Keene State College's Student Government brings fresh ideas from D.C.
By Bethany Ricciardi
Keene State College’s total student enrollment this year is 5,738, and student government gives purpose to hear those student’s voices and are inspired to make a difference for them. Recently, a trip to the American Student Government Association Conference in Washington D.C helped some of the members of student government bring back fresh ideas to accomplish this purpose at KSC.
On Oct. 3, five members of student government, Eric Grady, Christine Nigzus, Tyler King, Caitlin Licence and Kristen Gates flew down to Washington D.C.
Senior Grady, KSC’s student body president, said that the conference offered leadership training to the members of the organization.
“I really pushed for a conference, even though it was challenging with funding. I wanted a view of how schools do new things,” Grady said.
The student body president also mentioned that the trip helped the members of student government bond, and that will help them function better as a team. “The experience brought us ‘super-close,’” Grady stated.
Back to KSC, Grady said about student government, “We are pretty much here to advocate for the entire student body and be the voice of the students. We listen; take a lot of input from students from all different areas on campus.”
“We allocate funds from organizations like clubs, intramural sports, and make KSC a happy place to be,” sophomore Nigzus, class vice president, stated.
The student body president is voted into position by KSC students. Class president, VP, and so on, are voted in by the grade class.
Caitlin Licence, junior class VP and student assembly secretary, said that one of the improvements student government is trying to accomplish is making elections well-known. She said they’d like to have polling sections and to make voting more than just one day so everyone can have a chance to vote.
Indeed, often students need reminders to complete the voting process. KSC sophomore Olivia Brown said she didn’t vote this year because she was not aware of the voting time.
Licence said the biggest thing she learned at the conference was the different ways other students’ governments were structured and how to better KSC’s government.
According to the students who attended the conference, they have come back with great ideas for KSC. “We’re going to do blender events, which are more things asking students what we can do for them, and how we can help them and hear them out,” Grady said.
King, assembly speaker, said some of the conference ideas were focused on advertising and promoting and just getting their name out there. “It’s about letting them know what we do, who we are, and that we can make a difference; if there are problems or policies you don’t agree with, we can help and make a difference,” he added.
Grady agreed with King that government needs to work to promote their name on campus. Student government runs the carnival in the spring and supplies 2000 pumpkins on campus for students to carve, yet many students are not aware the student organization is behind these events. “That’s the problem, students don’t know we run that stuff,” Grady added.
Brown said that while she has been attending KSC, the student government has done a good job. She said the only thing she’d like them to work on changing is the new dining meal plans. Some students now receive unlimited card swipes into dining commons, but they only get to go to the Hoot-n-Scoot five times each a week she said. Brown said she thinks it is very limited.
Another sophomore, Elise Beaulieu, said she wouldn’t change anything about student government. “Keep doing what they’re doing,” she added. However, Beaulieu said she didn’t know who our student government representatives were, so, “Maybe they need to promote student government more,” Beaulieu noted.
Some projects the Student Government is currently working on are a ‘text-book committee’, a food station near the library and a computer lab that opens before 8 a.m.
Gates said she is working on the textbook committee. She said, “It’s in the works so students can get more money back and be more organized.”
Licence indicated that soon, there will be opening a computer lab where students can print their homework before 8 a.m. classes.
Grady said they’d love to get Sodexo near the library whether it’s a food truck, or stand where students can grab a snack while studying.
Grady also mentioned that he and VP Jackie Efraimson will be going to all the residential halls in November and doing “A night with the Presidents,” so that students can meet them and hear them out. He said this gives them a chance to hear what the students have to say.
Licence noted that students should see the great things they can do when coming together.
“We never realized our potential, it’s not just the people that were elected, it’s the student body that has the power. We need its help with signatures to get things happening. We’re the channel to get it started,” Licence said.
Nigsuz said she would absolutely return to the conference, and that she hopes to go again next year and help lead it.
Nigsuz said the conference really helps her develop leadership and organization skills. “We need to take more of our executive board members because it was definitely the best experience of my life so far. Didn’t expect it to be so powerful it left a huge impact on us all,” she said. She also included that she hopes students show up to their meetings Tuesday nights at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Student Center in the Mountain View room.
Nigsuz said, “If anyone’s interested in our organization, it’s open, come in, sit down and you can see what we do! We’re more than happy to introduce ourselves.”