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Group addresses student-alumni relations

Mary Kate Malone | Thursday, November 9, 2006

After a disappointing turnout at the three student-alumni receptions this fall, the Student Senate examined what went wrong with the event and brainstormed ways to make it better at its meeting Wednesday.

University Affairs committee chair Aly Baumgartner headed the gatherings, which she said were meant to cultivate a better relationship between alumni and current students.

Student turnout, however, was dismal. The first reception, held on Sept. 28 before the Purdue game, drew about 50 people – and that was the most popular. The second, on Oct. 6 before the Stanford game, had just 20 people. At the final one, held Nov. 4, Baumgartner counted about 30 visitors.

“We didn’t get as many students as we would have liked,” Baumgartner said.

Breen-Phillips senator Maris Brown said senators, given their role as student leaders, “did a really poor job” attending and promoting the event.

“I was really disappointed with the Senate’s showing,” Brown said. “I think we have a responsibility to go to this. … I mean if we don’t come, and we’re student leaders, then how are we going to expect anyone else to come?”

Some senators said the time of the reception – late afternoon on a football Friday – was inconvenient for most students.

St. Edward’s senator Brian Lan suggested making the reception more public, which would probably draw in students passing by, he said.

“If they smell food, they’ll come over sooner or later and check it out,” Lan said.

Baumgartner said tailoring the receptions for specific majors could also attract more students. That tactic was used for the final reception, when alumni in the entertainment industry attended the event. Film, Television and Theatre majors were especially encouraged to visit that reception.

Baumgartner and student body vice president Bill Andrichik will meet with representatives from the Alumni Association later this year to discuss the receptions. After that, the responsibility to plan and prepare them again next year will fall on the Student-Alumni Relations Group, a student club on campus.

“We can hand this off so it’s not a student government initiative but an issue that can keep going regardless of student leadership,” Andrichik said.

In other Senate news:

uIt’s possible that Saturday’s football game against Air Force will be aired at the Stepan Center, Director of Student Activities Brian Coughlin said. His office is “looking into the possibility” of renting a temporary satellite truck that would attach to the Stepan Center, he said.

uLast week’s Senate resolution calling for more on-campus resources for Native American students will be presented to the Campus Life Council Nov. 13, student body president Lizzi Shappell told senators. Another resolution passed last week, which called for Holy Cross students to have access to the Rockne Memorial until the completion of their new athletic facility, was given to the vice president of student affairs at Holy Cross.

uSiegfriend senator Jim Lockwood asked what measures were being taken to make student government more accessible to those who want to get involved.

Andrichik said the revamped student government Web site, which is not yet finished, will be an easy way to get information about student government.

Director of Communications Alex French said members of his department reported that, for the most part, they had little trouble getting information they needed about student government.

“But it never hurts to advertise more,” he said.

Lockwood said he could not determine who Siegfried’s Judicial Council member was. When he contacted the Judicial Council, he was told the Siegfried representative was not attending Judicial Council meetings.

Shappell said she would discuss attendance at Judicial Council meetings with the Council of Representatives Nov. 14.