The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Senators discuss service initiatives

Megan Doyle | Thursday, September 30, 2010

Student Senate received an update on the accomplishments of last year’s Water Initiative and discussed this year’s student government service initiative.

“Student government can work on issues of consequence and not just issues of convenience,” social concerns chair Pat McCormick said.

Student government and the Center for Social Concerns teamed up last year to promote awareness and raise money for the Water Initiative, said Rachel Roseberry, former social concerns chair.

“The idea was to provide clean water to people who do not have it,” she said.

Roseberry and Justin Pham, a member of the social concerns committee last year, headed the committee inside student government and worked with both groups throughout the project.

Student government collected over $4,000 for the Yams Farm Primary School located in the rural western district of Sierra Leone, Africa, Pham said.

The old pump on the site did not provide safe water for the community, so the funds went to installing a new hand pump that currently serves 550 people in the area, Pham said.

The project also sponsored training for the students and teachers at the school on hygiene and health. This training was a critical part of the initiative because it taught members of the community about sanitation, Roseberry said.

The initiative also helped the community in Sierra Leone remove dirt from the well interior and organize the community to better monitor the pump, Pham said.

“We had so much help from so many organizations,” Roseberry said. “Howard Hall was especially great when they hosted ‘Totter for Water’ last year.”

Other residence halls, the Office of Sustainability and student government worked together to make the initiative a success, Roseberry said.

Student musicians also compiled a benefit CD that was sold to help the project.

“At some level we hope that a project like this would continue in student government,” Roseberry said. “Everyone in student government can find a way to look outside our little boardroom.”

Student body president Catherine Soler and vice president Andrew Bell will head an initiative to fight hunger during their term.

“Having one focused service initiative was unique last year and a great step for student government as a whole,” Bell said. “We are trying to continue that with the hunger initiative.”

Student Senate also passed a resolution to thank the Office of Student Affairs for consulting student government during process of revising du Lac, the student handbook.

“We want to recognize that the Office of Student Affairs included student government and thank them,” Soler said. “We also want to ask them to do that again in the future.”

The conversation on the revisions is ongoing and will continue to include student government, Bell said.