MCSG seeks to increase profile, input

By Hannah Haley

Brian Stephenson ’10 wants to ensure this year that every student at Macalester College knows what the acronym MCSG stands for. Stephenson, vice president of the Macalester College Student Government, said that he wants to make student government more visible and to increase student input and initiative. “Our goal is to facilitate channels between students and the administration, to help students navigate the bureaucracy in the administration,” Stephenson said.

In an effort to gauge student attitudes and feelings, Stephenson and MCSG have been devising ways to both collect and spread information on campus. Stephenson is currently working to bring comment boxes to the formal lounges of all the residence halls. Comments would be read and directly addressed by Stephenson and other members of the student government. Students can always directly contact government representatives, Stephenson said, but the comment boxes would provide a more convenient channel for communication.

“Students have a vested interest in what goes on within the administration,” Stephenson said. “In the past, the student government has been wrapped up in itself. This year we want to be in tune with student initiative.”

He is working to install a mannequin at the Student Post Office, which could be dressed to promote different student events.

“It could be a very eye-catching advertisement,” Stephenson said. “There is only so much posters can do. We want to really let people know what is going on campus.”

MCSG is also working with an idea to host regular “Lunch with the Execs” forums, in which members of the Executive Board, one body of MCSG, would be accessible to field student questions over lunch.

“My goal is to make things as easy as possible and to bring the visibility and initiative to students,” Stephenson said.
MCSG is made up of two student-elected bodies: the Executive Board and the Legislative Body. The Executive Board is comprised of the president, vice president, and the chairs of four commissions-the Financial Affairs Commission, the Academic Affairs Commission, the Student Affairs Commission, and the Program Board. The Legislative Body includes 20 elected representatives- five from each class- and the six executive board members.
The responsibility of the Executive Board is to try to be the voice of the students, MCSG president Franz Meyer said.

“We talk about what’s going on on campus,” Meyer said. “We communicate with the student body and take those thoughts and concerns to the administration. Right now, I am working on a commission to organize a survey to make recommendations to the Task Force on Budget,” he said.

Every year at Macalester, a pool of money raised in large part by the student activity fee is allocated to different organizations and projects.

“We have an influence on what that money goes to,” Meyer said.

While members of MCSG are advised by Jim Hoppe, dean of students, the students have control over what projects they work on and what they accomplish.

“Jim acts as a historical reference for us. He lets us know what others have done and what will be feasible for us to accomplish,” Stephenson said of Hoppe. “We have never received a dictate from Jim and he is separate from all decisions we make.