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Student leaders prepare to leave office

Zook, Nicole | Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Each spring, a change occurs at Saint Mary’s. Whether students are immediately aware of it or fail to notice until the end of the academic year, student government turnover is the result of months of planning to ensure a smooth transition between administrations. Outgoing student body president Elizabeth Jablonski-Diehl and vice president Sarah Brown presided over their last Board of Governance meeting Monday. Today marks the conclusion of their term. President-elect Sarah Catherine White and vice-president elect Mary Pauline Moran will take office Thursday.The women have demonstrated leadership in a number of ways over the past year, affecting both policy changes and the everyday lives of students. Jablonski-Diehl, however, gives all credit to those who served along side her on BOG.”No student body president acts alone,” she said. “Student government accomplished its goals because we were able to act together, even when we disagreed. The remarkable women who worked hard and creatively deserve the credit for a successful year.”Platform goals such as informing students about student government and improving communication were met, making the year a success, Jablonski-Diehl said. She emphasizes the vitality of communication between students and their representatives, and believes she and Brown have successfully accomplished that goal throughout the course of their term.”We sought to improve relations between The Observer and student government. Improved communications was one reason we resurrected the tradition of a State of the School Address,” Jablonski-Diehl said. “We worked hard to let students know about the activities that we were planning. We worked even harder to listen to students so that we could really act as their representatives.”Jablonski-Diehl and Brown headed a board that not only listened to students’ needs, but also worked to have those needs met. As a result, programs such as VISA, Friends With Sisters and the Alumni Shadowing Program flourished. The student body also held a celebration for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception to honor the school’s patroness. They celebrated again at Midnight Madness when the fight song – with lyrics and music written entirely by students and voted on by the student body – was sung for the first time in school history.Perhaps the most noticeable change, however, was the first ever Reading Day held on Dec. 12. The concept was first debated in 1992 and formally proposed in 2002 after 89 percent of students polled were in favor. The day reserved for students to prepare for final exams was widely appreciated across Saint Mary’s campus and will take place again before the spring semester concludes.Jablonski-Diehl said that the incoming administration of White and Moran is fully qualified for the positions from which she and Brown are leaving.”The hard part about turning BOG over to new leadership is that I am still intensely interested in making student government work for all of the women here. They deserve nothing else,” Jablonski-Diehl said. “The difficulty is eased by knowing that the new BOG leadership and members are very competent, smart, and as intense about student affairs as I was. Saint Mary’s marches on.”Looking back on her time leading the student body, Jablonski-Diehl seems to have few regrets.”Serving on Saint Mary’s Student Government Association has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. It is with pride that I hand over the reigns to the next administration,” she said. “I am proud of everything Sarah and I have accomplished, and I can honestly look back and say that I gave it everything I had.”