Student Government Association tickets: Tatiana Boehning and Sarah Frick
Maeve Filbin | Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Campus, community, Catholicism and collaboration — these are the four pillars upon which juniors Tatiana Boehning and Sarah Frick have built their platform for the 2021 Saint Mary’s Student Government Association elections. One of three tickets vying for office, both Boehning and Frick have been involved in student government since middle school.
Boehning, running for SGA president alongside Frick as vice president, said she hopes to hear student voices and address their needs.
“Being president of Saint Mary’s student government would be a way for us to be representatives for students and take their concerns, thoughts and anything that they might need from us, and then implement that in the best way we can,” she said. “And provide for students the kind of home that they love as much as I do.”
Both members of this ticket have worked on various committees within SGA. Boehning began participating in student government as a sophomore, and has since served as a co-chair of the mission committee, as well as the secretary for internal affairs.
Having joined SGA as a first-year — a rare occurrence, as the governing body mostly consists of upperclassmen — Frick brings a unique amount of experience to the ticket. On the Sophia oversight committee, Frick served as a student liaison to those who determine which courses will count for credit within the Sophia Program for Liberal Learning.
The ticket’s four-part, two-page platform addresses several aspects of student life at Saint Mary’s, including on-campus and off-campus engagement, dining services, dorm living, alumnae relations, tri-campus collaboration and the implementation of Saint Mary’s mission statement. Many of these line items feature collaborations with existing offices, such as Campus and Community Events and the Residence Hall Association.
Boehning and Frick told The Observer they hope to work closely with the College administration as representatives for the student body and they believe their deep connections with SGA will assist them in maintaining existing relationships within Saint Mary’s leadership. When asked if they would ever deem it necessary to object to a decision made by the administration, Boehning explained her position in short terms.
“If it’s not something we think is best for the students, then it’s something that we would object to,” Boehning said.
In these cases, Frick added, the pair would bring their concerns to the administration and hope to negotiate a mutual agreement.
“We’re both very comfortable going to the president and saying, ‘There’s a better way to make this work — it’s going to be more beneficial in the long run and the students are going to like it better,’” Frick said.
One of the ticket’s foremost proposals is the creation of a “virtual suggestion box,” which will take the form of an email chain or Zoom office hours, and will serve to advance transparency and offer a space for students to directly contact members of SGA.
“Whatever ideas, concerns, issues you have, we’re going to write them down, we’re going to talk to [the administration] … and try to get that idea implemented,” Frick said. “It’s a virtual supportive system that we want to create.”
Addressing college life in the midst of the pandemic, Boehning and Frick plan to provide students with at-home kits for students to use in their dorms while participating in a campus-wide Zoom event. Students learning remotely would also have the opportunity to participate in this type of activities.
Other in-person or virtual events will be made available to Notre Dame and Holy Cross students, the ticket said, to hopefully bridge relationships within the tri-campus and “reducing the stereotypes between campuses.”
Under the community pillar, Boehning and Frick hope to collaborate with small businesses in South Bend to create a “mini mall,” a select group of vendors who will come to campus. The ticket recognizes this proposal as the least feasible idea included in their platform, as they have yet to reach out to local businesses, and are unsure of how to best maneuver the financial and public health safety aspects of bringing these vendors to campus.
Additionally, the ticket expressed hopes to use larger spaces on campus for students to eat and socialize in a COVID-safe manner, removing the need for the dividers currently in use at the dining hall. The platform also promises extended hours in the dining tent outside of the student center, as well as the re-opening of Murphy’s Café and Spes Unica Café. Similar to a system previously implemented by Notre Dame Campus Dining, Boehning and Frick also proposed the opportunity for students to donate their extra meal swipes to a food pantry or a homeless shelter.
Boehning and Frick said this proposal is one of their most realistic items and will “give the students of Saint Mary’s a sense of almsgiving.”
The ticket’s Catholicism pillar details the pair’s plans to further implement the College’s mission statement. This portion of the platform includes daily Mass for students and the creation of an “information board or pamphlet” for those who aren’t Catholic but are interested in attending Mass.
“One of the things we wanted to do was reach out to non-Catholics and make them feel like this is a place where they can be, just as Catholics can be here,” Boehning said. “And then for people who are of different religious backgrounds, maybe doing a student panel that gives [them] an opportunity to share their faith and what it means to them.”
By connecting with various faith groups, the ticket said, they hope to cultivate a more diverse campus.