Martinez Camacho, Haas administration stick to SGA constitution, candidacy platform

In the 2022 student body elections, Saint Mary’s student body president Angela Martinez Camacho campaigned with vice president Josie Haas on a seven-pronged platform. That platform included goals to promote inclusivity and diversity, continue community-building in the tri-campus and improve overall student health.

Martinez Camacho said she felt that despite challenges, she thinks their administration has done a good job at pursuing their platform and upholding the Student Government Association (SGA) Constitution.

“In my humble opinion, I think we’ve done very well with the semester,” she said. “I think we’ve completed quite a few things from our platform, and other policies and procedures of our constitution. So, I feel good about us and our team.”

For their goals of promoting diversity and inclusion, Haas said student government has been working with the Sexuality and Gender Equity club to both expand the club by including a representative at Holy Cross College and provide a “partnership-buddy” program by offering mentorship for the LGBTQ+ community on campus.

“Especially as a Catholic institution, we want to make sure that our queer Catholics feel safe and accepted on campus,” Haas said.

Also part of the diversity and inclusivity goal, Martinez Camacho said their administration rolled out a list of off-campus resources for non-Catholic students to practice their faith through their mission committee. 

To improve student health on campus, the leaders described working to roll out classes that promote physical well-being as well as making resources for victims of sexual assault more available to students. Haas mentioned that they recently rolled out a “mini-website with links of Title IX and related sexual violence resources on campus.” 

Additionally, Martinez Camacho said their administration plans to collaborate with the Student Diversity Board, Black Students Association and other organizations through their campus inclusivity committee in the spring semester.

Along with the three goals mentioned above, their platform had goals to improve campus sustainability, make themselves available to the student body with adequate “student reach-out,” host giveaway events and improve classroom instrumentation at the College.

The leaders said that their administration has made progress for each of these goals, with the exception of the classroom instrumentation policy. 

Through the sustainability committee, Haas said they have worked to reduce food waste in the dining halls. In increasing student reach-out, she mentioned that the newly added suggestion box on student government emails has been productive. 

Additionally, their administration has hosted multiple giveaways for Saint Mary’s students, including a recent giveaway of 46,556 hats.

“Those were a hit. People love them” Haas said of the hats.

Martinez Camacho said the obstacles to meeting the needs expressed by students of better instrumentation in their classes have risen from the student government’s limited abilities to influence the funding of the College’s academic departments.

“As student government, we can’t necessarily help out with the funding, whereas we thought we could, because that’s just a whole different institutional process which we just can’t touch or be part of,” she explained.

Regardless, Haas said their administration did not fully abandon the issue, and instead has resorted to “acting as the voice of students” alongside professors who are already expressing a need to improve instrumentation for classes.

Outside of their platform goals, the two have worked to continue “sticking to our constitution,” Martinez Camacho said. “Josie and I felt that it sort of wasn’t always being followed with past presidencies. Sticking to all of it through our committees, that was also a main goal of ours.”

Haas and Camacho also expressed gratification to both the student government committees and the Saint Mary’s College administration for helping with their goals of improving student life on campus.

“It’s so fulfilling to see all of the leaders that we have on campus,” Haas said, “To be on the receiving end of people wanting more, wanting to see Saint Mary’s be great, I think it’s exciting to see that.”

Martinez Camacho said taking on the role of student body president has indeed been a difficult job with a lot of responsibility, but she felt that she and Haas were fit for the challenge.

“It has been everything: frustrating, overwhelming, exciting, fulfilling,” she said. “Being a student means prioritizing academics, and then being a leader means prioritizing all of this. It becomes a lot at one moment, but I think that it’s diverse skills and through our experience that we’re able to just manage it all.”

Review: Martinez Camacho and Haas have led a proactive student government administration thus far into their terms as president and vice president. They take their roles seriously and have stuck to the platform that they ran for office on as much as they could, despite a few institutional limitations in SGA. Heading into the spring semester, with their terms coming to a close, the leaders still have work to do. Martinez Camacho and Haas must not let up on plans to collaborate with student diversity groups on campus nor should they let go of ideas to provide classes supporting physical well-being for students. Their platform features mostly achievable goals on improving campus sustainability, inclusion and the like, and it is up to them whether or not these goals are achieved.

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SGA hosts ‘Support A Belle Love A Belle’ week

For the first week of November, Saint Mary’s College Student Government Association (SGA) hosted “Support A Belle Love A Belle” (SABLAB) week.

SABLAB week has been a fall tradition held on Saint Mary’s Campus, with events spanning an entire week. Its intention, SGA president Angela Martinez Camacho explained, is to encourage the building of community among Saint Mary’s students. 

“SABLAB week is simply celebrating what it means to be a Belle, building community between one another and having fun throughout a one-week period,” Martinez Camacho said. 

For the first time, this year SGA worked ‘Smick Day’ into the SABLAB week of events. This incorporation led to collaboration with many different SGA committees.

Thalia Mora, co-chair of the Social Concerns Committee, spoke on the efforts necessary to make a week like this happen.

“Preparation was a lot of working with my co-chair for Social Concerns, Hannah Kaczor, to budget, order, design and set up these events. We also collaborated with other SGA committees like Student Life and Involvement who really headed up Smick Day and the Academic Liaison Committee for our alum mixer,” Mora said.

Events started at the beginning of the week, early Monday morning, with Chick-fil-A for breakfast in Spes Unica Hall.

“I think students appreciated a yummy start to the week, starting on a good note,” Martinez Camacho said. 

Progressing through the week, Tuesday’s event provided students with information from Callisto, and Wednesday’s events included a “Proud Smick” t-shirt pop-up in Le Mans Hall, along with the Smick Day event itself.

“Tuesday, we tabled with a representative of Callisto to promote the online tool to students — especially as we continue or address and fight against sexual violence. Wednesday, we had a t-shirt pop-up around 3 p.m. and Smick Day later in the afternoon,” Martinez Camacho said. “I think this was my favorite day and event because we provided that sense of community to our students through food and various other activities.”

Mora explained the on-campus significance of SABLAB, specifically the students’ positive feedback at events throughout the week.

“During many of the pop-ups and events throughout the week, we got so many comments about how it would make people’s day and that it made them feel appreciated as a student and a Belle. It was really cool to hear and see how excited students were about the little things that reminded them that they are cared for,” Mora said. 

Martinez Camacho illustrated the overall impact the week of events had on the students and the Saint Mary’s community.

“As a historically all-women’s college, we are incredibly unique. This week allows us to celebrate that uniqueness and embrace and reinforce the community that has been built.” Martinez Camacho explained. “Especially as the semester is starting to come to a close, we want our students to feel supported by all of the Belles around them, knowing that this is a community that is right there to demonstrate love, unity and fight for their best interests.”

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Period Project provides students with free menstrual products

In the Saint Mary’s College public bathrooms there are baskets on the counter filled with period products. This is what is known as the Period Project around campus. 

Liz Baumann the Director of Student Involvement and Advocacy at Saint Mary’s College explained what the Period Project is exactly, “The Period Project has the mission of increasing access to period products while also decreasing the stigma and increasing education.”

The Period Project has a variety of goals, and many have already been accomplished. “Our initial goal has been to have free period products in at least one bathroom in every building on campus,” Baumann said. 

One of the boxes of free menstrual products supplied around Saint Mary’s campus.

However, the baskets on the counters are not the only way to access free period products. Baumann further explained, “In addition to that, we have full boxes of products in the Mother Pauline Pantry, so if students need more than just one product they can access that for free as well.” 

Increasing education about periods is another important goal for the Period Project. “On the other side of things, we have created programming to increase education and decrease the stigma,” Baumann said. 

The Student Body President Angela Martinez Camacho explains how the Student Government Association is involved with the Period Project, “Liz Baumann and Christin Kloski, both leaders of the Period Project, reached out to SGA and asked for partnership and sponsorship alongside hosting the period party.” 

In addition to hosting fun events like the period party, there will also be more education-focused events. “Throughout the year we’ll have additional events, bringing in experts in the field to talk about periods and menstrual cycles and related issues,” Baumann said. 

The Period Project has been helpful for many students across campus. Martinez Camacho expressed how she found the Period Project helpful, “Number one, I’ve heard quite a few stories of how students on campus were in moments of ‘oh my gosh I need a pad, tampon etcetera’ and the baskets from the Period Project have helped them in those moments.”

Baumann discussed why she thinks the Period Project is important for the Saint Mary’s community. “I think it’s important for everyone to have access to these products but especially in a space that is primarily women, primarily menstruators.”

One of the main things about the Period Project is how you can easily access these products. “Through administration and student government,  we can help to make someone else’s life a little bit easier. I think that’s the overall goal,” Martinez Camacho emphasized. 

However, the Period Project is still continuing to grow across campus. Bauman addresses different ways for the Period Project to keep growing, “Right now we are running only on donations. And we know that those can run out. So creating space in the Saint Mary’s budget to fund a project like the Period Project, I think is really important.”

The Saint Mary’s Period Project gets a variety of donations. “There are some alumnae that found out about the project and wanted to donate so that’s really exciting. All our funders are listed on the website; so I urge people to go there and see who they can thank,” Baumann said. 

Martinez Camacho conveys the message to always take period products if you ever need one. “We will always make sure that we give students, faculty, and staff accessibility to what we are promoting, and what we are giving to you all. So take it when you need it.” 

Baumann expressed her thoughts about periods, “I guess just the final thought is periods aren’t weird, periods aren’t gross, periods are normal and we should be able to talk about them openly. and that includes providing products openly.”

Krystyna Sowa

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Saint Mary’s hosts first event for the Period Project

Attendants of Wednesday night’s “Period Party” could expect a full room of Saint Mary’s students and community members, celebrating a new addition to the Saint Mary’s campus, the Period Project. Bingo was played, stickers and informational pamphlets were distributed, and music was blasted throughout Rice Commons located in Saint Mary’s student center.  

SGA President Angela Martinez Camacho and Vice President Josie Haas pose with other students at the Period Party

Liz Baumann, the Director of Student Involvement and Advocacy at Saint Mary’s opened the event with a word about the mission of the Period Project.  “We want to ensure that each student has access to basic needs on campus. The Period Project at Saint Mary’s College aims to provide free menstrual products to all students and campus community members” Baumann said. 

Baumann expanded on this mission to include the conversation surrounding periods, “We want to decrease period stigma and increase education and access to products on campus” Baumann stated. 

She commented on the hopeful longevity of this project, and the impact it has had on the Saint Mary’s community this year so far. “Products are also available across campus in bathrooms in every building. We hope that this project can continue to grow.”

“These products will help students who are seeking additional necessary support through campus. Be sure to look out for more events in the upcoming months,” Baumann continued. 

Baumann addressed the societal need for access to period products citing a 2021 BMC women’s health study “One in ten college students report that they cannot afford pantylines, pads, tampons, and other menstrual hygiene supplies.” Baumann said.

She talked about how the Period Project’s goal is to help provide these products. “Our goal is to provide free menstrual products in every building on Saint Mary’s campus. Additionally, we aim to keep a substantial supply of menstrual products in the Mother Pauline Pantry on campus for students to access them throughout the academic year” Baumann continued. 

Saint Mary’s sophomore, Isa Grace Guthrie expressed her thoughts on the conversation of periods themselves, “Periods need to be destigmatized. There’s a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about periods and I’m really glad that we’re having this conversation here at Saint Mary’s” Guthrie said. 

Junior Megan Maurer stated her excitement about the event and particular admiration of Baumann’s enthusiasm for the cause.

“I think this is a really cool thing. I love Liz [Baumann]. And I love that she’s very passionate about this and I think her passion makes everyone else feel better” Maurer said. 

Emily Sierkowski, a junior at Saint Mary’s, discussed her thoughts on the impact of the period party. “I just think that it’s really amazing that we are really advocating for our periods since we are all girls and we all have them. So it’s really nice that we’re recognizing it and celebrating it instead of dreading it,” Sierkowski noted. 

Liz Baumann commented on the success of the Period Party, “The party had much more attendance than we ever could have imagined. I ran out of everything, which is a great problem to have,” Baumann said.  

She continues on to speak of her perception of the student body and their advocacy towards this topic. “But I think that also speaks to the importance of the Period Project and how much our students do want to talk about periods, talk about their bodies, have access to products and decrease the stigma,” Baumann explained.  

Bauman expressed her thanks to Saint Mary’s Student Government Association as well as her excitement for future Period Project events. “I’m excited to continue to plan events, and we’re grateful to SGA for making this event so perfect,” Baumann finished.

Cora Haddad

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