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MCSG President Stüven brings new outlook to position

“My role as president is one of being a facilitator,” this year’s MCSG president, Merrit Stüven ’17, said. She sees her job as an opportunity to work with the other students in MCSG to figure out what they want to do and how they should do it.

“Of course, I also have things I want to accomplish, but I’m not prioritizing them over the things that other people want to accomplish in MCSG,” she added.
Stüven’s support extends beyond MCSG members. Working more with student organizations has come up a lot this year. “We’re…thinking about how we can budget more efficiently so that all orgs can get the funds that they need, while also respecting that we don’t have enough funds to do all the things that students want to do on this campus”

Something else you can expect from MCSG this year is a written strategic plan; this would be a first for MCSG.
Stüven explained the importance of this plan: “Every year in MCSG people start over a little bit and we lose momentum, so people thought that would be a good way to, at least for three years in a row, have some goals to be working towards and some shared plans that go forward and that people can reference and make progress towards.”

One of these goals is making Macalester test-optional, meaning an ACT or SAT score would not be required in the application to the college.

A formal strategic plan is not the only new feature of MCSG this year.

“We created a new committee which is called the president’s cabinet or the MCSG cabinet, and it consists of myself, Colin Casey who is the vice president and three new elected positions,” Stüven reported.

The three new elected positions are the Sustainability Officer — which was formerly a work-study position but is now an elected position that includes voting rights — the Diversity and Inclusion Officer and the Community Engagement Officer. While Stüven says the cabinet members are still figuring out their roles, she added, “So far they’ve been doing some really cool thinking and planning on intersectionality between their three roles, because in all the conversation we’re having we’re finding that they’re really connected which was kind of what the goal was.”

Academic Affairs Committee chair Remy Eisendrath ’17 echoes Stüven’s sentiment of encouraging student engagement in MCSG. “In just my two to three weeks of time as chair, I have been thrilled to learn more about the Mac community and the various groups of people who passionately contribute to our experiences as students. From my position, I hope to engage with students’ perspectives on all issues, not just academic,” Eisendrath said. As chair, he is particularly excited about maintaining the “wildly successful” Textbook Exchange as well as ensuring that students feel empowered to create change on campus. Stüven also hopes for more input from non-MCSG students this year as well, potentially involving another structural change to MCSG. She would like to see parts of some meetings be “town hall format” where students can come and voice whatever they would like.
According to Stüven, “We meet for two hours on Tuesday nights and our meetings are open to everyone, and we publish our minutes and everything but it’s not as open as we want it to be.”

However, Stüven still encourages students to come to her office hours, which she advertises as “something that anyone can come to and you don’t have to be involved in MCSG or have a specific MCGS question, even, like if you just have a concern as a student at Macalester.”

Lastly, Stüven would like to accomplish making MCSG “a really positive space and a space that really feels to students like it represents them and is a body that advocates for their concerns and is accessible” as well as reminding students that “the people that make up MCSG are also students at Macalester and have the same concerns.”

Jen Katz contributed reporting to this article.

September 16, 2016

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