Allegheny Student Government gathered for their second meeting of the academic year on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Although members of the cabinet had to shift positions to account for the departure of former vice president Matt Hartwell, ’18, President Mark MacStudy, ’18, is optimistic about the coming year.
“One thing I can say I’m really excited about is that we have a lot of younger people and underclassmen on cabinet, so we’re able to lay at least some groundwork for ASG in the next couple of years,” MacStudy said.
Valerie Hurst, ’18, was moved into the position of vice president once the spot was vacated by Hartwell, who left ASG because he had planned to study abroad this semester.
“We have a bunch of returning members in Senate, so the collective governmental intelligence is there from last year for a good portion of people to understand,” Hurst said. “So I think it’s actually quite easy for everyone to fall into being comfortable with each other.”
Both MacStudy and Hurst have a list of goals they want to accomplish this year.
“There’s a lot of us versus them language going on between the student body and the administration,” MacStudy said. “That’s one thing that I would like to see stop altogether. We need to realize we’re on the same team and we need to work together. We just need to find a happy medium between the two of us and that’s not impossible.”
Hurst’s goals center around making ASG’s presence on campus more known to the student body.
“ASG’s presence on campus is not always felt by the student body in the way that I think it should,” Hurst said. “This year, we’re looking to expand our presence in a variety of ways with new events, new student services and in communicating our actions to the student body in a more consistent manner. We would like to have a more active presence on campus.”
One of Hurst’s personal goals is to find areas on campus in which she can use funds that were allocated to ASG in order to improve the lives of students.
“We are now working with cabinet members on the projects that they want to accomplish,” Hurst said.
Two of the student services ASG is looking to use those funds for is the rent-a-gown project and financing laptop rental kiosks, according to Hurst.
The rent-a-gown project would be available to seniors who would prefer to rent rather than buy their graduation gown.
“This accomplishes our goals of sustainability within ASG, but also affordability for the school,” Hurst said. “We’re looking at expanding some sort of area to house the gowns. Hopefully we’ll have it in place for graduation this year.”
Hurst said ASG is also looking into creating a program manager to run the rent-a-gown project consistently for as many years as possible.
ASG also hopes to finance laptop rental kiosks to allow students more financial accessibility on campus, according to Hurst.
MacStudy said the wellness vending machine, a vending machine that would contain health products that students might need when the health center is closed, is another student service he would like to see put into place this year.
“That was a big project that we were trying to push last year,” MacStudy said. “We just ran into a couple logistical issues with that, but that didn’t fall off of our radar. That should be a project that we either come much closer to finishing this year or that we do finish by the end of this year.”
As the returning members of ASG prepare for the coming year, interested first-year students were welcomed to the meeting.
Secretary of Student Voting and Press Secretary for the Communication and Press Committee of ASG Elyse Cinquino, ’20, explained how she reached out to first-years to inform them about ASG.
“We put a lot of posters out around campus and we were at the involvement fair. We also created a Facebook event and put it into the Class of 2021’s Facebook group,” Cinquino said.
While Cinquino said there were more first-years who attended the initial meeting last year, she was confident about both the number of first-years in attendance and in the responses she received from the first-year students.
“At the beginning of our meeting, we had everyone stand up and say their name, major and why they were interested in running for Senate. A lot of people had really good things to say and were really passionate about ASG and getting involved,” Cinquino said. “They wanted to express information to the rest of their class because they said it was something that was really important to everyone. I think there’s a lot of bright minds within the people who came to the meetings. It will be interesting to see.”
ASG will hold its next meeting on the third floor of the campus center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Meetings are open to the public.