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



Assembly adopts new structure

KELLY KONYA | Thursday, December 12, 2013


The Saint Mary’s Student Senate completed its third semester of meetings with high hopes for the spring, SGA vice president Maddy Martin said. 

“I’m really proud of the new structure we formatted this year, because we added some new positions and also evened out the amount of senators per grade,” she said.

Martin said permanent attendees included representatives of each “big board” on campus, including the presidents of Student Diversity Board, Residence Hall Association and Student Activities Board. Senators elected from each class, officers of SGA and ordinary students also participated.

“[That] encouraged a town-hall setting,” Martin said. “Essentially, we are covering every corner of campus, and this is the only sort of collective meeting that accomplishes that.” 

Senate added a new amendment to the SGA constitution, establishing guidelines for the group’s parliamentary order, Martin said.

“We are still in the midst of revising our constitution right now, because we realized many things in it that we are not using or we have something new that needs to be incorporated,” she said. “We hope the modified guidelines will encourage efficiency within the Senate and uphold the traditions set in the place by previous SGA officers.

“Each board has been working to go through their part of the constitution, and so our final goal is to have the constitution revised and finalized by April’s turnover.”  

This semester, senate also discussed the fiscal budget for the remainder of the school year, vice president of finance Emily Murphy said. Rachel Sinchak, a junior senator, said this financial evaluation was especially important for all of the big-board and class-board members.

“It’s hard because the SGA budget isn’t able to allocate huge funds to every board, but Emily [Murphy] and the other officers really try their best to share the finances equally across the groups,” Sinchak said. “The goal of the senate is to be as beneficial to as many student groups as possible while also being cost-effective, and I think most of the decisions reached this year in the meetings reflected that principle.” 

Another issue senate considered was the decision to host a dance with the Naval Academy following the Notre Dame-Navy football game Nov. 2. Though the dance was eventually approved, senate spent an entire meeting addressing whether or not the event would be advantageous for SGA’s overall budget, Martin said.  

“I thought it was great for our senators to be able to see from start to finish how this sort of process works,” Martin said. “Our senators were surprised with how much involvement they had in decisions like this, as they were the ultimate deciding factor in events and their opinions truly mattered.” 

Looking ahead to the spring, Martin said the senators have been encouraged to bring to the group ideas that may be forming in individual class meetings.

“We hope to continue to answer all unanswered questions on campus, like issues with technology or parking and so on,” Martin said. “I think the senate is most constructive because the senators who are pertinent to their respective classes come and raise questions that have been floating around campus. 

“This helps with our goal of transparency, as the girls can provide the answers to the rest of the student body after we have decided what will benefit the entire campus.” 


Grade: A-

SMC senate has succeeded in finding a structure that makes it effective and incorporates voices from various boards on campus. The group has also formalized this organization for future administrations. 

Contact Kelly Konya at [email protected]