Last Wednesday was the last College Council (CC) meeting for Adrian Castro ’14 and Max Heninger ’14 in their roles as CC co-presidents. Editor-in-Chief Ben Eastburn ’15 met with the outgoing CC co-presidents to discuss their final terms.
What were some of the greatest successes of your terms?
Heninger: I think at different points throughout the year we reacted to where the need was greatest. Right when we came in, one of the things we noticed that needed to be addressed was the way CC thought about its finances. Things were a little bit shaky, in that not all of the funds were in the accounts that they should have been in, and this was creating confusion on Council about just how much funds we had at that point of the year. If we didn’t get that in order right away we would struggle with many other things, so we created a rainy day fund to address situations when Council found itself lacking funds at the end of the year so it could continue to operate in an orderly manner. Secondly I think great credit should go to our treasurer, now CC co-president Emily Dzieciatko for doing this. She clearly allocated the funds into the accounts that they were supposed to be in which made Council fully aware of where it would stand at each point in the year. I think at that point, that was what needed to be focused on.
Castro: One of the biggest things that we were able to do that impacted a lot of student groups was the creation of the Entertainment Co-Sponsorship Committee. So, in previous years you had to go to 20 different sources to get funding and now you only need to go to one board, which is a compilation of eight to 10 different groups. Centralizing all of that into a board where people can go to get all the money they need was a very big change that we were able to make, which we are still seeing today grow. We are trying to work with all of the bumps in the road still, and trying to figure out how to best support it and make it so it sustains itself in the future.
Do you have any regrets from last year? Was there anything that you wanted to work on but weren’t able to?
Heninger: There was a lot on our plate right away that made it difficult to think about big picture stuff because the day-by-day things were very all encompassing. We had the finances that we needed to work out. In addition, in the spring of 2013 a lot of student groups were coming to Council asking if we could pass a resolution supporting a cause that they believed in. Because we felt very strongly that that we’re here to represent the interests and the voices of the student body, we took those concerns really seriously, but it meant that it felt like almost every other week we were working with a student group on a resolution to get passed. We had two resolutions get passed supporting more local food in the dining halls and we also had one that got passed supporting the divestment of coal from the endowment. All of those things happening at once while we were figuring out what our role was going to be, which was certainly pretty challenging.
Castro: The ability to breathe in the spring would have been nice to look at the VP structure. Since it was in its first year I don’t think that we ever got a chance to just sit back and take a 30,000 ft. view of how it was working out and how the student body viewed the VPs and whether or not students on campus understood their position. I think it was very easy for us to understand each position, obviously because we are on CC, but I think that’s definitely a regret of mine that we didn’t get to just take a break and step back and get a sense of what it looks like from the outside.
What would you say is the most important issue facing the student body, now that your terms are over?
Castro: One big thing, which came out during the campaign season that we worked on a lot this fall, was club sports. It’s something that we’ve talked to Dean Bolton and Steve Klass about so many times, but we face road blocks all over the place, and I think that we and other groups on campus have been able to see how important it is to ensure that all of our groups feel supported in some way, shape or form. I think that’s something we’ve tried to work hard on
this semester, and I know the new Council will work on this as well. I think it’s important for students across campus to have the opportunity to work on providing safety for these groups.
Heninger: We were able to get an ice machine for Cole Field House for club sports to use but when we told that to the club sports that we worked with for the entire year, a lot of them told us, and I think rightly so, that they weren’t satisfied and they felt like their organizations needed more to make sure that they could do their sport in the safest manner possible. We had sent them an email in the early fall asking them what their needs were, and a lot of them focused on getting a trainer. We told them, “We tried to do this. We tried to get a trainer for you, however this is the most we were able to get.” Going forward, I think this will be one of the big challenges for the new Council, but one of the most important things that Council can do, is to continue to work on that and I’m so glad it’s one of their biggest priorities.
Do you have any advice for Emily and Erica?
Castro: One big thing is to catch their breath, take a pause and get a sense of what the position entails and what students want. I think it’s very easy to start trying so many things at once and trying to accomplish every single little goal that they campaigned on, but that’s not how a position like this will work in the long term. I think that they really need to pace themselves and take a 30,000 ft. view a few times and get a sense of how they’re perceived, what people look at them as and what they can do to make the Council and the student body better.
to remember that a lot of people have noticed in the last couple of weeks that the election was unopposed and which brings a whole new set of challenges for presidents who come in and inherit that. I think that they should know that a very sizable portion of the student body voted in the election, and they voted for them, and they should know that they have the support of their fellow students. People believe in them and know that they will do a great job to lead the school.