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Coccia, Joyce share vision for next year

John Cameron | Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One day after finding out they would be Notre Dame’s 2013-14 student body president and vice president, juniors Alex Coccia and Nancy Joyce said they are ready to hit the ground running.

“[We’re] still very excited and humbled to have won but also very aware of the fact that day one is tomorrow for me,” Joyce, who will begin sitting in on Student Senate meetings tomorrow, said. “I think that’s really where the work starts.”

In the weeks leading up to the April 1 student government turnover, Coccia said he will focus on obtaining as much input from students as possible.

“It’s going to be a lot of talking with as many people as possible,” he said. “We got a really good sense of what students are interested in just by going door to door, but I think having more in-depth conversations with people should be [helpful].”‘

A primary method for facilitating this continuing dialogue will be instituting the town forum outlined in the Coccia-Joyce platform, Coccia said.

“One of the biggest things in our platform is the town hall idea, which is something – if we want to get done – we need to get going on now,” he said. “So we’ll be in talks with Student Affairs about that to see logistically what can be done.”

Coccia said the impressive voter turnout in this year’s elections added to his confidence in the student body’s willingness to contribute ideas.

“In both the primary and the runoff [elections], you had over 4,000 students vote,” he said. “That within itself is impressive, the level of student engagement. … Last night [student body presidential candidate Dominic Romeo] and I talked about how special that was, for students to be engaged like that.”

He said he will look to Romeo and other candidates for feedback moving forward.

“We’ll be reaching out to the other candidates shortly to talk with them and see what kind of ideas they definitely want to have incorporated in student government next year,” Coccia said.

In the weeks remaining before turnover, Coccia said he and Joyce will use a thorough application process to assemble a qualified support team.

“One thing we had in our platform is opening up [appointed positions] as an application process for whoever wants to be involved in student government,” he said. “I think it will be a comprehensive and intensive process for positions because we definitely want to make sure … that we’re getting people based not only on their interests and passion but on their ability to get stuff done that students care about.”

Part of the pair’s promotion of a rigorous application progress is a result of their experience running for office against five other tickets.

“We’ve learned from this election that competition is a really good thing,” Coccia said. “It brings out the best in any system.”

While they will be looking to add some fresh faces to student government, Joyce said the pair will seek to retain some of the talent and ideas from the previous administration.

“We are going to open that application process up, and yes, we want it to be competitive,” she said. “But at the same time we do want to have some sense of continuity in certain aspects, and that’s something we’ll hope to do as we make the transition.”

Leading up to and continuing through the summer months, Coccia said he will keep close tabs on diversity-related efforts on campus.

“We definitely want to begin conversations with people involved in the Call to Action rollout, just making sure we can back that as much as possible,” he said. “I’m currently looking with [outgoing student body president Brett Rocheleau] to find a home for [the GLBTQ organization] in the Student Union Constitution and also funding, which I think is going to be the biggest creative challenge.”

Regardless of the challenges the new administration will face in the coming year, Joyce said she is eager to tackle them right away.
“We’re ready to work,” she said.

Contact John Cameron at jcamero2@nd.edu