Margaret Brent Relocation a Success

Minutes before midnight on Sept. 13, crowds of students gathered in anticipation to witness the move of Margaret Brent Hall across Route 5 to its new location, the Campus Center parking lot behind Aldom Lounge.

After being delayed one night due to inclement weather conditions, the 4,100 square foot building made it safely to the Campus Center parking lot in the early morning hours of Sept. 14.  “It was up Rt. 5 and off Rt. 5 by 4:30 that morning,” said Associate Vice President for Planning and Facilities Charles “Chip” Jackson.

After the initial move, Margaret Brent was checked for any damages made while on its voyage before it was lowered into its final resting place.  According to the website of the Office of Planning and Facilities, the interior of the building will see many new changes and improvements before it is used again including a lobby, kitchenette, mail room, 12 offices, a 30-seat classroom, and a seminar room.

“It all went terrifically,” said Jackson, about the move itself.  “It was incredible just to watch the building actually being moved.”

The original idea to move Margaret Brent was proposed by Vice President for Business and Finance Tom Botzman “roughly a year and a half ago,” said Jackson.  “He posed the first question of if we could move it versus tearing it down.  How to move it and where was then controlled by my office.”

Jackson gave three basic reasons for why the move took place, rather than just tearing down and rebuilding Margret Brent Hall.  One is economics. “It would have cost about a half of million dollars more [to rebuild],” said Jackson.  “It’s also more sustainable.  There’s a lot of energy going into the construction of a building, so there’s a green component as well.”  And though Margaret Brent, built in 1950, is not a historical building, Jackson feels it’s “an important building in our past and adds to our college.”

In its new location, Margaret Brent Hall will house the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

“I’m very excited about the move,” said Professor of Religious Studies Daniel Meckel.  “[Margaret Brent] is a nice building, and it brings the department closer to the center of campus.”

Meckel hopes the new location of the department will allow occasional outdoor classes to be more possible as well as introduce a more appealing student hang out spot.  “I would like to see students flowing in and out as much as possible,” he said.

The current home of the department is in Anne Arundel Hall, which is set to be torn down in Fall 2013 to make way for the new Maryland Heritage Interpretive Center, to be completed in summer of 2016, according to Jackson.

This new 33,700 gross square foot center, in addition to the replacement of Anne Arundel Hall, will allow Historic St. Mary’s City and college academic programs in anthropology, museum studies, and language and cultures to collaborate in preserving the historical and archaeological aspect of the first capital of Maryland.  The site will feature a new courtyard, more handicapped accessibility, additional college parking, safer walkways and roadways, and new landscaping surrounding the complex.

Urgo hosts second crab feast

Correction: This years Crab Feast was the second held at President Urgo’s house, not the second annual Crab Feast as originally reported.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, the annual Crab Feast was held at College President Joseph Urgo’s house for the second year in order to benefit the senior class.

Despite the rain that poured for most of the afternoon, the feast carried on with many happy students either expertly picking apart the Maryland Blue Crabs or helping out friends by coaching them in a popular Maryland pastime.

Although 90 tickets were bought at $25 apiece, roughly 150 people attended the event, according Class of 2012 President Stephon Dingle. He said, “there was a big turnout. A lot of people brought friends.”

To block out the rain, white tents were erected around the two separate sitting areas, as well as over the main line where attendees were able to pick up a dozen crabs, drinks, sides, vinegar and Old Bay seasoning. Holiday string lights lined the tents, and guests, as well as Urgo, commented on the festive look of the event.

Dingle stated there were 95 dozen crabs purchased for the event, which roughly equates to 17 or 18 bushels. He also mentioned that the amount of money raised for the senior class has not been totaled as of yet. An unverified source, though, said that it was only $200. This would not help the Class of 2012, which is already low on cash.

While the seating was limited and difficult to find during the big rush from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., many students decided to bag their crabs and take them home. Those who stayed, though, were able to watch the sun slowly set over Urgo’s dock, which sits on the St. Mary’s River across from the school, as they enjoyed the company of other students and staff members.

“I thought it was really nice,” said senior Jackie Reymann, who also proudly declared that she accomplished eating all twelve of her crabs by herself. “I like that it is at Jurgo’s. It was nice to sit down and be with friends while eating crabs.”

In order to accommodate for the number of people coming to and from the event throughout the night, there was a shuttle that conveniently carried attendees from Daughtery-Palmer Commons on-campus to the front steps of Urgo’s home.

President Urgo was also pleased to host the event at his house for the second year in a row. “We love it,” he said. “After last year, we looked forward to it.”

Urgo also stated that it was great to be able to see the senior class and have them all get together, as well as saying that it was the “first of many interactions” with the seniors for the rest of the school year.

"Divided We Fall" Film and Director Bring Message of Tolerance

Four days after the September 11 terrorist attacks by radical Islamists from the Middle East, a self-proclaimed American “patriot” retaliated by murdering an Arizona gas station owner—a native of India whose Sikh religion required him to wear a turban. Although the victim was a stranger to then 20-year-old Valarie Kaur, she shared his religion, and the senseless murder so shook her that she spent the next four days holed up in her room, escaping in the world of Harry Potter. But on the fifth day, Kaur decided that she needed to respond, and she wound up spending the next eight years completing a documentary.

On Friday, on Sept. 23, Kaur came to St. Mary’s to share her work, “Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath of 9/11,” and to lead a discussion about fear and religious tolerance in the decade since the towers fell.

The film explored the hate crimes and discrimination against both Muslims and those mistakenly perceived to be Muslims that swept the U.S. in the wake of 9/11. In the seven days following 9/11, there were 1,000 hate crimes and 19 murders of Arab and ‘Arab looking’ people.

Kaur focuses especially on the hate directed towards Sikhs, the followers of an Indian religion that traditionally require male followers to wear long beards and turbans. Although the Sikh religion is focused on the brotherhood of man, the turbans and bears make them look, to many Americans, like the Muslim radicals that have come to personify terrorism.

Kaur tells the stories of Sikhs living in the post 9/11 world as a means of exposing the way that the war on terror has constructed a view that equates being or looking Arab with being Muslim, and being Muslim with supporting terrorism.

On film, Kaur interviews law professors, Americans with ignorant and hateful views of Arabs, and those victimized by hatred. She chronicles the story of a white man stabbed for being with his Arab friend, a white woman who realized that she had been living with an irrational fear of Muslims, and a young Muslim boy who had been facing taunts that he was “Osama Bin Laden’s son.” One story that is widely discussed in the documentary is the murder of the gas station owner, Balbir Singh Sodhi, whose murder shook the Sikh community and Kaur herself.

The discussion and movie screening was organized by sophomore Pooja Taneja, who first saw the film in her Advanced Placement World History class in high school and fell in love with it. “I knew the stuff that was going on in my South Indian community but I didn’t know that it was to that extent. I had family friends that had experienced hate crimes, but I didn’t see it with my own eyes. But in the film she shows it, and it was really powerful.” She says that she had been surprised that so few people on campus knew what Sikhism was “and I thought, ‘they have to know’. They need to know what the religion is and what [the Sikhs] went through.”

After the movie screening, instead of a typical question and answer, Kaur led a powerful discussion about discrimination in America. The feeling in the room was incredible. Many students expressed shock at the level of hatred against Sikhs and Arabs that occurred, some expressed that they really related with the Sikhs in the film. Some were crying and many others expressed regret at their ignorance of Sikhism or their lack of outrage at the discrimination that was going on. Kaur led the discussion with grace and compassion, making sure that everybody got their chance to be heard and keeping careful record of what was being said and who was saying what.

Kaur then took the stage and gave a speech incorporating the questions that had been raised during the discussion.  Among other things, she talked about how she learned to handle hearing about intense racism and discrimination on a regular basis without coming away jaded or feeling hatred in return. She admitted that as she traveled the country collecting stories, “Somewhere along the way… I had a really hard time not becoming angry and bitter.”

Sometimes she found it hard to continue the fight with compassion and love, but at some point she had a powerful realization: “I walked home from school and an African American kid was walking toward me in the street. And I crossed the street. And I pulled my bag close and I felt this knot in my stomach. And for the first time in my life I asked ‘why is my body reacting this way, when my mind isn’t saying a word? I realized that we all have done this in some way. That in a way we shouldn’t feel guilty.  It’s not the first moment that we have responsibility over, it’s the second moment. Because in the second moment, we can decide to go along unthinkingly with the stereotypes that are in the air about how we should react. Or we can ask ourselves, ‘what has been wired into me? And what is the difference between protecting myself and harming another person?’” She argues that this recognition–that we have all been seen as outsiders as well as seen others as outsiders–is the beginning of addressing racism.

At the end of her speech, Kaur left the audience with one final message: “In college, many of you have the desire to do something good. To change the world in some way. When you leave college there are so many forces that will try to extinguish that flame. There’s a question of career, and marriage and economic hardship. All I ask is that you keep that flame alive…find the friends who nourish it, find the professors who nourish it, find the texts that nourish it. Keep those close to you… Because you’ll need those to keep that flame alive.”

Before the screening, Pooja said that she hoped that “this film will have an impact on [the students] as a community and that they will spread the word. That’s what Kaur’s mission is, to spread the word about what happened and to change people’s perspectives.” From the standing ovation that Valarie Kaur received after her talk, it seemed that that hope was realized.

Resolution Encourages Grind to Stop Serving Chick-fil-A

As a result of student outcry, The Daily Grind stopped serving Chick-fil-A for this school year.

Richard Wagner, Manager of the Campus Store, said, “we support the SGA (Student Government Association)  resolution that passed last spring which urged us to sever all business ties with Chick-fil-A before the start of the 2011-2012 school year. Therefore, we discontinued the program.”

The resolution essentially involved three parts. The first linked Chick-fil-A to anti-LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) organizations, and specifically pointed out the 12 million dollars donated to the WinShape Foundation. The second focused on the College’s desire for diversity and acceptance of LGBTQ students. The third was that Blue Wind Gourmet, the new food vendor available in The Daily Grind every Wednesday, could satisfy everyone.

Ultimately the resolution states, “The Student Government Association of St. Mary’s College of Maryland (urged) the administration of President Joseph Urgo and the staff of The Daily Grind to do all in their power to sever all business ties with Chick-Fil A before the start of the 2011-2012 school year.” Also, “The Student Government Association of St. Mary’s College of Maryland fully (endorsed) Blue Wind as an on-campus food vendor given its pro-environment, pro-local, pro-diversity mission and delicious food.”

The resolution also brought up a co-sponsored petition that received 450 signatures that opposed business relations with Chick-fil-A. The sponsors included some members of The St. Mary’s Triangle and Rainbow Society (STARS) and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Last year, the clubs organized a boycott that involved handing out fliers to people telling them not to buy Chick-fil-A and why.

Sophomore Liz Sheehan, former employee at The Daily Grind, said, “The students who worked there thought that they were no longer allowed to serve Chick-fil-A after the resolution passed, but they soon were told that this wasn’t true.” The SGA resolution could not directly affect The Daily Grind unless the managers decided they wanted it to. “We weren’t sure if it was coming back or not at the end of last year, but I guess now we know for sure,” Sheehan said.

River Center Introduces New Hours, Now More Available to Students

The James P. Muldoon River Center is now available to the St. Mary’s community everyday from 5 to 11 p.m.

Starting on Sept. 12, the pilot program has and will continue to allow reserved space for student or faculty events and study hall. On Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, the River Center will be utilized by campus groups hosting special events, and students are welcome to use the River Center as a study space on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.

Last fall, President Joseph Urgo’s cabinet assembled a taskforce that met several times over the course of last year to decide how to make better use of the building. In the three years of the River Center’s existence, Assistant Dean of Students Kelly Schroeder and a member of the taskforce, noticed that students were not using the building as much as they could be.

“I think some students perceived the River Center as only being available to certain groups such as the sailing team, and I wanted to make it more accessible to the whole student body,” Schroeder said. What started as a request to open the River Center to students during final exams week turned into the creation of the taskforce.

Schroeder also wanted to open up more jobs for students, and extending the hours of the River Center while the waterfront office is closed would mean that someone would be needed to supervise the building during the evening hours. To make students more aware of the great space for studying and events that the River Center has to offer, Schroeder decided to host continued programming there throughout the year.

Adam Werblow, Director of the Waterfront, says that some of the concerns brought up during the deliberations was the treatment of the facility, especially after an incident that occurred three years ago in which the building was left unlocked following an event, and two televisions and other electronics were stolen.

The River Center was not designed for late-night parties that require someone to “babysit” the building, which is furnished with expensive bamboo tables. Werblow cited that messes were left after faculty speeches or receptions, which could damage such costly furniture, and says “the campus community needs to look out for the facility or it won’t be as nice.”

Assistant Director of the Waterfront Rick Loheed, who manages the River Center’s scheduling, said that the River Center had always had a large number of requests from students and faculty to use the “awesome” room on the second floor, with its great view of the sunset. The River Center’s slightly isolated location prevented some from wanting to “leave it wide open” for students to possibly do some damage late at night. However, the River Center staff stresses that the building is an open and practicable space on campus. “We work hard to be sure the facility is available for all students, and always have,” says Loheed.

According to the River Center’s facility manager Michael Kuschner, the NFL Monday Night Football party, held on the evening of Sept. 12 to kick off the River Center’s new hours, yielded a great turnout. “There were 50 to 60 people coming and going all night for the chips and guac, so it looks like there’s good support for it.”

Zylak Holds First Open Hour; Discusses Public Safety Commissions

On Friday September 23, Interim Director of Public Safety Dave Zylak held the first of a regular open hour at the Campus Center to address student concerns about Public Safety’s pending police commissions. A dozen students attended and asked questions about the commissions, sexual assault, and officer training.

Zylak opened the hour by discussing his personal background in law enforcement and some of the changes he has had to make moving into a campus setting such as seeking input from students. He said, “I realized very soon that students have a say in what goes on and I think that’s a good thing.”

The conversation quickly turned to the police commissions. Zylak said nearly all college campuses in Maryland have commissioned officers and until recently, most officers at St. Mary’s were commissioned officers.

According to Derek Thornton, the Assistant Vice President for Campus Operations, who ran Public Safety from 2007 to 2010, “there were three [commissioned officers] initially and two provisional commissions granted during my tenure.” Obtaining commissions became a priority again when Public Safety moved from the Business and Finance Department to Student Affairs Department last year, according to the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Laura Bayless.

Students expressed concerns with the return of the police commissions. Senior Jack Mumby, Townhouse Senator, said, “my fear is some freshman comes and has a stupid night and now they have a criminal record.”

In response, Zylak said the internal policy will be that arrests will only be made after he approves. When asked what kind of situation in which he would approve an arrest he said, “if you punch a Public Safety officer in the face, you will be arrested.”

Zylak also said he does not intend to change the number of arrests on campus. According to him, all cases that would be handled through Judicial Board now will still be handled that way and more serious crimes will still be handled by the sheriff’s office. “We have a memorandum of understanding with the sheriff’s office to handle serious crimes like murders, rapes etc… We are not equipped to investigate those kinds of crimes,” he said.

“The big thing we have on-campus is distrbution charges,” said Zylak. “Both Dean Bayless and I agree that it doesn’t do anyone any good to have drug dealers on campus,” he added.

Mumby also asked what Zylak intends to do to improve Public Safety’s relationship with students. He said, “There is a perception on campus that there is an adversarial relationship between Public Safety and students.”

Zylak said, “I will do my best to make that a better relationship.” He said he has already investigated 3-4 complaints students have made of officers and he encouraged students to come to him with further complaints. “I want to know if you have been mistreated … My officers will be held accountable by me,” he said.

Senior Caroline Selle said, “we appreciate that you’re so accessible and it would go a long way to breaking down barriers if we could get to know the other officers.” Zylak said he is working on getting his officers into the community more often in a less formal role, including more friendly uniforms and a Public Safety dodgeball game.

Seniors Johanna Galat and Emily Saari asked Zylak about Public Safety’s procedure with sexual assault cases and how that procedure would change with police commissions. Zylak said the commissions would not affect how they handle sexual assalt cases. “The process will be driven by the survivor,” he said.

Zylak also clarified a statement he made at a meeting with the First Responders Network. When he said false reports of sexual assault happen he was referring to his own law enforcement experience where he encountered a few false reports. “When someone comes in and says they were sexually assaulted we take that at 100% face value and investigate,” he added.

Both the students in attendance and Zylak expressed how helpful the open hour was and Zylak intends to hold one every other week for as long as they remain helpful. The next hour will be announced via all-student email.

Bon App Obtains Wrong liquor License; No Alcohol at The Pub

Bon Appetit, the food service management company the College contracts with, obtained the wrong liquor license for The Pub on the advice of Bon Appetit’s corporate lawyers, delaying sale of beer and wine at the Pub for several months.

David Sansotta, Bon Appetit’s General Manager at the College, informed students via email that, “due to misinterpretation of local alcohol service regulations on our part, we have been forced to suspend the sale of beer and wine temporarily as we pursue alternate licensing options.” In a follow up interview, Sansottta said Bon Appetit obtained a Statewide Caterers Licence, also known as a SCAT License.

According to Maryland State Law, a SCAT License allows Bon Appetit to “serve alcoholic beverages at a catered event throughout the state to individuals 21 years of age or older on an unlicensed premises or on a premises for which a temporary alcoholic beverages license has been issued by the local board of license commissioners.”

The misinterpretation was with what constitutes an event, according to Patrick Hunt, Procurement Officer and Director of Auxiliary Operations for St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “We told [Bon Appetit] to get a license and they went to their corporate owners, the Compass Group, to ask what is the best way,” said Hunt. He said the Compass Group, a North Carolina-based company of which Bon Appetit is a subsidiary, said there were two options, one being a county liquor license which would take several months.

Since neither Bon Appetit or the Compass Group are local companies, to obtain a county liquor license “they would need to set up another legal entity and that would take a while,” said Hunt. He also said the county liquor license requires three local residents who are also officers of the organization to put their name on the application and be held legally responsible for all sales under the license.

“The Compass Group’s legal authority said [Bon Appetit] should get a SCAT instead,” said Hunt.

A SCAT license still requires Bon Appetit to get approval for each event from the County Liquor Board. It was when they went to get approval for the first few weekends the county put up a red flag, according to both Sansotta and Hunt.

“The county said a SCAT licence cannot be used for day to day operations,” said Hunt. Though the county did give approval to serve beer and wine for the grand opening weekend under Bon Appetit’s SCAT License.

“The interpretation by Bon Appetit of what constitutes an event was much broader than the county’s interpretation of what constitutes an event,” said Hunt. Bon Appetit’s lawyers said as long as there is an event of some kind, they could use the SCAT license, which is why Student Activities was asked to hold events like karaoke every night The Pub was open.

The misinterpretation by the Compass Group’s lawyers comes despite a meeting between local Bon Appetit, college and county representatives last spring. According to Hunt, the county told Bon Appetit to obtain a county liquor license just like any bar or restaurant would obtain.

“The Pub is a place of business,” said St. Mary’s County Alcohol Beverage Board Administrator Tamara Hildebrand, who will handle The Pub’s application for the proper county liquor license when brought before the Board. “While [the College] discussed [with us] how to apply for the license, they haven’t come in with an application. We don’t know why.”

“Depending on gross receipts, The Pub would apply for a tavern or restaurant license,” said Hildebrand. “Either way, the license would cost $650 per year.” This would mean that whether The Pub received a liquor license as an institution primarily selling food (as a restaurant) or alcoholic beverages (as a tavern), the cost would only be $650 for the entire year.

According to Hildebrand, every application requires a petition that bears the signatures of 15 registered St. Mary’s County voters who live within a five-mile radius of the property to be licensed. This list is sent to the Board of Elections, which will approve the licensing if at least 10 of the 15 signatories are verified as St. Mary’s County residents and registered voters.

While the College has yet to submit the application for the Alcohol Beverage Board to review, the Board itself will take into consideration the College’s recent licensing violations during the institution’s licensing hearing. The Board meets the second Thursday of each month. Given that the deadline for the October meetings have passed, The Pub would not be considered for licensing until the first November meeting even if the application was submitted this week.

Hunt and Sansotta said Bon Appetit has begun the process of applying for the proper license and in the meantime they will look for opportunities to use the SCAT license at events such as Hawktoberfest. For now, The Pub will continue to serve late night food Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, which according to Hunt has been very successful even without alcohol sales.

Goldsmith Named as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

On Saturday September 24, St. Mary’s College of Maryland announced that Patricia Goldsmith would take over the position of Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, a position previously held by Professor of Psychology Wesley Jordan.

Goldsmith accepted the job after a several month-long search beginning last semester. She will join the college in January 2012 after leaving her position at Scripps College. While at Scripps College, Goldsmith has served as Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid; Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing, and Communication and Financial Aid; and Vice President of Institutional Advancement.

In a press release issued by the College, President Urgo stated, “We are pleased to welcome Patricia and we are excited to apply her varied skill-set to the role of Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.”

In the same press release, Goldsmith stated that she was “drawn to St. Mary’s because of its unwavering commitment to academic excellence and diversity.”

Goldsmith holds a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature from Hamilton College in New York.

Gender neutral housing on its way to St. Mary's

For several years, the notion of gender neutral housing has been tossed around campus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

However last spring former Student Government Association (SGA) president Marlena Weiss and the rest of the SGA passed a notion showing their unanimous support of this new housing, according to current SGA President Mark Snyder. Progress was being made to make this a reality until Weiss graduated last May.“[Weiss] and [Assistant Director of Residence Life] Kelly Smolinsky worked together on this for awhile,” Director of Residence Life and Associate Dean of Students Joanne Goldwater said. “But they didn’t progress as quickly as I thought it would.”

The hope, according to Goldwater, is that a policy will be put together for approval by the end of the semester and be implemented by next year.

In SGA resolution 09-10S, which was passed last year, the SGA stated it supported “the adoption of a gender neutral housing policy on North Campus Housing (Lewis Quad, Waring Commons, North and South Crescents, and the Greens)…” However, the current policy is still in the works and it has not yet been determined what ages it will be available to or for what type of housing.

There are several issues to be concerned with gender neutral accommodations.

“When I first heard of gender neutral housing I thought of it rather negatively because my mind jumped to couples living together,” Senior and Resident Assistant on the Greens Lauren Jacoby said. “Things can get very exciting to the point where the situation becomes a little unhealthy because you don’t have any balance between time for your partner and time for your friends and yourself. But couples do this to themselves already without gender neutral housing so it’s only a real draw back if RAs all of a sudden have to mediate break ups.”

Goldwater also added that “we have to figure out how to handle the bathroom situation,” as decided whether or not males and females will share a bathroom. Other issues include parental concern and religious beliefs.

Once the policy is assembled, it will go through Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Laura Bayless then President Joseph Urgo’s board to receive approval.

SGA elections begin

Student Government Association (SGA) elections began this Friday September 23 and will run through Thursday September 29. Although there have been a plethora of students who have started campaigning, a large amount of positions remain open.

According to SGA President and senior Mark Snyder, 14 Senate seats and a number of open Class Officer positions have yet to have candidates, an issue that “has been worrisome for me since day one,” he said.

Despite initial concerns, however, the elections show a promising turnout.  According to Snyder, the SGA has received a high amount of applications as well as inclination of many students to run through write-in campaigns.

For the Class of 2012, those running for class offices include senior Emily Gershon for Vice President, senior Molly Daugherty for Secretary, and senior Laura Bruffey, running for Treasurer.

“My biggest goal on Executive Board will be to ensure the senior class has the most memorable year possible,” Bruffey said. “As Treasurer, I will focus mostly on fundraising so that the entire Class of 2012 can enjoy all of the activities, events, and privileges that all St. Mary’s seniors should have the opportunity to experience.”

The Class of 2013 has only one candidate at the moment, junior Nithin George, running for the position of class Treasurer. The Class of 2014 filled their whole Class Executive Board in last Spring’s elections and are “in really good shape going forward,” said Snyder.

“I’m confident that after elections are held, every position will be filled,” Snyder added.

As for the Class of 2015, first-year Kate Brennan is running for Vice President and there are two candidates vying for the position of Class President, first-years Michelle DiMenna and Terrence Thrweatt.

Thrweatt emphasized the importance of every voice being heard. As president he states he would organize class activities and “partner with the SGA Programs Board to promote/organize events” as well as promote campus diversity and organize study groups with upperclassmen to assist those who need academic help.

“I’d like to bring down the cost of books by holding parties (open to all SMCM students)- that would ask for a voluntary admission fee (a donation).” Thrweatt said. “The donation would go to a “Book Fund”, overseen by the necessary school officials, and would be put towards subsidizing the costs of books for the students with the most financial need.”

DiMenna, also running for president, stated that she plans to “organize get-togethers and activities for the class to promote unity” and create a network for all first -years to be able to express issues or concerns they have about the campus or campus life.

“As 400+ freshman from various places and backgrounds, I think that it is important for us as a whole to have a strong base of friendship to build upon over the next four years,” DiMenna said. “Expanding upon unity, I would like to organize class-wide service activities. This would show the Class of 2015 to be a service oriented class, and in the process people would be able to connect and build friendships”.

Senatorial seats are also competitive, as several students are campaigning for the positions of Dorchester, Caroline, Waring Commons, and Commuter Senator.

“Elections are always tricky,” Snyder said. “There’s a lot that’s just not in our hands since we’re still using BlackBoard. We tried to get it organized a little earlier than in past years, and we’re making sure elections after winter break and spring elections happen a little sooner than usual. SGA is an organization that transcends the entire school; we work closely with students, faculty, administrators, even President Urgo. What’s been forgotten the past few years in the SGA was created to magnify the students’ voice on campus and this year we’re really trying to find ways to remind students of that. And the more people we have who are interested and engaged in the Senate the better, that’s why these elections are so important.”