ASG cabinet members begin plans for year

David Roach 21, and Brandon Zabo, 22, hand out information and candy to students interested in joining Allegheny Student Government on Aug. 29, 2019.

David Roach ’21, and Brandon Zabo, ’22, hand out information and candy to students interested in joining Allegheny Student Government on Aug. 29, 2019.

The beginning of every academic year brings a new start not only to classes, but to clubs and organizations across campus. One campus organization adjusting to these new year changes is Allegheny Student Government. 

ASG represents students at Allegheny College in certain issues involving the administration, along with presiding over the creation of clubs and other student organizations. ASG also helps create and organize relationships throughout the college community. 

The organization is run by a cabinet made up of 12 students with a variety of responsibilities. At the end of each year, one of the preparations ASG has to make for the following academic year is elect a new cabinet. Chief of Staff Jared McHale, ’20, one of this year’s new ASG cabinet members, said he felt he would be a good fit for the position because of previous experience on the Curriculum Committee. This committee is one under the College Committees Council, where students and administrators come together to discuss college curriculum, including new courses or course changes. 

“I’ve served on the Curriculum Committee, which is one of the committees that the chief of staff is in charge of in the College Committees Council, for two years now,” McHale said. “So I thought it would be a good fit, and that I would be able to help the students on that committee from my own experience.” 

McHale explained that his main job as ASG’s chief of staff was running the College Committees Council, which includes holding bi-weekly meetings with students on the committees and reporting any gathered information to the rest of ASG. 

“(The College Committees Council) appoints students and student representatives to six different committees that work with faculty and administration on different areas of the college campus,” McHale said. “There’s also internal team building where we try to help each other out on different committees.” 

Along with the College Committees Council meetings, McHale said he has weekly meetings with the president, vice president, and adviser of ASG. 

McHale said his biggest plans for the year are to expand and focus more on the team building aspects of the committees and communication work across all of the committees. 

“I think sometimes it is hard to work on those committees when you’re working with faculty and administration, so I kind of want to work on that and better help students to voice their opinions,” McHale said. 

McHale said he would also like to make sure that the committees are fully staffed throughout this coming year — similar to when the position was held by current ASG President Jason Ferrante, ’20, who “worked on (filling the committees) a lot and did a very good job,” McHale said. 

Ferrante said he felt both excited and nervous for his new role as president along with the new cabinet.

“We have a mix of people, both new and older members,” Ferrante said. “It’s nice to have some experienced members because that way we can do a quick turnover, and we have some people who won’t need to catch up and that way we can get a bit of a head start.” 

In addition to leading ASG with Vice President Elyse Cinquino, ’20, and adviser Gretchen Beck, Ferrante described his job as president, which includes being a liaison between the administration, board of trustees, and the students.

“I might have an idea from time to time, but my job is not to be hands off, but to focus on the big picture,” Ferrante said. 

According to Ferrante, one of the most important goals for ASG is reaching the sustainability goal. 

“This is a really big thing, and we’re going to do our best to meet it,” Ferrante said. 

Along with McHale, Director of Communications and Press David Roach, ’21, hopes to continue a lot of the work he began last year. 

“Last year, the new website was really the centerpoint, so I would like to continue everything with that, along with focusing on a rebrand of student government (on campus),” Roach said. 

Roach detailed the main aspects of his job, which includes advertising for ASG, creating and maintaining the ASG website and creating the bi-weekly email ASG sends out, along with social media posts and the Facebook Live stream of the meetings. 

Additionally, Roach said he would like to focus on increasing engagement with ASG across campus, along with getting ASG’s new “high-res” logo onto more materials and social media posts.

“I would like to be able to get more information to all the clubs across campus and really work on communications there, too,” Roach said. “I hope that with the new logo, we will be able to have a more visible brand and more concise posts on social media.”

Roach also hopes to be able to update ASG’s Twitter account to make it more conversational and to be able to “use Twitter right,” he said. 

ASG’s cabinet includes co-directors of student affairs, who work together to cultivate the student experience on campus through events and activities, along with putting out the student voice, according to Genesis Pena, ’22, one of the co-directors. 

Pena added that she is incredibly passionate about student outreach, which is what drew her to the position. 

“I think it is important that the campus community feels that ASG really supports them and includes them, so that’s really what I want to focus on in my role this year,” Pena said. 

Pena said another goal that she has for the year is to make ASG more inclusive and supportive around campus, and to be able to bring students together through this inclusivity. 

“I think ASG does kind of have that intimidating stance — that, ‘oh I don’t know if I should go to a meeting,’ so as a co-director, that’s really what I want to see more of this year, … is that people are comfortable enough to come to meetings and (tell us) what they need help doing,” Pena said. 

Pena added that she is excited to be a part of ASG this year and “to be able to contribute to Allegheny’s campus.”

This year’s ASG cabinet has also added an entirely new position — Director of Community Relations, held by Gabby Miller, ’20. 

“It’s super vague and flexible,” Miller said. “My job is directly influenced by what people want. It’s not that I’m coming in and telling people what they should do, it develops as people’s perceptions of Meadville develop.” 

Miller said another part of her job was to arrange communication and a sustaining connection between Allegheny and the Meadville community. 

Miller added that she hoped to be able to plug ASG into existing organizations in Meadville, and collaborate with them instead of the Allegheny and Meadville organizations working separately. 

Likewise, Miller hopes to be able to set up town halls between the two communities and have open conversations, but said she realized that has the potential for unintended consequences.

“I do hope to be able to create some sort of open conversation between Allegheny and Meadville, maybe in October or something,” Miller said. “I do see it potentially going bad if residents of either community want to just trash the other, so I do have to be really cognizant of that possibility.”

Miller said she hopes Allegheny would be able to collaborate with My Meadville, an organization that works to create conversations amongst Meadville residents, and that the cabinet would meet with them to see how the two organizations could empower each other. Miller said she also wants to create an event that would pull students into town. 

“I’m just super excited for this position,” Miller said. “I don’t fully know what it entails, but I’m ready for it.”

Overall, Ferrante said that while it is not possible to make everybody happy all the time, ASG plans on continuing to be open and try its best to help with any problem a student might have. 

“We have been around since the 1800s, and we still have a lot to learn,” Ferrante said. “But there is no idea too big or too small. We’re here to work for what people want, but for that to happen we really need people to reach out to us. We need people to tell us their concerns, come to our meetings, contact us through social media or our website. We’re very open to hear students’ concerns.”