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SMC’s McIlduff and Siefert hope for more student feedback

Justin Tardiff | Monday, April 3, 2006

Saturday’s student government turnover marked a new era of leadership at Saint Mary’s as junior Susan McIlduff and sophomore Maggie Siefert took over as student body president and vice president.

The traditional April 1 turnover marked the end of senior Kellye Mitros’ presidency and the beginning of McIlduff’s term leading the student body after serving as student body vice president for the past year.

McIlduff, a business and communication studies double major from Leetonia, Ohio and student body vice president Siefert, a sophomore studio art major with an education endorsement from Lisle, Ill. said their term is off to a strong start.

The pair has worked hard in the past few weeks to organize and appoint students to fill the 13 Board of Governance commissioner positions, they said.

“We have been busy organizing the Board getting everyone acquainted,” McIlduff said. “Our main priority is having a strong Board that feels confident and supports each other with our endeavors.”

McIlduff and Siefert said their main priority is to foster a greater student government presence on campus in order to increase feedback and meet the needs of the College community.

“We hope to provide positive changes to Saint Mary’s that will be effective and continue throughout the years,” Siefert said. “The key goal when it comes to student governments is to try to think of new innovative ideas that will get our campus excited about who we are and let them be able to show their pride on campus.”

To foster this increased sense of College pride and tradition, McIlduff and Siefert plan to organize the second annual Heritage Week – an event created by Mitros and McIlduff and deemed by McIlduff a success.

“We will carry on Heritage Week as one of our major platform goals,” she said. “We feel as if Saint Mary’s lacks ongoing traditions, and we hope to create events that celebrate where we came from and where we aspire to go to in the future.”

McIlduff and Siefert hope to increase their presence on campus by attending various College events, something they believe will make them seem more approachable.

“The best way to get feedback about how student government is doing to get feedback from students,” McIlduff said. “These changes will begin with their newly proposed idea to minimize the number of inner-campus e-mails that currently flood students’ inboxes.

“We have a mass e-mail policy now, but we hope to revise it more this year to mention that clubs send out only one e-mail each day,”

With two active search committees working to replace outgoing Vice President and Dean of Faculty Patrick White and Vice President of Student Affairs Linda Timm, the incoming student government leaders take office during a time of change within the College’s administration.

“We wish [Timm and White] the best on their presidencies,” she said. “They have contributed many positive changes to the College. They will be sadly missed, and hopefully we will find a replacement that will sustain the growth they have contributed.”

McIlduff, who sits on the Vice President of Student Affairs search committee, said the College’s openness to seek student input on the hiring shows its dedication to the desires and needs of the student body as a whole.

Together, McIlduff and Siefert said their leadership would not only be based on a close relationship with administrators and the student body but also on taking risks to meet the needs of the College community.

“It’s all about risks,” Siefert said. “And without taking risks you cannot make a difference. We will be taking lots of positive risks and hopefully we [will] succeed.”

McIlduff agreed and stressed the need for constant change to avoid falling into a routine that would result in a lack of excitement for their work.

“Whether it be special activities or academic problems, we need to be going after what the students want,” she said.

So far in their short-lived term, the two said they have already felt a sense of unity and friendship amongst the new board of governance.

“We have had two meetings with the executive board of BOG and everyone is so excited and they know that they are on board to make a difference,” she said. “They have already put in more time than was asked of them – to see this [effort] so soon just recognizes that this upcoming year is just going to be great.”

McIlduff’s position as student body president marks the highlight of her three year dedication to Saint Mary’s student government and she anticipates a successful term due in part to the united stance of her board members.

“Everyone seems to be in support of each other,” she said. “Often times there are power struggles, but we need to be look out for the students. And everyone has the students as their number one priority.”