“How many students will we impact today?” That is the guiding question we ask ourselves at the beginning of every meeting.
Student Government. Everybody knows our ultimate goal: to enhance students’ experience. But how do we do it? What do we do behind the scenes to reach that goal?
Whenever Student Government is mentioned, the Student Senate is always the first thing that comes to mind. Not many know about the other branch in Student Government: the Executive Cabinet. While Student Senate deals with passing legislation concerning the student body, the Executive Cabinet works with campus administrators and Senators to work on initiatives related to their position and area of concern.
The Executive Cabinet is divided into various departments, they are University Services, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, University Life, Government and Community Relations, Academic Affairs and Public Relations. Each department has a secretary and they oversee the undersecretaries in that department and provide assistance to them in the work they do. And each undersecretary is responsible for a specific area within the department.
For instance, within the University Services department, there is the Undersecretary for Parking and Transportation, Dining Services, Housing and Residence Life, Sustainability, Information Technology, and Facilities. In the meantime, the different departments in Executive Cabinet work with a group of Senators in their respective committees to brainstorm and collaborate on initiatives.
Via George Mason Student Government
This is my very first semester working with Student Government and it’s been incredibly rewarding so far.
As the Undersecretary for Dining Services in the University Services department, I mainly work with administrators from Mason Dining, such as the General Managers for retailing and residential dining. I’m also in charge of the Student Dining Board, collaborating with other students from other organizations, for instance, Resident Student Association (RSA) and the Vegan Society. My main goal is to collect students’ feedback on dining halls and communicate them to Mason Dining, Student Government and the Student Dining Board, whether it is a praise, a complaint or a suggestion.
Photo Courtesy of Adia McLaughlin
I have so much love for my role and my department and part of the reason why is because of the freedom we have in the role. There is no set approach to things aside from a few guidelines. We very much have the freedom to interpret our positions however we want it to be and make it into our own. There is so much room for creativity. I can come up with my own ways to gather students’ opinions. I’ve done kiosks and online postings in the past and I’m planning on putting out an online survey through Student Involvement’s newsletter, hosting focus groups, doing an opinion board or box in the near future. I absolutely can’t wait to brainstorm more ways to improve the dining experience for students!
Another reason why I love Student Government so much is because of the work ethic. Everyone in both the Executive Cabinet and Senate is so motivated and has a heart for change and improvement. Everybody is working on things they are passionate about and are constantly coming up with and moving forward with initiatives.
It also excites me so much that I have the opportunity and power to work on such important things, such as being a part of Mason Dining’s decision making process on substantial changes to dining halls. (Changes to dining hall hours are currently being discussed, stay tuned for an article on that in the near future)
Every single person in Student Government has a critical role in enhancing Mason students’ college experience. And everything we do, big or small, has an impact.
So, how many students will we impact today, collegiettes?