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White delivers address

Kelly Meehan | Friday, November 19, 2004

Saint Mary’s student body president Sarah Catherine White delivered the annual “State of the School” and spoke about her accomplishments this year and vision for student government.

White began her address to students, faculty and administrators by giving a brief history of the initiation of the Student Government Association in 1935 by former college president Sister Madeleva. Madeleva began student government after she recognized students’ need for self-representation.

“The creation of student government helped redefine the Saint Mary’s woman who does not shy away from the world around her,” White said. White recalled the goals that she and student body vice president Mary Pauline Moran created last semester after winning the student body president election. They aimed to welcome College President Carol Mooney to campus, make service opportunities more available to the student body and to oversee the building and opening of Opus Hall and the new student center.

To welcome the new president, White started “Dessert with Dr. Mooney” in which each residence hall welcomed the new president for a Sunday evening of desserts and discussion. This event has occurred in each residence hall, with the final “Dessert with Dr. Mooney” occurring Sunday in LeMans Hall.

The creation of “Service Sundays” allows students with busy schedules a low time commitment opportunity to volunteer one Sunday per month at the Christ Child’s Society.

SGA has made old traditions new again by restarting the “Big Sister-Little Sister” program, which pairs up every first-year student with a sophomore. This program was first initiated by sophomore class president Claudia Toth.

“Our ultimate hope is that [Big Sister- Little Sister] will continue in the future as a strong Saint Mary’s tradition,” White said.

White reported that the Stu-dent Academic Council has continued its readership program to supply campus with daily copies of The New York Times, The South Bend Tribune and USA Today. The Student Activities Board has taken campus events to the next level by bringing bands such as “Blessed Union of Souls” and “Emerson Drive” to campus.

The newly created student government position of chief-of-staff was filled last year by sophomore Susan McIlduff.

“Susan’s clear communication helps us to move forward as a united student government,” White said.

White also discussed the development of a women’s center and the ideas and effort of women’s issues commissioner Katie Kelly. The Women’s Center will be located in the new student center and will have a full time staff through a grant from the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership. White said she believes that bringing a women’s center to campus is something that will strongly empower women.

In the midst of progress, White reminded the audience that everyone must remain in control of the budget issues.

“Student government treasurer Molly Welton has worked diligently to ensure that we carry on traditions at Saint Mary’s despite budget cuts,” White said.

The student body is currently asking tough questions about the identity of a Saint Mary’s woman. White also said the Student Diversity Board, Katie Kelly and the Student Activities Board have been working to host “Identity Forums” for students to come together and not be afraid to have honest discussion and look to answer these difficult questions. White said she and SGA are looking forward to the inauguration of Mooney and the opening of the new student center.

“It is our job to create and add to the pages that will play in the symphony of history that is Saint Mary’s College,” White said.