MCSG Overzoomer: LB discusses student body engagement and sustainability updates

MCSG Overzoomer: LB discusses student body engagement and sustainability updates

Ada Bruno

During this week’s MCSG meeting, Vice President Shreya Nagdev ’22 announced the decision to cancel the Nov. 3 MCSG meeting because of Election Day. 

“The prevailing sentiment was just to give more people time to vote,” Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) chair Hannah Gilbert ’21 said. 

The meeting will not be rescheduled because it is very difficult to get a time where everyone can meet. 

The discussion moved to talk of improving student body engagement with MCSG. Student Services and Relations Committee member Finn Odum ’21 raised the concern that the student body doesn’t think MCSG can bring about change. Social media was the main element in brainstorming ways to involve more student voices. 

“One of the things I am concerned about is making an MCSG platform but it seems really forced,” Odum said. 

The main goal of a social media platform would be to get candid answers to questions and concerns students have. 

To better interact with people, Chief of Staff Daryll Seneque ’23 suggested a MCSG Twitter account, because the platform is designed for updates. There was also talk of more faculty and staff members joining Twitter to get involved with students. 

Student Organizations Committee (SOC) chair Briah Cooley ’21 suggested introducing MCSG members in Instagram posts so students would know who the members are. She also mentioned that people are not looking for a highly professional feed, but rather something more accessible. 

The MCSG members grappled with the question of inclusivity within the Macalester community due to the student-athlete and non-student-athlete divide that is apparent this year. There was a recent controversy when students began arguing in the comment section of a Macalester meme Instagram account accusing student-athletes of  breaking the COVID community guidelines by eating in Café Mac instead of the Leonard Center (LC). 

“My main concern is why they were doing it, and the why is that they were concerned about food quality where they were,” said SOC member Ayana Smith-Kooiman ’22.

LB members briefly discussed the issue of dining options for vegans and vegetarians in the LC, while the conversation about ways to lessen the divide between student-athletes and non-student-athletes on campus was tabled to next week to give MCSG members more time to think of action steps. 

Next on the agenda, Sustainability Officer Kashvi Ajitsaria ’22 shared some insights from the Sustainability Office on its ongoing projects and efforts to improve. 

The sustainability office is creating smaller teams to work on subsets of the goals. Ajitsaria said the office is concerned about not reaching its goals of being zero waste and 30 percent real food by the end of 2020. Teams are working to create more realistic goals and looking into smaller concerns due to the disruption the pandemic has caused. 

To end the meeting, Nagdev asked for  any final announcements or comments. Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) member Austin Wu ’23 brought up concerns of mental health on campus and how MCSG can take a role in facilitating mental health care to students. The LB voted to establish a committee with goals in mind of initiating conversation between the student body and administration. 

“I think that addressing mental health at Macalester is perhaps more important than it’s been in a very long time,” Wu said. 

Finn Odum is a staff writer at The Mac Weekly.

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