Mercyhurst Student Government (MSG) announced its decision to pass the Commitment to Representation, establishing the Registered Student Club/Organization (RSCO) Council of Representatives on Sept. 11.
The council will be broken down into four divisions based on the type of RSCO on campus: Cultural/Diversity; Recreational; Academic; and Service/Honors.
Three council members from each division will be elected from executive boards of preexisting RSCOs to focus on issues such as the approval of new RSCOs, determining which category RSCOs fall under, allocating budgets, and overseeing the allocation process for spot funding and equipment funds.
The overall hope for the council is that it will help to improve communications between MSG and numerous clubs/organizations on campus, while also increasing support for the organizations across campus.
Senior Jonah Jackson, MSG president, built his campaign last year around representation and ensuring that students needs were being met. Jackson noticed that the one group on campus not being represented well enough were RSCOs. Although senators of the MSG had a history of reaching out to clubs and organizations, they were not necessarily focused on the needs of the groups over academic needs or general student needs.
“I felt there had to be a body in place that met RSCO needs, that knew exactly what they wanted and what they could do. It only made sense that a person from a RSCO could represent a RSCO,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s focus was on empowering the organizations and promoting their ability to express their needs on campus.
While Jackson had the initial idea to create a platform for clubs and organizations to voice their concerns, another key member to its creation was Vincent Marrazzo, MSG treasurer and future chair of the council.
“All clubs on campus were approved through student government and were split into particular categories that aligned with their mission,” said Marrazzo. “They were these separate categories that really didn’t have a platform for voicing concerns to the student government.”
He said that the idea for the council makes sense, given that there are more than 80 recognized student clubs and organizations on campus.
“To not have an institution or body that solely represents that group of students and their interests would not be in line with the student government’s mission,” he said.
With the spotlight on clubs and organizations, some RSCO officers are now preparing to speak up for their group’s needs — or to run for a seat on the new council themselves.
Vanessa Steele, president of the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance club, plans to be one of the candidates running for a position on the Cultural/Diversity division of the council.
One of the biggest issues Steele hopes the RSCO council will deal with is funding for clubs.
“I think they should take into consideration how active the clubs are, which they are starting to now, but in the past it has been very difficult,” Steele said.
If elected, Steele’s main focus would be on “getting the clubs more involved in the events on campus, such as seeing more partnerships with the Student Activities Council (SAC) and the Multicultural Activities Council (MAC).
“I think there is a lot of room for intersection,” Steele said.
As a legislative body, the Registered Student Club/Organization Council of Representatives is rooted in ensuring that the voices of the student body are heard in the clearest way and may become a vital resource on campus.