Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) representatives reached out to the student body to improve accessibility this week under the title “Take Back MCSG Week”. The legislative body created Take Back MCSG Week to provide students a way to “learn more about their student government and…to take a more active and informed role in MCSG,” Rep. Jolena Zabel ’16 said.
The Student Services and Relations Committee proposed the idea to MCSG. The goal of the week was to foster a personal relationship between the student body, campus organizations and government in an effort to be “truly representative.”
“We felt a need . . . to provide opportunities for students and their representatives especially to communicate, bounce ideas back and forth, and really communicate,” Zabel said. “We believe the student government should be a reflection of the student body.” MCSG Vice President Rothin Datta ’16 agreed. He said that Take Back MCSG Week was one way to introduce representatives to the student body.
“We’re more than just the people who deal with funding,” he said. According to Datta, a main goal of the week is reaching out to “be a resource to individuals as well as orgs.” MCSG advertised events across campus and online. Café Mac table tents and Facebook messages alike prompted students to “Take back [their] student government!”
Both Datta and Zabel stressed the importance of representatives being present and visible at the week’s events. Representatives answered questions and “really [got] to know the people, needs, and wishes of their class,” Zabel said .
“[P]eople can get to know their representatives so they can know who to talk to when they have frustrations—however small,” Datta said. He added that he hoped students would not “feel nervous about just walking up to [representatives] and speaking their minds.” According to Datta, MCSG interactions with the student body have been less personal in the past, with a larger focus on surveys to gauge student attitude.
“We felt that it was our duty to make the process more personal and encourage people to come to share any ideas, complaints or thoughts they might have with us,” he said.
Take Back MCSG Week events range from information sessions to a black-light dance in Kagin Hill Ballroom next Wednesday co-hosted by the student organizations Adelante!, Europa, and Mac Hope. MCSG invited the student body to sit in on the weekly Legislative Body meeting on Tuesday, drink root beer floats with representatives in the Loch on Wednesday and play Family Feud on Thursday. Tonight, the “Chill With The Execs” event will be take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Bateman Plaza.
Datta and Zabel hope to see the effects move far beyond just this week.
“I think students will have a blast and see that MCSG is more dynamic and personal than what it might usually be interpreted as,” Zabel said. “My hope is that students take advantage and appreciate the numerous ways the members of LB [legislative body] especially are making themselves available.”