OPINION: DePaul Student Government Association makes case for greater involvement

Leadership cannot exist in a vacuum. In order for effective public servants to emerge and achieve success, they depend upon the voice of constituents. At DePaul, positive change is directly related to the efforts afforded by individuals who relentlessly pursue justice for these constituents: our student body.

It is easy for student voices at comparative institutions to get lost in the shuffle of administrative priorities, donor contributions and evolving trends within academia. DePaul’s new strategic plan, Grounded in the Mission, however, seeks to involve students at every level. Last academic year, students joined staff, faculty and the Board of Trustees to compose the university’s six different strategic priorities for the following six years. Now, students are invited to further expand these points to move from what must be done to answer how it needs to happen.

The Student Government Association is seeking responses from the Blue Demon community to answer this question of how to best implement the new strategic priorities. Just how do we want to see DePaul “ensure a welcoming, engaging, diverse, and inclusive campus environment?” How can DePaul better “excel in preparing all students for global citizenship and success?” We know DePaul buzzwords such as “diversity” and “Vincentian leadership” can appear frequently without clearly and student-defined meanings, and this campaign is the students’ opportunity to share with administration how our university should conceptualize such ideas.

The background for the new strategic plan is a focus on further integrating the mission into all we do here at DePaul. Within this mission is the holistic care for inherent human dignity. To truly care for our student body, we must respond to its needs completely and thoroughly. We want “success” for our students, but the only way we can implement structures and resources to bridge points A and B is to develop a greater understanding of what success looks like for DePaul students. How does the “Catholic, Vincentian, urban mission” factor into your success plan? How do you see “high-quality, affordable academic programs” propelling you toward your personal, professional and academic goals? How can DePaul better respond to the goals you and your peers have set for your future?

SGA members have the opportunity to sit at the table where such discussions are already taking place. But our own limited experiences here at DePaul cannot be the only way to back up our voices. We can only call ourselves effective leaders if the changes we propose directly link to the needs of our community. We urge members of the greater DePaul community to read more about Grounded in the Mission: DePaul 2024, respond to SGA’s social media posts and submit ideas to [email protected] by April 25. New or improved initiatives that can earn university strategic funding are encouraged and SGA will ensure that the administration recognizes and understands the needs of the student body and takes strategic action.

How can DePaul better respond to what must be done? What do we need from our university? Let us know, and let’s work together to make it happen.