Empowerment. Engagement. Equity. These three simple words serve as the foundation of our platform, initiatives and goals as an administration. These words are the ignitor of change and action we hope to begin on campus. We, BDA (Blair, Desmond and Alfredo), saw from our various involvements prior to our election that there were pressing issues of food insecurity, a deflated campus environment, minimum student engagement and inequitable opportunities for various groups of students. As Executives, we have officially begun working to solve some of these problems and are collaborating with many other students to have their input on solutions.
Many students have been openly frustrated and dissatisfied with the delay of the renovations in the lower level atrium of Gallagher Student Center. As students ourselves, we share some of the same frustrations with the constant miscommunication. Based on the conversations we have had with some of the staff members in ConneX, we are confident that the groups working on this project are doing their best to get the new dining area open and accessible to students as soon as possible.
Last semester, there were also heavy discussions involving student wellness and safety. With transitions and expansions within XUPD, the Title IX Office and the new HUB, many students have questions, comments and concerns aimed toward these sectors. In past years, there has been a lack of transparency between the administration and the student body. Our plan for February is to have our first campus-wide community discussion event with administrators whose roles have a direct impact on those areas. This forum will be public and free for students to address concerns, issues, suggestions and even solutions about this university on a monthly basis. This will allow us all to move forward together.
Aside from the projects that will stem directly from current events on campus, we plan to implement some initiatives and projects throughout our term that are beneficial to the campus climate in general.
We have begun work on the establishment of a student-run child care center and a student-run shuttle service. Both of these will allow students to provide useful and high-demand services to their peers and give them insight on operational, functional and creative facets of a business.
The shuttle will be an on-call driving service to help XUPD spread their area of coverage. The child care center will be a space where students, faculty and staff will be able to drop off their kids for a couple of hours while they are working or in class. This child care center also will help allow non-traditional students to be more successful, as well as open more opportunities for student employment.
In addition to the student-run shuttle, we recognize that students have needs off-campus that require more immediate and convenient methods of transportation. We have begun exploring alternatives such as the Zipcar. Having Zipcars on campus will be most beneficial for international students and students living on-campus without a vehicle.
Lastly, for the purpose of creating a more equitable environment, we are in the beginning stages of establishing a clothing bank here at Xavier. Not every Xavier student has access to various types of clothing at any given time. Students from areas that generally have warmer climates may not necessarily have clothes to prepare them for winters in Cincinnati.
Along with any financial disparities that may occur with clothing insecurity, there is a need among students for business or business casual attire. Many first-year students come to college without knowing that they will need business clothing. Many upperclassmen have limited access to business clothes for professional occasions. Having this be another space run by students creates another opportunity for student employment and allows for extended hours of operation. Students who donate will feel invested in the bank and show that they are truly “All for One.” This clothing bank gives students a real, feasible, economical and equitable service to combat the challenges of the world in style.
Throughout the remainder of our term, we want it to be clear that we often keep the SGA office (GSC 270) open so that we can foster connections and community with everyone here at Xavier. We hope to utilize this space so we can always be present and available to engage with the student body. Our office hours are posted in the office and on our social media platforms.
We understand that we can’t completely change Xavier, nor do we want to. We just want to enact real change to the same old problems with creative solutions. Understand that these solutions start with us and end with you, the student body. Let’s take this journey together.
Wishing you all Better Days Ahead,
Blair McKee, Desmond Varner and Alfredo Mercedes are the executives of the Student Government Association.