MCSG President, Vice President on the coming year

By Kyle Coombs

Meet your MCSG President, Patrick Snyder ’13, and Vice President, Kai Peterson ’13. The Mac Weekly sat down with them to talk about the coming year. TMW: What would you like new students to know about you? Patrick Snyder: I hope there isn’t much of a distinction between me as a person and me as a President. I’m a senior Hispanic Studies and International Studies major. I have been involved in MCSG since my first year. When I came in I went to the org fair like everyone else and wanted to do all hundred or so orgs. So I decided to get involved in MCSG and live vicariously through other orgs. Kai Peterson: My experience is a little different than Pat’s. I wasn’t involved until the end of my sophomore year. Cailin Rogers ’13 asked me to be her running mate for junior rep since we studied abroad opposite semesters. I’m also a Political Science/Chinese double major. I like to encourage others to engage in their community. It bothers me when people complain about problems without trying to address them. I have been on the tennis team since first year, but no orgs. I served on the Financial Affairs Committee and worked hard on communicating issues. That’s why it is important for me to be the Chair of the Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC). Can you speak about the structure of MCSG a bit? PS: Well, the legislative body has 26 members: six executive members and 20 representatives, five from each class. MCSG is made up of five committees: the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC), the Student Organizations Committee (SOC), the Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC), the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) and Program Board (PB). Well, the Program Board chair is on the Exec Board, but it operates autonomously. Can you talk about what each committee does a bit? KP: The FAC gets requests from student orgs to put on specific events and evaluate them based on the guidelines MCSG sets and has published. PS: FAC does the thankless job of being stewards of the Student Activity Fee and doling it out. It is difficult because there are 106 organizations. That number has grown quite a bit, and with it the demand for funds. So we recently made the decision not to fund food unless it was integral to the event. KP: The SSRC is introducing the Community Chest this year. It is a pot of money for events. It passed very quickly and without much clarity on rules, intentionally. We’ll start evaluating requests as they come in, explore what kind of events are happening and bring more clarity to the uses of the Chest. Right now you could come to us with an idea for “Pantless Friday” and we would vote on it. Most important is that it’s open to anybody. The SSRC is also the public relations arm of MCSG. We gather input and information from the student body and also tell them about MCSG’s actions. PS: The AAC handles any questions and issues with academic life. Something big they do is the Textbook Reserve Program, which puts expensive textbooks for commonly taught, popular classes on reserve in the library. It’s a way to put the Student Activity Fee to good use. And the SOC? PS: The SOC advises student organizations and conducts an audit process to ensure orgs are healthy and functioning. It also charters new orgs based on institutional guidelines. This year the SOC is going to help orgs become more reflective on events and keep track of successes. Do you have any goals for the year? PS: I have a few. We are starting an event follow-up form immediately and tweaking it as we go. The event follow-up form looks like more paperwork at first glance, but it helps us to reliably and consistently keep track of events on campus and gauge their success. That is something we lacked in the past. The SOC will keep track of this information for orgs to check three years down the line if they forget specifics. I think Mac is best with a diverse, dynamic array of student organizations that are encouraged to be reflective about their contributions and receive all the institutional support they need from MCSG. The form will help the FAC effectively utilize the Student Activity Fee. Say we allocate $500, organizations will seldom spend all $500. If we know that, then we can take $100 back and reoffer it to other orgs. KP: Otherwise, it ends up being part of the rollover surplus. PS: I also want to increase Mac’s presence off-campus. I want to create an off-campus issues committee. This committee will have students living on and off campus. I want to think more broadly about our neighborhood, perhaps encourage students to attend neighborhood council meetings or a block party. I want us to bridge the gap between students and their non-student neighbors. Does the motivation for the off-campus initiative come out of the recent Housing Ordinance? PS: The Housing Ordinance highlighted the need. I’m not going to pretend Mac Students don’t like to party and aren’t partially complicit, but I’m still 100 percent against it since I don’t think it is a good solution. However, I think in the absence of informal measures to solve issues, the community turned to formal measures like the ordinance. However, if we can create more of a community between students and their neighbors, then maybe informal measures will retroactively solve the problems. In a few years, I think people will see the ordinance is not doing what they want. What’s happening with the ice rink and rollover? PS: According to the process, we needed to make an ice rink happen. We’ve done a lot of research on that and drawn up diagrams and worked on it. KP: Progress has been made, obstacle after obstacle passed. Details have been cleared and we are cautiously optimistic. PS: We’d like to have one by this winter. We’re still trying to make it happen actively. What do you want to say to first-year reps? KP: It’s a great way to get hands-on experience. You delve into issues and are the first to hear about things. It is a great way to increase understanding of what happens and get to be a student leader early. PS: It’s an exciting experience. You find out first about every student org event we fund and can be a member of those orgs. You work with people of many opinions. That takes a lot of patience and you learn a lot of patience, say come finals week when you’re tired and the meeting has gone for two hours. KP: But Jim Hoppe brings candy. PS: Also, he is a tremendous asset and adviser. How can students see what is going on? PS: Our minutes are on the website, you can stop by during our office hours, which are on the website or go to the weekly meetings in Weyerhaeuser Boardroom every Tuesday at 7 pm. KP: You can also stop any of us and ask about things. We can all at least point you in the right direction. E-mail us too; personal e-mails are not off-limits. Just feel free to tell us your ideas. PS: All student government is a conversation between students and we’re all peers. End of story. refresh –>