October 17, 2003

SG prepares for school year after summer in Chicago

The new student government executive slate is ready to embark on a year-long journey of decision-making, change, and-—perhaps-—a little fun. After a summer of allocating money, the slate is preparing to welcome new members to student government.

The executive board members spent the summer in Hyde Park, working primarily on the Student Government Finance Committee (SGFC) to negotiate a budget to allot funding to registered student organizations (RSOs) for their summer events. By August, they had granted 92.6 percent of all requested funds.

The executive slate includes: president Bo LeiLei Shan, Vice President for Student Affairs Yanet Bahena, Vice President for Administration Noeline Arulgnanendran, and Student Liason to the Board of Trustees Jesse Ehrenfeld.

Elections for the other, subsidiary positions were held from 8 a.m. Monday to midnight Wednesday, with 17 first-years vying for positions. A new College and Graduate Council will convene with Shan on Sunday, October 19.

"The main focus of our campaign was to reform SGFC in order to ensure greater generosity and leniency," Shan said. "I think we've made a sincere effort towards that end this summer and hopefully that will continue into the fall."

When not working on the summer budget, the team constructed a plan for the academic year. It also contacted various student leaders and administrators to plan events for O-Week and the autumn quarter.

Shan said the continuation of SGFC reform is first and foremost priority. "We need to continue to give as much money—within reason, of course—to as many student clubs as possible. I'd rather be out of money in April, having funded great events throughout all of the fall and winter quarters, rather than to have funded stingy, crappy events while still having some money left over."

Another short-term goal for this year is to work closely with RSOs, helping to plan events by providing groups with event speakers.

Slate members hope to make SG a more student-friendly, accessible organization. Bahena in particular voiced concerns about the deterioration of SG's reputation in the eyes of students, which, as VP for student affairs, is her primary concern.

"Right now I feel as if students don't have much trust or interest in SG, and this is something that I want changed," Bahena said, adding that she plans to set up a new committee this quarter targeted towards RSOs.

SG is composed of several committees that manage different facets of student life. The organization's primary purpose is to represent student concerns before the administration, and, if necessary, to implement any changes that would benefit the campus community.

Shan said that people underestimate the difficulty of making these changes, as the number of different student issues constrains the officers. Still, he is optimistic, and cites past SG achievements.

"We brought computers to the Reynolds Club last year because of student demand. We are keeping the A-Level of the Reg open 24 hours a day because of student demand. The ‘international student' fee will no longer be exclusively charged to international students, again because of student demand," Shan said.