Newly elected MSG board plans for campus improvements

Recently, the new Mercyhurst Student Government (MSG) Board for the 2011-12 school year was chosen, and the board members have already been busy planning to make changes on campus.

The positions of president and vice president, secretary and treasurer were all elected positions. This year, the president and vice president positions were elected as a “ticket ballot” in which they were chosen as a pair in order to ensure the pair would be able to work together efficiently.

Jill Barrile photo: A survey emailed to students in winter term asked about possible improvements that can be done to the Student Union.Jill Barrile photo: A survey emailed to students in winter term asked about possible improvements that can be done to the Student Union.

The results were Meghan Hess and Reed Garetto for president and vice president, respectively, Sarah Barr for secretary and Killian Bowe for treasurer.

Shannon Kissel was appointed event coordinator, Jeremy Dickey public relations coordinator and Issac Smith was appointed Student Activities Council (SAC) chair.

The appointed positions were recently sworn in by the prior position holder and will assume their duties starting with the next school year.

The new MSG board has set up a list of goals they plan to accomplish for next year. These include reaching out to all types of students, finishing what they have already started, identifying to the public exactly what MSG is and developing MSG internally.

During winter term, MSG emailed a survey to students asking their opinions about the Hermann Student Union as well as the electronic kiosk near the Audrey Hirt Academic Center.

The survey asked if students think the Student Union should be relocated to a more central area of campus. The survey showed that the majority of students think the Union is in a good location.

Some students, however, disagree.

“It seems too far away from most campus housing,” sophomore Kyle McIntyre said.

Students discussed services they would like added to the Union. The survey results showed students would like more food service, a study area, 24-hour access to a printer and office areas there.

Students said one centrally-located mailroom, instead of the currently divided one, would be a positive change, too.

“I feel the Union needs to be more inviting for students to come to and hang out. It could use a few more TVs and have a more relaxed atmosphere,” sophomore Max Susko said.

MSG members agree some change needs to be made to the Student Union.

“All I can say is that MSG realizes the need for a more centralized Student Union that features everything the students need, and one that targets not only upperclassmen, but underclassmen as well,” Dickey said.

For now, MSG plans on putting together a proposal highlighting the main interest of the majority of students. It would consist of what MSG thinks needs to be done in order to create a “dream” Student Union.

Currently, there is no set plan to alter the union; however, the proposal will remain on file and the MSG members will discuss the issue further.

Regarding the electronic kiosk, the survey found most students think it is a valuable tool that they use every day.

The most popular answer about its location change was to move the kiosk to the corner of Zurn Hall where the current marquee board is located.

“Since the senior gift has been planned to be constructed where the X meets in the sidewalk in front of Zurn and Hirt, the kiosk as is, will create an eyesore,” former MSG President Santina Sgro said. “We have plans with the college administration to move the kiosk to the corner of Zurn, where the showcase is currently located, near Garvey Park.”

Other plans for the campus include getting a printer students can access 24 hours a day in the 24/7 study lounge.

“This will be a huge help to anyone that needs to finish up and print a paper late at night,” Dickey said.

As far as reaching out to students, MSG would like to help students on campus with more events and work with freshman RAs to give students as many opportunities as possible.

The executive board would also like to strengthen the relationship between Police and Safety and the students.

MSG wants to assist students who stay on campus for breaks by ensuring a contract that makes an EMTA route available for them and by working on funding food stipends for those students.

Members of the executive board think it is their duty to make international and commuter students as comfortable as they can. They hope to help with the transition for these students as well as work with the Center of Student Engagement and Leadership Development to cosponsor events for commuters.

Another important goal to MSG is making students aware of who MSG really is and what it can do for the students.

“It’s time to let students know what we are really about,” Hess said.

MSG wants to develop events that will appeal to all students as well as let students know that through MSG they will have a voice at every level of their college.

“I would like to start a weekly or bi-weekly press release with the Merciad to make students more aware about MSG and what we are doing,” Dickey said.

Aside from that, Dickey would also like to start a Facebook page on which students can start discussions and speak their own opinions.

He plans to frequently keep the MSG website better updated so students will always know what is going on.

MSG not only wants to do work externally but also internally in their organization. The group has plans to develop an open working environment for the MSG board and senators as well as utilizing the talents of these members.

“We encourage all students to attend our meetings in the Student Government Chambers,” Hess said.

The meetings are at 8:30 p.m. every Monday and students may correspond with Dickey, MSG public relations coordinator, by email at