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SGA tickets announced

Ashley Charnley | Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Juniors Rachael Chesley and Laura Smith will be facing off against junior Meg Griffin and sophomore Emily Skirtich for student body president and student body vice president, respectively, during the election that runs from 8 a.m. Thursday to 8 p.m. Friday.

Both tickets say they want to improve campus relations between students and the Student Government Association (SGA) during the 2010-11 academic year.

Rachael Chesley and Laura Smith

Chesley has served as a member of the Student Activities Board (SAB) as well as on Dance Marathon and the Class Gift Campaign. Smith has been also participated in Dance Marathon and has served on the first year, sophomore and junior boards. Although both have never sat on SGA boards, they said they think that provides them with a “fresh perspective.”

One of the ticket’s main goals, Chesley said, is working to connect campus clubs and SGA to create a better relationship.

“We want to see more integration of the clubs on campus, more support, more open communication,” Chesley said.

Smith said this would include members of SGA going out to meetings of other clubs when possible as well as holding events that bring together club leaders to encourage dialogue.

The ticket would also like to increase knowledge and communication with the alumnae network, Chesley said.

“This College is built on the foundation of tradition and one of the things that attracted me to this college is the alumnae base,” she said.

Chesley said she and Smith would like to increase the “presence of alumnae on campus.”

The two said they recognize that their opponents’ experience may appear to place them at an advantage, however they believe they bring an “unbiased view.”

“Sometimes you just need to shake things up a bit with an outside perspective,” Smith said.

Chesley agreed, saying their view is “exactly how a student would see student government from the outside.”

“We have an understanding of the student body,” Chesley said. “We would be thrilled to dive in and learn SGA.”

Chesley and Smith said their main goal can be summed up in two words: community and integrity.

Both have studied abroad and hope to bring those lessons back to campus.

“Everybody is involved in some way, and we want to encourage students to be the face of Saint Mary’s, this community, this integrity, this acceptance,” Chesley said. “We want them to be this face of Saint Mary’s whether they are here on campus or off campus and even after they graduate.”

Meg Griffin and Emily Skirtich

Griffin, who currently serves as student body vice president and previously held the post of  sophomore class president, and Skirtich, who is currently executive secretary for SGA, said their overreaching goal for the next academic year will be to “invigorate the student body with a sense of unity and school spirit.”

The pair hope to continue the work of the current SGA administration and hold more all-campus events, like the Navy Ball.

The team also wants to work to connect students with the heritage of the College, improve communication with students, faculty and administration, and improve campus life overall, Griffin said.

In order to help improve student’s connection with the heritage of the College, Griffin said she hopes to continue the work she did this year with Jenny Hoffman, current student body president, including planning the creation of an academic course on Saint Mary’s heritage.

“Since it frequently takes more than one academic year to create a new course, we are still in the midst of the process and look forward continuing the process next year,” Griffin said.

Ideas to improve communication between the student body and its government include closer ties between SGA and campus clubs.

“Some of our plans are to refine the allotment process, hold club officer orientation sessions, make the SGA Web site a working tool for clubs, open a club workspace in the SGA office and release a 2010-11 Club Handbook that will serve as a reference tool and answer frequently asked questions,” Griffin said.

Club changes would be part of their short-term goals for the end of this academic year.
To improve campus living for students, Griffin and Skirtich say they hope to connect with Notre Dame’s student government and try to get nearby off-campus restaurants to get “campus currencies accepted,” Griffin said.

Griffin said their experience makes them best suited for the job.

“With our progression […], we are in a better position to serve the student body, to diagnose from afar potential mistakes and avoid them,” Griffin said. “Even with that experience, we will still make some mistakes, everyone makes mistakes, but we will have the experience to better react and address them.”