Guest Column: Mary Beth Rosenauer targets communication
February 23, 2013
Mary Beth Rosenauer, Bachelor of Music Education, Hometown: Savannah, MO, Student Senator, Campus Advancement Committee Chair, Founder of Western Appeal: MWSU a cappella group
Sigma Alpha Iota Treasurer, National Association for Music Educators Treasurer, Missouri Girls State Counselor, St. Joseph Youth Alliance Board Member, Starbucks Barista
When you announce your candidacy for SGA president, people ask one of two questions. The first is one of concern: “Are you crazy?” The second is one of curiosity: “What’s your platform?”
My answer to the first: Yes, of course, but one has to be a little crazy to do this. And the second? Allow me to explain.
For the past four semesters, I have served as a student senator under two SGA presidents, first Alison Norris and now Jacob Scott. My Monday nights have consisted of weekly senate meetings where I’ve discovered the right way to pass legislation, the “could’ve been better” way, and all the headaches, office hours, late nights and nasty articles in between.
Every year, we seek bigger, better and more, as university students should. Sometimes, though, the good intentions of student leaders are not so widely accepted. This causes one to wonder what could have been done more effectively.
My answer: better communication.
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once claimed, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
This is a concept that pertains all too well to Griffon Country. All of us have questions about the appropriate use of student fees. Too much is collected that offers too little benefit for students. And that’s the result of poor communication between campus administrators and the SGA executive board. The root of our problems boils down to this: Student leaders aren’t communicating with those they represent.
As a current representative of the student voice, it has become my mission to question the effectiveness of SGA and how it could improve. Leaders often assume students will come to them with their interests and needs even though many students aren’t even aware of the ways SGA can assist them. As a result, MonTerio Seewood, vice-chair of campus advancement, and I are currently working to pass legislation that would ask each senator to represent specific academic departments. Instead of waiting for students to find us, we want to reach out to them.
If elected, I promise to continue that essential need for better communication. Here are a few suggestions.
- First, the SGA will do a better job announcing its agenda, sharing clear minutes of its meetings and giving students ample opportunities to speak to issues that concern them.
- Second, the SGA will make effective use of both its website and campus email. The website should highlight important current issues and make it fast and easy for all students to access news and information. Moreover, we should send weekly emails to students informing them and giving them easy ways to respond.
- Third, we should work more closely with The Griffon News. While it’s their job to report the news, it’s our job to make it readily available and to work with them to connect to students.
- Finally, of all the things we must communicate better, among the most important is the SGA budget. Our current budget is online. More than $400,000, but I challenge you to clearly determine exactly where your money goes. And don’t get me started with the Student Success Fee. There are still numerous questions from students concerning what those funds are being used for. We must not only make clear where the money is going but also give students more input into where it should go.
As SGA president, my mission would be to keep students better informed of the ever-changing issues on our campus. More importantly, I would find ways for Missouri Western students to inform me. Communication in my administration will be two-way.