focus on small-scale, everyday issues students are unsatisfied with, she said.
“We will find out what the day-to-day concerns of the students are and what they want changed,” Eaton said. “Examples of things we might address this year are pep rally reform, more points for Grab-N-Go and the marketing of the newly-returned quarter dogs.”
Eaton said the committee would make it easier for students to take advantage of student government’s ability to improve student life.
“Student government is a great organization with a lot of power to initiate change. We should never forget that we were chosen to serve the student body,” Eaton said. “Student input often gets lost in the vast operation that is student government, so having a committee dedicated solely to getting student feedback will make their voice that much louder.”