By Ellie Kreidie
Not only was Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day, it was also the inaugural day of a new project by Drew’s Student Government. If you are on Facebook you may have noticed a new post on the Student Government page, which shared the previous week’s summary of the Student Government meeting. Meant to create further transparency and involvement by Student Government to the Drew population, the action has brought support from students.
Nicole Albornoz (‘20), the Chief Communications Officer of Student Government, discussed the new initiative. “The issue that Student Government (SG) has faced is not the lack of transparency, but the ability to relay the information into the hands of the student body.” Albornoz continued, saying, “That issue is also connected with the fact that most of the student body, who are not involved in SG or have any affiliations with SG, are unaware of who their elected officials are.” The goal, says Albornoz, is to pave a pathway so that everyone at Drew is aware of their representative, are further involved with Student Government and its programs and are informed about the actions passed by the Student Government, which affect the whole Drew community.
Albornoz notes that it was prioritized in the platform of the current President Salma Mahmoud and Vice President Shehab Marzouk to increase transparency and student inclusion within Student Government. It was with this aim that the idea of providing public access to weekly summaries was developed. “By regularly advertising meeting updates through social media outlets, students who are curious or interested to learn about what SG does would be given the information needed and meeting time/location any student wants to sit in during a meeting,” says Albornoz. The main objective of sending out meeting updates is to inform people that Student Government’s actions are constant and become a reality, meaning if students aren’t excited with certain measures they must talk with their senators to ensure change can be done.
Though it’s too early to tell how powerful these weekly summaries will come to be or if they will achieve the goal of furthering transparency and inclusion with the greater Drew community, ideas have already started rolling on ways to achieve that further. “Some other changes we want to implement is holding monthly Town Hall meetings; students will be able to voice their opinions and concerns in a less formal environment and have the opportunity to meet their elected officials and senators,” says Albornoz.