Candidates announced for Saint Mary’s election
Kayla Mullen | Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Two tickets announced their candidacy for Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president Tuesday. Juniors McKenzie Johnson and Barbi Prokup hope to deliver “change, communication and community,” according to official campaign materials, while juniors Emma McCarthy and Mary Joy Dingler are campaigning to promote transparency, communication and diversity on campus.
The two tickets will deliver speeches today at 5 p.m. in the Noble Family Dining Hall, and elections will be held Thursday. The winning ticket will take office April 1, succeeding current student body president Kaitlyn Baker and vice president Maddie Kohler.
McCarthy, a political science major, and Dingler, a humanistic studies major with a concentration in English writing, put a special emphasis on transparency in their campaign.
“One thing we really want to work on is publishing office hours [of members of student government],” Dingler said. “Students should be aware of when they can go and talk with every committee chair and the student body president and vice president, to make us more available for students.”
The ticket also wants to establish a weekly email to students, similar to the [email protected] emails, McCarthy said. They said they believe the email will help bolster attendance at campus events.
“We definitely think we receive too many emails,” McCarthy said. “ … If we send it out every week on a Sunday, students will come to expect it as time goes on. At least once a week, we want to say, ‘Hey, here is what is going on,’ and have each co-chair report their events to the vice president. She will compile it and send it out.”
The pair plans to improve the dining experience at the College, Dingler said.
“You have to eat,” Dingler said. “Café Spes Unica closes at [3 p.m.] and seeing as there have been more night classes, we think it would be beneficial for it to be open until 5 or 6, just so students have the chance to get dinner, since a lot of times, a lot of education majors do not get a chance to eat because they are so busy every day.”
As faculty and staff of the College play a large role in the everyday life of students on campus, the McCarthy-Dingler ticket also hopes to implement a “Thank You Week,” in which students show their appreciation for the work of staff and faculty, McCarthy said.
“We have lots of big weeks here on campus, but one that we have neglected is thanking our faculty and staff for everything they do for us,” McCarthy said. “We really want to establish a week where we write cards and show our appreciation for all the work they do to make Saint Mary’s our home away from home.”
Similarly, the ticket hopes to continue mental health awareness week and to make online scheduling of counseling services available to students, Dingler said.
“We want these resources to be more accessible so that students know that they can go,” Dingler said.
Johnson, a business administration major, and Prokup, a finance major, said they will focus on feasible plans in their platform.
“We wanted to include things that could actually happen on campus,” Johnson said. “We wanted to be realistic with ourselves — a lot of things on our platform are things we know we can accomplish. They are things that we think are important but also realistic.”
The pair plans to address bullying on campus, Prokup said.
“There have been girls who have been harassed via door and leaving notes, social media: It has become an excessive problem here on campus,” Prokup said. “We want to create an anti-bullying program that has steps on what we need to do as students to prevent and protect our fellow students.”
The program would be run through social media and campus-wide conversations, Prokup said.
“We are fully committed to this because it is such a strong problem here that we really want to help combat,” Prokup said. “We would like to hold other events to remind everyone that this is a safe campus where you can be yourself without having to face judgment.”
Johnson and Prokup plan to increase attendance at events through a regular email, Johnson said.
“Even as someone involved on campus, I never know when sports games are,” Johnson said. “I know I can probably look it up on the website, but if it is not directly presented to me, then I probably will be unaware and not go. … That is something we want to address.”
The campaign also wants to promote communication between all aspects of the College, Johnson said.
“Communication is such an important things here, especially when it comes to communication between the student body, professors, faculty, the Board of Trustees,” Johnson said. “I think that the position of student body president has really lost that emphasis of being a representative of the student body, someone who has had frequent connections with students, conversations with students.
“It is sometimes sad to me that people don’t know who our [student body] president is,” she said. “I really want to address this next year — we want to know everyone, we want everyone to know us.”