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McCarthy, Dingler release progress report

| Friday, December 9, 2016

When Emma McCarthy and Mary Joy Dingler took over as Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president, they made plans to be more visible to the student body.

Dingler said she has achieved this by attending major campus events as well as holding regular office hours.

“It’s important to me that [the student body] know[s] that I support the work they do and will try to be as present and active around campus as I can,” Dingler said. “I want students to take advantage of office hours and feel free to approach me, as well as any other member of SGA they need to communicate with.”

According to Dingler, visibility and transparency go hand-in-hand. She said SGA recently published an end-of-semester progress report checklist.

“Emma and I do so many things behind the scenes when working with the administration that isn’t always immediately visible to students,” she said. “It was important too that we made this progress report so students can see that even when we’re working with the administration behind the scenes and accomplishing tasks on various committees, we always have the students’ interests at heart and are advocating for them.”

McCarthy said she serves as a student voice on various administrative committees, including the Student Life Committee for the Board of Trustees, the Academic Affairs Council and the President’s ad hoc group, which works on the shared roles and responsibilities for the College.

Dingler serves on the Academic Administrative Structure Ad Hoc Working Group — which prepares for the College’s new Provost — and on the Search Committee for the Provost.

“We are able to interact with President Cervelli at some of these meetings, as well as at other committees we sit on together,” McCarthy said. “[Cervelli] is very open and willing to work with SGA and become more involved with the student body. … She has shown such excitement and enthusiasm toward the student body, and I know that this is a huge testament to the kind of leader she is going to be for this campus community.”

McCarthy said she has also met with students on a regular basis to hear their concerns and find areas where SGA can better student life on campus.

“I continue to be humbled that the student body has selected me to be their advocate,” she said. “I hope that they know that if there is ever a problem or concern that they want to see addressed with the administration, that they can come to me and I will take care of it because I have their best interests at heart.”

McCarthy said she has succeeded in having the Community Justice chairs host two monthly mingles, proposed as part of their platform in the spring, to build community and aid minority students who may feel marginalized. She said she also holds weekly leadership meetings with the Student Diversity Board, Residence Hall Association, Class Council and Student Activities Board to discuss campus climate.

“This gives us the opportunities to work closely with other student leaders in order to respond to student needs as we see fit,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to see all that Student Diversity Board has been doing to create a more positive environment on campus.”

In an effort to increase security on campus, McCarthy said she and Dingler have worked with Student Affairs to address all safety concerns. She said the Community Committee chairs hosted Safety Day, which included self-defense classes and a discussion on campus safety issues.

Dingler also serves as the new Security Liaison, meaning she works directly with campus security to address issues and concerns as they arise.

McCarthy and Dingler attend monthly Campus and Community Advisory Coalition meetings in South Bend, where they meet with the student body presidents of Notre Dame and Holy Cross as well as with members of the South Bend community.

“This allows us to be able to know what is going [on] throughout the tri-campus area and in the South Bend community and voice any questions or concerns to that coalition that have been brought to us by the student body,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said they also meet with the student government representatives of Notre Dame and Holy Cross on a regular basis to discuss issues that directly affect the tri-campus community.

“It is a chance for us to share ideas, brainstorm opportunities for future collaboration, talk about our respective campuses and how they interact and share our successes with one another,” McCarthy said. “We will continue to meet with them throughout next semester. We have a great group of people this year who are all exceedingly open to the idea of collaboration, and we continue to be thrilled with the support that we receive from these wonderful campus communities.”

McCarthy added she has focused on revitalizing the Big Belle-Little Belle program, which started last year to help first-year students assimilate to college by being paired up with a junior or senior.

“We have been thrilled by the mentorship that our junior students have offered to our first-year class and hope that the re-focus and re-structuring of the group will make it sustainable for many years to come,” she said.

Dingler said SGA has made efforts to become more transparent to the student body.

“We recognize that sometimes it is hard for students to see the amount that we do in terms of student representation on various committees and with the administration, but we are working to increase that awareness,” she said. “Our progress report was a great start to that, and I hope we can continue to inform the student body of SGA’s accomplishments even more as we move into next semester. We are open to student suggestions for what they would like to see in the coming semester and are always willing to work with students.”

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a junior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College and currently serves as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Le Mans Hall.

Contact Nicole