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Incoming student body president and vice president talk transition, restructuring

| Monday, April 6, 2020

Despite being physically away from campus, incoming Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president juniors Giavanna Paradiso and Kelsey O’Connor have been working with members of the current administration and other student organizations to determine how to best transition student government and prepare for their term during this period of distance learning.

The Paradiso-O’Connor administration officially begins their term on May 16, following the graduation of current student body president and vice president Terra Nelson and Olivia Allen. The annual dinner held in late April to signify the transition of power has been canceled as Saint Mary’s has moved to remote learning due to the spread of COVID-19.

Nola Wallace | The Observer

Giavanna Paradiso, left, and Kelsey O’Connor, right, prioritized empowering student organizations and promoting community in their platform.

Paradiso and O’Connor have been working collaboratively with the current student government administration to help create a sense of community remotely.

“Terra and Haley Mitchell, the chief of staff, have been involving us in trying to come up with ideas for things we can do for the students remotely,” Paradiso said.

Although they have run into some initial problems, O’Connor said they are going to keep making plans with student government.

“It’s been difficult to execute these ideas because a lot of places are not open for us to send out anything,” O’Connor said. “We’re trying to think of things that — us, on student government — can do from our homes.”

Normally by this time, the executive board would be decided, O’Connor said, but the duo is currently in the process of making changes to the constitution to allow for the creation of a new committee.

“We’re trying to make new committees that — throughout the Saint Mary’s community — would be a need for the students,” Paradiso said. “So, we have to get that approved too and it’s very hard doing it virtually. We’re working on restructuring a lot of the structure of student government in and of itself and how it operates — we’re hoping that we can make these new changes as efficiently as possible, but things take time.”

Paradiso and O’Connor plan to have executive board applications out within the month to start organizing Domerfest and orientation, they said.

“I see our summer trying to figure out what is going to happen with school and how that’s going to affect the freshmen and all the students in general,” Paradiso said. “Just using the summer to adapt to this new way of life, we had a plan to meet with everybody on campus … Obviously, that’s not feasible because we’re not on campus — so we’ve been contacting people, administrators, faculty, students –– just to try to still get the information and input that we need.”

Looking toward the upcoming school year, Paradiso said she hopes to use this experience as fuel to make the year a success.

“You need to take advantage of every moment that you have on campus because you never know when it’s gonna be your last. And that’s sad, but I mean you just have to be prepared for, I don’t know, apparently, a virus outbreak,” Paradiso said.

Paradiso said they are in the process of thinking of alternatives to events that were canceled this semester, such as Junior Moms Weekend and Senior Week.

“We’re just thinking of everything right now because right now, there’s just a lot of time to think,” Paradiso said.

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About Mia Marroquin

Mia Marroquin is a rising senior Communication Studies major at Saint Mary’s. Currently serving as Saint Mary’s News Editor, she hails from Holland, Michigan and is an 80’s movie fanatic. Follow Mia on Twitter @_miamarroquin

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