As this academic year winds to a close, it is time to evaluate those who have led our student body through the good times and the bad: the Student Government. Though not without some drama, we can honestly say that this year’s SG has had its fair share of moments worth applauding, but it can still improve.
As SG President, Nate Bronstein has amazed us with his immense spirit and dedication to the job, and better yet, with the real changes he’s made this past academic year. Rather than waste time with the Undergraduate Senate, Bronstein has worked with the Faculty Senate, Board of Trustees and President Neil Kerwin to enact real change for students, including keeping the drop/add period the same length when the Faculty Senate considered shortening it.
Bronstein has also been seen everywhere on campus, from handing out Monsters to rallying together the student body when Westboro Baptist Church protesters visited AU. In addition, we at The Eagle have appreciated the access he’s granted us to SG and his acknowledgment that we’re working together to reach the student body; we have greatly appreciated his openness. Bronstein’s hours, energy and dedication have been unmatched, and we can only hope that President-elect Tim McBride emulates the same level of commitment.
Though the vice president is often less visible role than the president, KPU, SUB and Founders’ Day Ball all fall under the realm of the SG vice president, and Maia Tagami’s office has pulled off many of these events with aplomb this year. KPU brought in several great speakers this year, and the return of Founders’ Day Ball was a success. Though SUB went $11,000 over budget with the Cee Lo Green event, the office was open and honest throughout the crisis, although steps should have been taken to prevent the blunder in the first place. (Hint, hint Vice President-elect Liz Richards). Overall, kudos to Tagami and her office for putting on some great events this year.
Comptroller is not the most glamorous or desirable position, but Ed Levandoski did a great job this year keeping his office open and accessible, as well as functioning. The AUTO program is in good financial shape for next year, and the Bike Lending program is set to expand and continue its path of success. Levandoski has done a good job, especially in comparison to past years, and SG will miss him dearly.
Though the office of the secretary hasn’t had any major issues this year, the secretary’s job is all about communicating the SG image to the student body, and Kent Hiebel’s office has been lagging behind in that regard. Though his office put on some great events, outreach and publicity were minimal. How many people heard of the Gay-la that took place about a month ago in SIS? (Answer: Not many.) In addition, regular updates and necessary repairs to the website seem to have fallen by the wayside. Hiebel’s office could have done better job in keeping the student body informed and updated, and we hope Kevin Sutherland takes note of the lack of stellar success as he takes office next weekend.
Other important SG branches
We would like to applaud this year’s Undergraduate Senate for doing its job. The Senate has made some great progress in bringing ROTC back on campus and holding office hours. However, the Senate still has much work to be done in terms of diversity, recruitment and creating actual change. We can only hope that next year’s Senate gives us reason to rate them as successful, not just adequate.
This year’s Judicial Board and Board of Elections merit similar comments — we would like to thank them for doing their job properly. Though the branch usually comes to light during elections or during emergencies, its power is great — almost too great — when such occasions arise. While we appreciate some of this year’s procedural changes for elections (no one was thrown off the ballot), some of the changes seemed almost petty and unimportant. (If someone wants to take the time to make such a huge chalking, let it be, come on.) Once again, we only hope that next year’s Judicial Board and BOE improve their record so we can regale them for their success, rather than their ability to just get the job done.
Overall, this year’s SG has been much more effective at creating change and getting its job done than in years past, and we would like to commend those involved for restoring student faith in an organization plagued by drama and failure in years past. As we have said, we only have high hopes for next year’s administration, and we implore them to continue the work that was started this year in creating real change and truly helping the student body.