An interview with new SGA executives

Photo courtesy of Xavier University | The Newswire meet with SGA executives to see how the first week of their term went.

The Newswire sat down with SGA executives President Johnny Srsich and Vice President Cole Stautberg to review their first week as SGA executives. Vice President Brianna Boyce was unavailable at the time of the interview. The following is an edited transcript.

Newswire: What are your priorities this semester?

Cole Stautberg, Vice President: Right now it’s kind of tasky things. One of the biggest things we’re doing is the student activities budget. We’re managing that. We are allocating funds to different organizations.

Johnny Srsich, President: And also, the overall budget for all the clubs. We’re also meeting with a lot of the administrators right now, just to let them put a face to the names, see where their priorities are, what we can do as students to make sure that the priorities are still aligned with the students rather than anything else. Hopefully soon we can get started on projects from our platform. I know Bri and I have been talking to people about the food options over break. That’s still in the works. I’m meeting with Jude (Kiah) on Friday, and then hopefully the sexual assault hotline — I want to get started on that as soon as possible at least.

Stautberg: And then another thing we’re working on is getting senate started. We didn’t have everyone on Senate because they were on the Israel trip last week, and this week we didn’t have a Senate meeting, so next week we should have a full Senate. We’re kind of working with everyone to teach the new senators how everything works, and we’re getting committees lined up, and they’re getting started on Senate projects and different things. And they’re bringing those to the table, and they’re coming to us to get some resources and see what they should do next. So it’s nice, it’s been a good process so far, it’s going well.

N: Before actually getting started, were you nervous? Did you experience any difficulties at first?

Stautberg: It started last semester, really. So we started meeting with a few administrators towards the end of the fall semester, and then we came into break. Johnny was in Israel, so Bri and I were going to lead the first Senate meeting. So we were pretty nervous, or at least I was, because we both don’t have Senate experience, so this is all new to us as well. So we were pretty nervous going in, but we did a lot of preparation work and knew our stuff very well and gave reports very well, so I think it went well. Obviously there are things that could’ve gone better, but I think it went well and we actually did some real Senate stuff like voting and appointing someone. So it was a really good feeling and kind of relieving.

N: Do you have any embarrassing moments to speak of yet?

Srsich: Not being here, you know, the first couple days. It’s not embarrassing, but it was weird being in Israel for the start of our term. At the end of winter break is when a lot of the planning happens, so it was weird texting and emailing Cole and Bri to see what was going on. And being away from everything was just weird, but I think it’s going well. I still haven’t had a meeting yet, which is weird. I didn’t miss a Senate meeting in the past two years. So it’s weird not being at the first one that I was really supposed to be at. There were so many of us gone.

N: Are there any individual senator projects or JBC specific projects that have already begun?

Srsich: So a lot of the returning senators, especially Ryan Kambich with academic affairs, their projects rolled over from last semester to this semester. So it’s good that we had the amount of returners that we did (because) they’re the ones that really have to start the semester off with projects so that other senators know what it looks like, what the protocol is, kinda get ideas flowing. So they’ve had projects going on for the past couple months. I don’t know what the status is because I wasn’t at the meeting and neither (were) a couple of committee chairs. For us, it’s just been conversations at this point. Nothing’s been pen to paper, nothing’s been finalized at this point. I would say we’ve started on quite a bit of our platform just because of conversations. The biggest thing with SGA is letting the administrators know what the issues are and letting them know that students are working on bringing a solution to the table. Oftentimes, it might not be picked, but the fact that we get such a close ear with them, we get so many meetings with them, we have a great opportunity to actually make sure that the student solution is taken into consideration strongly (and) is shown as a viable solution that’s not just come up with willy-nilly…We take our job seriously, and we put in the research and the time to make sure that what we propose to them is something that will actually benefit the school in the long run.

Stautberg: There are two new Senate reports during our first meeting. Our new senator, Matt Miller, has a really cool idea — he wants to engage Xavier students in tutoring high school STEM students. He had a really cool program in Indiana where they got tutoring resources from college students and he wants to transfer that over to Cincinnati and get that started here, so that was really cool. And then Senator Katy Schuller wants to start working on our university (in terms of) sustainability. She wants to get rid of the use of straws, because they’re really wasteful, and so she’s really enthusiastic about that. So we’re excited that they’re working really hard and already getting engaged and involved in the process.

N: Any final thoughts?

Srsich: Club Day is (today), but I think the biggest thing is that students should still look to get involved if they want to. Clubs don’t close after club day, so I think just having a push to check out OrgSync…The best way to make a change at the school is be involved in what you’re passionate about because there are other students you can bounce ideas off of. So go on OrgSync, ask around, (and) if you want to make a club, make a club. If you want to do something, do it. That’s what club day is all about, and that’s what I think Xavier does a great job with…We have over 114 clubs that people can join, and not a lot of schools offer that, especially with the size that we are. So really just to get out there and find something new to do, just to continue making Xavier a better place.

Stautberg: I’d say just feel free to stop by and meet us and see kind of who we are (because) we’d love to meet everyone and see anything they want to see changed in the university or what they want to see done, and we’d love to help them if they want to get something done.

Srsich: Our door will be open.

By: Soondos Mulla-Ossman ~Copy Editor~