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Shappell, Andrichik celebrate

Mary Kate Malone | Wednesday, February 15, 2006

After dealing four opposing tickets a crushing defeat in the student body presidential and vice presidential general election Monday night, juniors Lizzi Shappell and Bill Andrichik said they will waste no time tackling the “hot-button” issues they believe won them the race.

“It’s sinking in more and more,” Shappell said Tuesday. “Last night was a bit of a shock. It’s starting to be a little more real in my mind. I’m going through all the steps in my head.

“It’s inherently more relaxing than it would have been had [the election] gone and all the work we have to do … but at the same time just trying to enjoy it.”

Instead of engaging in three days of whirlwind campaigning leading up to a run-off election, Shappell and Andrichik are basking in the glow of victory and setting their sights on April 1 – when they will assume their positions and begin tackling a lofty list of goals as student body president and vice president.

Asked to describe their administration in one or two words, Andrichik chose “working relationship” and Shappell chose “proactive.”

The pair said they want to “hit the ground running” by immediately attacking campaign goals that cover a wide spectrum of student life issues.

If they deliver on their word, results will be tangible come fall.

Andrichik said he is confident new items will be added to Grab-and-Go when students arrive on campus in August. Three or four additional food choices will be selected based on a student survey to be conducted this semester, he said.

Possible additions include ramen noodles, popcorn and soups, Andrichik said.

And thanks to a $15 increase in the student activities fee that will take effect next year, three national newspapers will be available daily for free at different points around campus. The College Readership Program was piloted at Notre Dame last year and won positive feedback from students – prompting student government to pursue implementing the program permanently.

But concerns have been raised regarding the number of newspapers that will actually be available each day – estimates hover around 2,000 – since the money allotted for the program will not be enough for each student to get a newspaper.

To counter this, Shappell said she wants to create a recycling system that would encourage students to return their papers to a bin, so that several students can read the same copy.

“But if the [College Readership] Program takes off, we’re hoping to seek funding from other resources” to purchase more papers and not have to rely on recycling, Shappell said.

Like her predecessor, current student body president Dave Baron, Shappell said her administration plans to work tirelessly at improving community relations – starting as early as the Feb. 27 meeting of the South Bend Common Council. There, six student speakers will address the Council to “display that we want to take an active part in city government,” Shappell said.

“We want to explain the initiatives we’re taking to improve community relations,” she said. “Specifically our issues with the new [disorderly house] ordinance [meant to curb student partying] … and how we believe that with the first offense eviction, the punishment doesn’t always fit the crime.”

Shappell and Andrichik also want to enlist the help of the Notre Dame Law School for legal consultation regarding the ordinance.

Students can also expect Student Senate committee meetings to become more visible, since Shappell wants to relocate some meetings to more public locations like residence halls and academic buildings.

“I’m proud of the strides Dave and I have made this year,” Shappell said. “But as far as the student apathy question goes, that is a constant battle for students to feel like student government is accessible and working for their day to day needs.”

Shappell said having committee meetings “on location” provides “a more personal connection for students and student government.”

Shappell and Andrichik also said they will tailor their goals to fit any issues that arise following University President Father John Jenkins’ recent addresses on academic freedom and the University’s Catholic character.

“Jenkins will be visiting [Student] Senate in a month, but we don’t know how much [the issue] will carry over from this administration to the next,” Shappell said.

But Shappell hopes to “continue to solicit student opinion” on academic freedom as long as the dialogue and debate persists on campus.

Shappell and Andrichik secured 51.78 percent of the vote in Monday’s election, just enough to avoid a run-off election.