New Initiatives at SGI

Ariana Ortiz, Co-News Editor

SGI gathered on Monday, Sept. 25 to discuss issues such as new initiatives, the introduction of the Sustainability Committee, and a meeting with Dining Services.

The meeting began with a presentation by special guest President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, who discussed his “four strategic priorities” in leading the University: Ensure Student Success, Recruit Outstanding Faculty and Staff Enhance Learning Environment, Expand Partnerships. Gempesaw discussed how these will continue to shape his efforts to improve St. John’s.

This was followed by a presentation on Robert’s Rules of Order by Josh Rich of the University’s Conduct Board, a procedure of conducting meetings that president of SGI Frank Obermeyer previously mentioned would be implemented in the first SGI meeting of the semester.

Obermeyer then spoke about a new initiative called The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program, which entails creating a task force to “promote emotional health, preventing suicide and substance abuse.” Obermeyer then invited interested SGI to join the task force. According to its official website, the program was created in 2014 and “is designed to help colleges and universities promote emotional well-being and improve mental health programming, reduce substance abuse, and prevent suicide among 18-to-26 year-olds.”

Vice President of SGI William Pugh then introduced ILead, an upcoming workshop on Oct. 12 geared toward student leaders on campus. Pugh said its purpose is to “meet with Organization leaders and talk about how we can help them.”

Junior Senator Atem Tazi said that she and Obermeyer recently met with the University’s Chief Diversity Officer Nada Llewellyn, and had a conversation about campus-wide diversity concerns and microaggressions.

“We want to host a diversity inclusion training session as an organization congress date for students to come and learn about this.” Tazi said. “[Llewellyn] would host an active session similar to those done by Jane Elliot who she used to work under.”

The Budget Committee Report consisted of an allocation request of $1,150 by the African Students Association for their “Rep Ya Flag BBQ” which took place on Sept. 25; the allocation was then voted on and passed. Expenses included those for food and a DJ.

Alexander Cheung of the Research and Development Committee said the committee would be meeting with Dining Services on Sept. 27. He said the discussion would include proposed initiatives such as “satisfaction button” data, students being able to pre-order food from their phones, and a sustainability survey. Christian Mercado of the Student Services Committee added that the discussion would also concern a new mac and cheese bar, Za’atar in Marillac Food Court and Green Street Grill in DAC.

The Sustainability Committee, a new addition to SGI headed by Carissa Herb, then made its introduction. “The Sustainability Committee targets to strengthen on campus environmental actions through student government, departments, and recognized campus organizations.” Herb said. “This committee makes sure to represent students’ desires to have more environmentally focused projects and options here at St. John’s.”