New executive vice president addresses student government


Joseph Tingley

Eileen Petula, executive vice president, addresses Allegheny Student Government at its weekly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016.

Eileen Petula, the new executive vice president of the college, attended Allegheny Student Government’s weekly meeting to introduce herself on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

After a brief synopsis of her professional life, Petula asked for questions from the assembled senate and cabinet. No questions were asked.

President Tess Bracken, ’17, encouraged members of ASG to take advantage of administrators coming in to speak. She said it is a good time to voice constituent concerns.

“Students don’t usually get that face-time with [administrators],” Bracken said.

I know a lot about higher education, but I don’t know everything about this place.

— Eileen Petula

Petula said she has enjoyed her time at Allegheny and is excited to become more familiar with the institution.

“I know a lot about higher education, but I don’t know everything about this place,” Petula said.

In an attempt to get a better feel for the school, Petula said she has been trying to get the perspective of as many students, staff and faculty as she can.

“I am on a listening tour right now,” Petula said. “I am trying to meet as many people as possible.”

As part of her “listening tour,” Petula said she took a tour of many of the residence halls on campus. The tour included Caflisch Hall, North Village I, North Village II and some of the first-year housing options on campus, she said.

During the tour, Petula said she was pleased with what she saw, but said she felt the high ceilings in North Village I constituted “a lot of wasted space.” She explained there seemed to be enough room for another floor.

Petula, who has worked in higher education for 22 years, assumed the position of executive vice president in early August following the departure of Sue Stuebner.

At the meeting, ASG also swore in the recently elected senators for the class of 2020.

Miguel Guillen, ’19, first-year liaison, said he would be meeting with the new senators following the meeting. He encouraged the group to consider what committees they hope to serve on as senators.

The president for the class of 2020 will be Hamza Masaeed, Jason Ferrante will be vice president and Lauren Rieshel, Gabriel McIntire and Elyse Cinquino will be first-year senators.

Matt Hartwell, ’18, co-director of student affairs, updated members of ASG on the Housing Committee’s meeting with the Office of Residence Life on Sept. 14.

Hartwell said the main takeaway from the meeting was that a better method of communication needs to be established between residence life and students. He said having a system in place by which students would know who to contact depending on the nature of their problem would be helpful.

Walter Stover, ’17, who heads the ASG Housing Committee, said during the meeting an idea was voiced that ASG might be able to aid in improving communication between residence life and the student body.

“A lot of what came up was how ASG could act as an intermediary,” Stover said.

Hartwell said he felt the major problem facing residence life was a lack of staffing.

“A lot of these problems are because there are no people to address them,” Hartwell said.

According to Hartwell, the reason for this is that the college’s available budget has been cut by almost seven million dollars over the last two years, largely due to under enrollment.

One of the larger problems which Hartwell said he hears from students is the way room draw continues to be done by hand as opposed to an online system. The problem with implementing such a system, he said, is it can cost upwards of $38,000.

In order to address the issue, Hartwell said the committee hopes to work with the college’s Finances and Facilities Committee in order to try and find the funds to develop a system.

“It will be addressed in due time, but in the meantime they will continue by hand,” Hartwell said.

Dean of Students Kimberly Ferguson also spoke at the meeting during constituent comments. Ferguson said various offices are instituting extended hours on certain days of the week in order to better meet the needs of the student body.

Some of the offices hosting extended hours include the counseling center, Winslow Health Center and the Office of Residence Life.

“Hopefully that will give people more access to services,” Ferguson said.   

Co-Director of Student Affairs Sydney Fernandez, ’17, also announced that ASG would be meeting with Title IX Coordinator Gilly Ford. She said any senators with questions or concerns they would like voiced in the meeting should contact her.

During her report, Director of Organizational Development Alexa Maloney, ’17, announced she would be stepping down from her position due to family affairs that would require her to be away from campus. She said she would be transitioning out of her position over the next week.

Bracken said the search for a new director of organizational development will begin next week.