SGA executive vice presidents present on senators’ initiatives, work during last general body meeting of the quarter

Students+walk+on+the+Quad%2C+located+on+DePauls+Lincoln+Park+campus.

Eric Henry

Students walk on the Quad, located on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus.

DePaul Student Government Association’s (SGA) executive vice presidents presented on the initiatives senators have been working on this past quarter during the last general body meeting of the term on Thursday.

SGA Executive Vice President of Student Affairs Marcus Robertson said Cindy Rocha, SGA’s senator for commuter students, has worked on data collection from commuter students to create a survey asking students about the length of their commute to help commuter students receive priority class registration. In addition, Rocha is collaborating with Courtney James, SGA’s adviser and the director of the Office of Student Involvement, on a podcast discussing the resources offered by University Counseling Services.

One of SGA’s newest senators, Israel Monroy-Acevedo, plans to “get better marketing and communication” regarding campus events along with expanding access to student services such as mental health resources.

Justin Jackson, SGA’s senator for veteran students, plans to “make the transfer process a little easier to navigate,” according to Robertson. 

Adora Alava, SGA’s senator for community and government relations, took part in the Dialogue on Student Advocacy and Leadership event, learning about students’ concerns related to the university administration along with changes students want to see at DePaul. Alava also works with the Illinois Board of Education’s subcommittee on diversity and equity.

Afterwards, Robbie Merkel, SGA’s executive vice president of diversity and equity, presented on the initiatives of other senators.

SGA Senator for First-Generation Students Miranda Garcia has worked on a first-generation workshop in collaboration with the Career Center consisting of a variety of events centered around professional development, such as helping first-generation students find internships.

Meanwhile, Jessica Nalupta, SGA’s senator for mission and ministry, focused  on the Vincentian Service scholarship reaching out to freshmen students. In addition, Nalupta has been advocating to qualify activists and student leaders as individuals that “carry out acts of service in line with our Vincentian Values,” according to Merkel. 

Nalupta also worked to promote the student food pantry, attended Meet Me at the Mission’s weekly meetings supporting the department through co-hosting events and workshops, and getting student voices involved in updating DePaul’s mission statement. 

Carolina Aceves, SGA’s senator for intercultural awareness, collaborated with Alava on the leadership advocacy dialogue and is involved in the “sanctuary campus group” along with other SGA members, according to Merkel.

During his presentation, Wesley Janicki, SGA’s executive vice president of facility operations, noted the work that the Operations Committee has done in relation to sustainability along with “preparing students for getting the [Covid-19] vaccine and returning back to campus.”

Regarding the initiatives of individual senators in the committee, Janicki said Johnny Milas, SGA’s senator for fourth and fifth-year students, has been “spearheading” the Graduation Ad Hoc Committee and Julianna Deleon, SGA’s senator for second-year students, will help plan one of SGA’s in-person events. 

During the Academic Affairs Committee presentation, SGA Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Keith Norward said Mason Decker, SGA’s senator for the College of Business, met with interim Dean Thomas Donley throughout the quarter to discuss transparency issues and “a lack of student engagement within the college.”

In addition, Decker plans to work on implementing a change in the business school’s core curriculum and is “collaborating with Assistant Dean Karen Burgard on outreach programs for incoming students and ways to better engage the student populations within the Business School.” 

Erika Debelak, SGA’s senator for the College of Computing and Digital Media, utilized the student advocacy and leadership event to learn how to increase attendance at SGA’s general body meetings. Debelak also worked with the Dean of CDM David Miller to “secure accommodations for students who experience any hardships due to the pandemic.”

Gema Tinoco, SGA’s senator for the College of Communication, researched and addressed polarization at DePaul through three steps: a plan to host a forum with faculty to discuss their thoughts on the issue, using that information to create a survey which will be distributed to students next quarter and presenting the data analysis to DePaul to bring in OpenMind, a “free platform that aims to foster empathy and open-mindedness in groups for constructive conversation,” to campus by fall quarter, according to Norward.

SGA Senator for the College of Education Kevin Holechko will be on Dean Paul Zionts’ review panel, who will be up for review fall quarter, and Holechko will co-sponsor a career panel event with Sigma Lambda Beta.

Mariana Byker, SGA’s senator for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, worked on removing GPA requirements for and redistributing the budget to LAS scholarships.

SGA Senator for the School of Music Breanna Vazquez completed the college’s Dean Review Board, joined the college’s Student Engagement Committee, and advocated for and received more student representation on multiple committees within the School of Music.

Sabah Sulaiman, SGA’s senator for the College of Science and Health, worked on increasing communication between the college’s staff and students. In addition, Sulaiman collaborated, “with the [College of Science and Health] dean on hosting a series of Zoom luncheons with her where [the college’s] students can ask any questions or present any concerns that they have and the dean will answer them,” Norward said. Sulaiman also wants to bring more diversity and inclusion to the college. 

President’s Report

SGA President Alyssa Isberto discussed an idea on getting excused absences for students experiencing adverse effects from the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Advising Report

James said the Office of Student Involvement  is planning on-campus events for spring quarter, including bumper cars and other events, to help pilot a larger return to campus in the fall.

Other

Milas discussed the application for students interested in speaking at this year’s commencement ceremony and that the university is looking for commencement speakers from each college.

Editor’s note: Marcus Robertson, SGA’s executive vice president of student affairs, is also an editor for The DePaulia. Robertson does not report on SGA, nor does his involvement with SGA affect his reporting.