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



New administration sworn in

Megan Doyle | Thursday, April 7, 2011

During its first meeting under its new administration, the Student Senate approved new committee chairs and passed three resolutions Wednesday.

Student body president Pat McCormick officially assumed his office when he was sworn in to his position during the meeting.

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of student body president of the University of Notre Dame du Lac, and to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the undergraduate student body,” he said, taking the traditional oath of office.

Student body vice president Brett Rocheleau and the incoming senators were also sworn into their new positions.

As the body began its term, the senators approved the new committee chairs.

Senate approved freshman Heather Eaton to head a new committee on constituent services.

“We are supposed to be the gateway between the students and student government to make sure student voices get heard,” she said. “We will really be the direct link to getting things done that students want.”

Eaton said managing student input on grab-and-go, pep rallies and other day-to-day issues of student life will fall under her jurisdiction.

Sophomore Ellen Carroll assumed the role of social concerns chair.

“We will be working a lot to challenge students to see beyond their immediate needs on campus and look to the needs of people in South Bend and in the world,” she said.

The Off-Campus Committee began its second year with a new chair, Katie Zemlock.

Zemlock said she hopes to improve the discount program for local businesses and possibly host a Taste of South Bend fair on campus.

Erika Hansen was voted as chair of community relations. She said she hopes to plan trips into South Bend as well as events with local organizations such as the Robinson Community Learning Center.

Senate approved freshman Neal Ravindra as academic affairs chair. Ravindra said he wanted to plan more academic activities for students and faculty outside the classroom.

“That’s how we can benefit from an education at this University, by planning what goes on outside the lecture halls,” he said.

John Sanders, the new residence life chair, said his committee would begin work on plans for move-in in August and the possibility of a third meal-plan option. The new university affairs chair, Jason Lovell, said his committee would focus on campus safety and security as well as continuing plans to renovate the DeBartolo Lounge.

Sophomore Yiting Zheng assumed her position as campus technology chair. She said she hopes to revamp insideND and make progress on a mobile system to monitor laundry.

The group also unanimously voted for junior Hallie Brewster as gender issues chair, junior Nick Ochoa as multicultural affairs chair and junior Ben Noe as oversight chair.

The body also designated senators to represent the group in the Financial Management Board, Campus Life Council, the Council of Representatives and Judicial Council.

The new Senate passed three resolutions to bestow emeritus status on the previous student government administration.

When former student body president Catherine Soler received emeritus status, McCormick said her term laid the foundation for future student government projects in the community.

“I think that Catherine demonstrated true leadership in her work on behalf of student safety here on campus and her commitment to foster improved community relations here in South Bend,” he said.

Student body vice president emeritus Andrew Bell also received praise from his successor.

“Andrew was a great vice president,” Rocheleau said. “He has been a great mentor to me in the past month and a half, and he was always a great role model in the office.”

Chief of staff Claire Sokas recognized former chief of staff Nick Ruof for his contributions to student government.

“I had the opportunity to work with Nick in student government for the past two and a half years,” Sokas said. “Nick is one of those strong but silent types, and I am lucky to call him a friend and a role model.”

McCormick said he looked forward to the year ahead of his administration.

“I would like to just express my gratitude for you being here,” he said. “My hope is that we can channel the hopes that came from your campaigns and our campaign to the student body.”