Student Assembly to launch awareness campaigns

by Timothy Connor | 9/23/14 7:05pm

Student Assembly announced structural and procedural changes on Tuesday that its leaders say aim to boost connections with the student body and institutional transparency. A “State of the Student Body” report outlined the fall term goals of student body president Casey Dennis ’15 and vice president Frank Cunningham ’16.

One goal outlined in Tuesday’s document explained a desire to increase institutional transparency. To that end, the Assembly report indicates that members will release executive board meeting notes online and host open office hours on Sunday evenings, and it will expand to include two rotating members who will serve on its board each term.

The statement’s authors promised to continue collaborating with Dick’s House to examine the scope and severity of mental health issues on campus.

In an interview, Cunningham said addressing mental health holds particular importance for him.

“This campaign is something that’s near and dear to my heart, since I’ve dealt with my own issues of mental health,” Cunningham said. “There are a lot of students dealing with mental health issues on campus right now, and it’s just one of those topics we don’t talk about.”As part of the mental health campaign, the Assembly will host a panel in Moore Auditorium on Sept. 30 in honor of National Mental Health Awareness Week.

A campaign to address sexual assault will begin with a roundtable discussion among student leaders next week, in partnership with the Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault, and will continue with a social media campaign and an event marking National Campus Conversation Week in November. The exact nature of the event is currently undetermined, Casey Dennis said.

“That’s for our campaign team to decide,” he said. “Frank and I have many different ideas — we’ve had this planned out for many months — but with so many new members, we’d like to get fresh perspectives.”

The report also described a partnership with the National Campus Leaders Council that will focus on collaboration with policy makers to address sexual assault, and pledged to support the Obama administration’s recent “It’s On Us” campaign.

Two rotating members, Grace Mermel ’16 and Evan Read ‘16, will sit on the board for a single term with full voting powers. The Assembly has also named a press director, Reilly Johnson ’16, and its first marketing director, Kyle Dennis ’15.

Johnson, Mermel and Kyle Dennis were appointed by the executive pair, while Read applied for his position and was accepted.

Johnson will serve as an intermediary between the Assembly and the press, and Kyle Dennis will be responsible for the management of social media on behalf of the group, Casey Dennis said.

Kyle Dennis said his goal is to publicize the Assembly’s activities, both on and off campus.

Several committees within the Assembly have been redesigned, including the academic affairs committee, which will now include four faculty members, according to the report. The Assembly’s restructuring will include the creation of a campaign committee, a team of 12 students tasked with the management of the mental health and sexual assault initiatives, and a new Greek Life task force which will focus on inclusivity, Cunningham said.

“The ultimate goal will be to find solutions to make sure that every student feels welcome and can feel as though they can join the Greek system no matter what,” Cunningham said.

Casey Dennis said that, with these new changes, the body will include more than 90 students.

The report also includes plans for tailgates and providing students with online subscriptions to the New York Times.

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