The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

MCSG Executive Board talks goals, hopes for upcoming year

At a roundtable discussion with the Mac Weekly, the MCSG Executive Board outlined their goals and hopes for the coming year in student politics and the campus at large. President Rothin Datta ’16 began by providing an overview of a few long-term issues that he expects to tackle in the upcoming year.

“Some areas we are planning on looking into are … the culture around Kagin dances, faculty diversity, sexual assault policy on campus, [and] admissions priorities,” Datta said.

“These are definitely long term projects,” Datta added of all the issues MCSG hopes to undertake this year.

Program Board chair Sana Naz ‘16 noted that many of these issues will likely be discussed at next Friday’s retreat.

Beyond the broad scope of MCSG projects, each committee highlighted its goals for the academic year.

“I’m really trying to work on making a senior to first-year mentorship program where ideas and scholarships and grants … can be exchanged,” Academic Affairs Committee Chair Ari Hymoff ’17said.

According to Hymoff, the AAC is still in the brainstorming phase. Some of the main goals of the mentorship program would be to help first-year students map out their academic career, with the guidance of their senior partner, as well as to inspire those first-years to in turn give back to the class of 2021.

Jennie Kim ’15, who chairs the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC), spoke to the importance of finding an space open to the expression of everyone’s opinion within the FAC.

“A goal that I have for my committee is to make sure that everyone can express their opinion about budget or additional allocation requests that come through without it being a huge deal or having someone feel like they can’t say anything or express their opinion,” Kim said.

Kim also spoke to the importance of making sure that the broader campus knows how both block budgeting and Check Book work. Block budgeting, in its second year of existence, allocates funds to organizations yearly as opposed to semesterly. Block budgeting allows clubs to request more financial support as needed and allows them to be more financially independent and autonomous.

Check Book is a financial tracker feature on Orgsync that alleviates the need to funnel transactions and financial updates through the FAC. Clubs can gain more access and responsibility for their own finances and budget.

“The idea is that [student orgs] keep their own finances and they always know how much money they have,” Kim said.

Student Organizations Committee (SOC) Chair James Lindgren ’15 discussed a few of the SOC’s goals for this new academic year. The first is to solicit more student opinion and inclusivity in managing the “Current Students” tab on the Macalester website.

Lindgren hopes the page will inevitably “be for students, by students; to highlight orgs; [and] to… increase the breadth of involvement that is showcased on that page,” which would not be possible without student input.

Lindgren added that the SOC is looking to host focus groups and gather information to make the best possible website that will reflect the priorities and ideas of the student body.

The Spring Org Fair is another main project for the SOC, including an initiative to make it easier for students to smoothly continue and be as involved in their club and organization interests in the spring semester.

“[We can] get all the cultural orgs together in one space and facilitate a mixer for them, and then use that space to also be the org fair in the spring,” Lindgren said. “So as students settle into their second semester they can jump back in and get as involved and as excited as they were when they first came to Mac.”

Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC) Chair and Vice President Abaki Beck ‘15 spoke to some broad campus goals as well as collective campus participation in accomplishing these projects.

“One of the things we talked about at [the SSRC’s] first meeting was strategizing more creative ways to get more passive presence of MCSG on campus. Just in terms of giving students updates on what we’re doing,” Beck said, who added that the majority of the SSRC is comprised of MCSG rookies. “A lot of us come from an outsider’s perspective of, ‘okay, in the past it’s been really hard to get information about MCSG unless you actively go looking for it.’ We’re trying to figure out a way to be more proactive and just be a lot more present in terms of telling students what MCSG is doing but then also getting more feedback.”

The SSRC also hopes to newly advertise the Community Chest fund to students. The Community Chest aids in connecting students to the right resources and financially helping those who may have a personal project but do not belong to a particular organization or club.

Beck also contributed heavily to the draft Strategic Plan with general initiatives to increase the number of diverse bodies on campus.

“We re-wrote the section in the strategic planning document that just came out on faculty, staff, and student diversity, which originally had five tactics, and we added 14,” she said.

Beck is hoping to get more members of MCSG involved in working with increasing racial diversity on campus and to “not just focus on the presence of diverse bodies on campus but facilitating interaction and inclusivity,” Beck said. “I hope to get more MCSG people involved.”

Naz stated that Program Board would bring back old favorites as well as some new programs. In collaboration with the Health and Wellness center, one of these programs is the Stop at Beyoncé Campaign.

“Stop at Beyoncé is something we’re going to start doing several months before Winter Ball to encourage people to practice safe drinking habits during off-campus events that we host,” Naz said.

Documentary programming will also be coordinated by the PB with academic departments to get students interested and involved in the PB, as well as with any interested student organizations.

“Another goal we’re really trying to focus on this year is to have more student input in terms of feedback,” Naz said, stressing that the input would be solicited before events. Using that feedback, Program Board could tailor Winter Ball and Spring Fest to the opinions of the student body.

Datta added that he will be holding forums to discuss the issues he highlighted at the beginning of the interviews.

“Holding forums, trying to figure out what the student body thinks about it, and then trying to connect to the right people on campus to actually make things real,” he said.

In short, a busy year awaits this year’s executive board and legislative body.

“We don’t think we’re going to solve everything this year,” Datta said. “But we’re trying to cast a wide net and do as much as we can.”

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