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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The Observer

Group undertakes campus-wide programming

Student Government Association’s (SGA) Council of Committee Chairs (CCC) sought to continue last year’s goal of transparency as well as increase student attendance in events this semester, CCC director and vice president of external affairs Katie Stare said.

Stare, a senior, said the 18 committee chairs and co-chairs work to address student interests and needs in the most effective way possible. The 12 committees include alumnae, athletic, community, first-years' concerns, food services, international, market research and media, mission, social concerns, Sophia Program, sustainability and technology.

“Of the 12 committees, the media chair has been the one that has seen the most changes this year,” Stare said. “Katie Calhoun, who is the chair of the committee, has worked extremely hard to make sure all of the SGA events are advertised on all social media outlets. She also personally designs the t-shirts for many of the events.

"Katie[Calhoun] has been a huge help this year in furthering our overarching goal in SGA to improve student participation and attendance.”

Stare said the committee chairs and co-chairs meet on a weekly basis to update one another on issues that come up, student feedback on events or their upcoming plans and goals.

“We are a very collaborative group, and as one of our main goals this year is to have every committee planning more events in order to best utilize our budgets, it’s great to have these weekly meetings so we can all join forces and inspire each other to be successful,” she said. “Our CCC budget is larger than it has been in the past, so we are all trying our best to reap the most benefits from this upgrade.”

Five of the committees put on “big weeks” on campus to highlight different issues among the campus community and raise awareness of different social concerns. These “big weeks” take extensive planning — the committees work months in advance to design the weeks — and thus, the committees’ duties are mostly narrowed to one specific focus.

“I think that’s something that could definitely be improved,” international co-chair and senior Catherine Sullivan said. “Right now, it’s like the committee chairs have their ‘big weeks’ to focus on, and then they are pretty much done for the year after the week takes place.

"My chair is one of the few positions that actually has to think of one or two events for every month, since I don’t have a ‘big week’ to plan for. It helps me involve my issue of the international community at Saint Mary’s in events throughout the year.”

Stare said the “big weeks” that have taken place already this fall semester have been Support a Belle, Love a Belle (SABLAB) and Food Week. SABLAB was organized by social concerns co-chairs and seniors Kaitlyn Tarullo and Chloe Deranek, and Food Week was planned by food services chair and sophomore Mary Kate Luft and sustainability co-chairs Chelsey Fattal and Eleanor Jones, both juniors. (Editor's note: Luft is a Viewpoint copyeditor at The Observer. Fattal is a News writer.)

“I was really impressed with both of the ‘big weeks’ that have happened so far,” Stare said. “I think what made the weeks so successful were their emphases on diversity."

“SABLAB had the student panel with a lot of different mental illnesses being represented and talked about, and then the week concluded with Mr. [Tom] Seeberg coming to talk and be an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “Similarly, Food Week incorporated different sorts of food but also a yoga event, so healthy eating and living were shown working hand-in-hand. Diversity is something we always try to accommodate in all SGA events, so these weeks did a great job integrating that goal.”

The CCC will be especially busy helping the alumnae and mission committees and social concerns committee plan Heritage Week and Love Your Body Week, respectively, in the spring semester, Stare said.

“Since student attendance at the events that have already happened this year has been greatly improved, we hope that in the ‘big weeks’ to come, the same sort of turn out will occur,” she said. “It’s amazing what the small but mighty Saint Mary’s community can do when we collaborate and come together to unite behind certain causes and events.”

The Council of Committee Chairs has been successful in facilitating the 12 committees’ events and ambitions, aimed to promote student participation in SGA events to build a strong community and utilize the allocated budgets in fruitful ways. (A)