Baker/Kohler to head Saint Mary’s Student Government Association
Haleigh Ehmsen | Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Saint Mary’s College Student Government Association (SGA) announced the incoming student body president and vice president, Kaitlyn Baker and Maddie Kohler, on Friday.
Election week was exciting and stressful, but Kohler felt particularly confident during her speech in the dining hall Wednesday during dinner, she said.
“We were always anxious to see how the other candidates were going to campaign,” she said. “But Wednesday night, when we gave our speeches, I was so proud to be telling the students what we want to do, if elected, and express our love for the College.”
Kohler said she and Baker plan to attend SGA meetings and shadow the College’s outgoing student body president and vice president, McKenna Schuster and Sam Moorhead, to prepare for their term, which officially begins April 1.
Baker said she and Kohler will begin the board application process for student-run organizations like Student Diversity Board (SDB), Residence Hall Association (RHA) and Student Activities Board (SAB). Students were elected into such positions prior to this year, Baker said.
Though they both have SGA experience, Kohler said she and Baker look forward to working with Schuster and Moorhead to guide them into their new positions.
Kohler said she and her partner intend to add a function to the new BelleMobile app that would track Blinky, a nightly shuttle service sponsored by Saint Mary’s Security to transport students safely around Saint Mary’s campus, as well as back and forth from the Grotto.
“There’s a lot of questions that need to be asked and a lot of research to figure out how we could create such a function,” Kohler said. “I’ll have to reach out to IT and try to develop that over the summer.”
Baker said they want to begin promptly on some of their larger initiatives, such as the Blinky tracker and diversity within SGA.
In addition, Baker said they want to talk with security about transporting students during the day.
“The issue seems to be that girls come home with groceries and luggage, and they need a little help getting from point A to point B, so maybe we can talk with security about being more available during the day,” Baker said.
Kohler said she wants students to know she and Baker are interested in their concerns.
“We’ve already had students reaching out with ideas, and students feel like they can communicate their wants and needs to us,” Kohler said. “ I really want students to know we are approachable.”
Baker said she and Kohler hope to recruit a diverse group of students to be in their presidential cabinet.
“I want to make sure minority groups are represented and reach out to some of the diverse clubs to find out what their needs are,” she said. “I want to make sure their voices are heard.”
SGA added an “International Chair” to ensure the needs of all students are met, and Baker said she thinks including SGA representatives within that addition may help.
“We can’t really cater to the needs of diverse students if we don’t have any diversity in SGA,” Baker said.
Baker said she also wants SGA to maintain its transparency while she and her partner are in office.
“In our platform, we tried to be really honest and highlight ideas we know we could work towards,” she said. “We really want to hear from students and keep Senate meetings open to students to voice their concerns.”
Baker and Kohler both said they are excited for the “Big Belle, Little Belle” Program to begin next fall. The program will pair up current sophomores and juniors with incoming first-year students and give new students a guide for their first year of college and beyond.
“Right now, the program is voluntary and the Office of Student Affairs is in charge,” Baker said. “We hope students will want to share their Saint Mary’s experience with new students and serve as a mentor and friend.”
Kohler said, overall, the elections were a good example of friendly competition amongst classmates.
“All of the candidates did a great job campaigning and getting their message out there,” Kohler said. “Now I’m really excited to meet with [the] administration and communicate our ideas and figure out what plans are already in the making.”