In light of the proposed changes to the Student Government Constitution, it is especially important that every undergraduate understands the way the organization works, according to Student Body President Mark Kubisch.
With Executive Council elections rapidly approaching, changes have been made, most notably in the position of VP of SPUD, now known as Director in Charge of Student Programming. In past years the VP of SPUD has been elected just as the other officers in the Executive Council are. The modification of the constitution would change this method; instead of a general election, an interview process would take place.
As hopefuls for other positions fill in candidacy forms and prepare speeches, applicants for the Director in Charge of Student Programming would go through a separate process. These undergraduates would complete an application, send in a résumé and cover letter, and participate in interviews conducted by the newly elected president, the current president, the current VP of SPUD, and the
Director of Student Activities and Recreational Services. The newly elected president would select a candidate and, with the approval of the rest of the committee, the Executive Council would fill its last remaining post.
This revision of the constitution, according to Kubisch, is due to the nature of the position. The VP of SPUD has an enormous responsibility. “SPUD puts on hundreds of events per year,” Kubisch said, and what has an effect on Student Programming “obviously impacts the whole school.”
In previous elections, the organization had had the tendency to draw applicants looking to boost their résumés rather than seeking to improve student life on campus.
“A lot of people were interested in just the title,” Kubisch said. The interviews will function as a way to sort those who are truly interested in the position from those who are simply trying to look more impressive to prospective employers or graduate programs. The official name has been changed from VP of SPUD to Director in Charge of Student Programming mainly to clear up the confusion between the titles of VP of SPUD and VP of the Senate, but the role remains essentially the same.
The Student Government Senate has approved the revisions, voting unanimously to approve the initiative. In order to ratify the changes, 10 percent of the student body must express agreement; in other words, roughly 138 signatures are needed. Any undergraduate can sign the petition, Kubisch said, and the quota has nearly been reached. Kubisch expects to have a completed list of signatures by the next Student Government meeting.
When it is ratified, the amended constitution will be presented to President Keefe, whose signature will complete the revision process. Once the changes are final, they will be put into effect immediately: L.J. Norton, the current VP of SPUD and originator of the proposed modifications, will become the Director of Student Programming, and the new method of filling the position will be used in the 2012 elections for the first time.
This year, in addition to the alterations to the position of Director in Charge of Student Programing, a few other adjustments have been made. An orientation for all Executive Council members has been established in order to ensure each member is competent in his or her position. Also, the tasks of the Senior Committee, including the nomination of a commencement speaker and the raising of funds for the senior gift, have been clarified. Classes will now elect a senior chairman in the spring of their junior year to help the committee get its job done more effectively. Kubisch hopes the changes will improve the way Student Government works.
“This is really an exciting time for Student Government and for the constitution,” Kubisch said.