Students are what makes campus great. Without the various backgrounds, identities and beliefs at the university, students would lose the experience of each other.
Student-led organizations encourage those experiences by creating spaces where students can be themselves, meet new people and do something they enjoy.
None of that would be possible without proper spaces and resources, and this is exactly what student government is working hard to improve.
To many, the student government can seem like a “mysterious, shadowy figure, you’re not exactly sure what they do,” according to Executive Vice President Aidan Cunningham. “We’re working on really opening up,” he adds, “getting more of the general population involved.”
President Beverly Kinateder wants this year to be a complete “rebrand and revitalization” for student government. Connecting with the student body to communicate “who we are, what we do, how we can meet their needs, and how we can represent them,” is, according to Kinateder, the most crucial aspect of any student government.
The role of student government is to be known, trusted and used as a resource by the student body. In order to make a real difference, they need students’ help.
First-year music performance major and recently elected student senator Elizabeth Corn, states that “the goal of student government is to address the needs and concerns of all students on campus…if there’s no involvement from the student body we won’t get different views of campus.”
Student government is responsible for many improvements and events around campus. From things like free menstrual product dispensers, the senior soirée and to working towards bigger issues like student parking and commuter lounges, student government works on all aspects of campus life.
None of it though, would be possible without the students they work hard to serve and create a voice for. As senior senator, Mella Demissie, said,”There are small things faculty might overlook because it doesn’t affect them.”
Student government has the unique opportunity to do the work they personally see needs done. They learn, and largely live, at the university, too. They see the problems their fellow students have first-hand, and it is their job to help in any way they can.
Sen. Demissie recounts how she saw the need for students to interact with each other and make their voices heard.
“I came into college at the height of the pandemic and felt really isolated, like everyone else, and I just really wanted to make a difference in my junior year,” she said.
Demissie’s ideas to improve student life include more awareness about various religious accommodations on campus and finding ways to make pre-law students like herself feel more prepared.
Other senators like sophomore representative, Ellyson Bolyard, also have goals to represent their major within student government. As a conservatory student, Bolyard is especially interested in the needs of conservatory students, but also on connecting them more with the larger community.
“It made me a little sad,” she said, “I feel like the rest of the student population has that sense of community that the conservatory is a bit separate from.”
Working to bring together all departments and students is going to be a major focus for student government this year. “Stall talks,” social media posts and newsletters are all ways student government is working hard to increase student attendance at events. Supporting each other begins with showing up to various student-led events and groups.
Student government representatives are open to concerns and ideas for upcoming events. Representatives encourage the input of the student population and are working to be there for students. Open invitations to student government meetings are posted on their Instagram, @capitalsg, and idea boxes for students will be back open for submissions across campus soon.