Last February, seniors McKenna Schuster and Sam Moorhead found out they would be the new 2014-2015 student body president and vice president, respectively. Schuster, a business administration major with a minor in psychology, and Moorhead, a chemistry and Spanish double major, had been previous acquaintances, but running together was not the original plan.
"It wasn’t something we really planned on,” Schuster said. “One day Sam came up to me and said, ‘You’re running for president? Can I be your VP?’”
The student body president and vice president positions are tasked with many responsibilities throughout their one-year term. Schuster and Moorhead said these tasks were not always what they expected but turned out to be rewarding all the same.
"I expected it to be really busy but really fulfilling,” Schuster said. “We knew that other people were going to be counting on us to get things done.”
McKenna Schuster (left), Sam Moorhead, Lauren Vidal and Matthew Devine worked to enhance community on their respective campuses through the 29 for 29 program at Notre Dame and the SMC card initiative.
Schuster also said being able to watch various plans come into action was exciting.
"I think seeing what our committee chairs accomplished was really fun, especially Love Your Body Week and Support a Belle, Love a Belle in the fall semester,” Schuster said. “Sam and I didn’t work on that personally, but those were things we were able to encourage our other members of SGA to get going and be successful with.”
Schuster and Moorhead said although they did not expect to be working with administration as much as they did, it ended up being an enlightening part of the job.
“It was a cool experience to be able to work so closely with them and know things that are going on in our community,” Moorhead said.
“It was mostly administrative work and team work,” Schuster said.
During their time in office, Schuster and Moorhead accomplished many tasks previous administrations had begun work on. One of the achievements they were able to fulfill was a substantial revamp of the Saint Mary’s student body constitution.
“One of our biggest goals was restructuring and formatting the constitution so that it was a more cohesive, concise document and was more applicable to all of the student organizations on campus,” Schuster said. “That was a big task that SGA has been working on for the past four years, and it wasn’t working. In a month Sam and I had brought members of SGA together to get that done.”
Another task the seniors set out to accomplish was the updating of the finance guidelines.
“It will now be way easier for students and organizations to understand how to apply for money, how to receive sponsorships and travel grants and work better with our vice president of finance and administration,” Schuster said.
Schuster and Moorhead said they aimed to increase student involvement in activities over the course of the 2014-2015 academic year.
“The SMC cards that we launched first semester were really successful,” Moorhead said. “There was a huge increase in involvement in events this year, which is really exciting for us to see.”
Their advice for future student government leaders is to stay organized and work together.
“Find someone you work well with,” Schuster said. “I could not have done this without Sam at all.”
Both Schuster and Moorhead have plans for post-graduate life. In the upcoming year, Moorhead will be working for a company in Indianapolis, and Schuster will most likely be moving to Chicago to discover what's next for her.
“I’ll be working through the Orr fellowship in Indianapolis next year for a company called Apparatus,” Moorhead said. “That’s what I know for now.”