SGA President says farewell

by Ida Haefner My fellow Griffons: What a whirlwind of an adventure this year has been as the voice for all of you! I can honestly say that I have grown as a student and as a person, and I have learned so much in this role that I was elected to serve. This year, Student Government Association has provided free rides on St. Joseph Transit buses, free tickets for students to Missouri Western Theatre productions, restructured SGA, and provided water bottle refilling stations in buildings across campus. In just this year alone, Missouri Western has finished the celebration of its Centennial Year with the rededication of the Glenn E. Marion Memorial Clock Tower and the closing of the time capsule at the Fall commencement, hosted the opening of the new phase of the Walter Cronkite Memorial and the premiere of “Harry and Walter”, and brought up many issues that are plaguing students. We are looking into how our school compares to other universities when it comes to race and racial issues. It is amazing to think what all has happened in one year. I remember last year at this time being psyched to start the year and had great ideas to make SGA better and more known across campus. I can honestly say I have accomplished most of those goals and I have not stopped working for the students even when classes were unbearable and with graduation day being so close. I have stuck it out throughout the hard times and the good times we have had as students. We found ways to make Missouri Western a better place for students to live and attend school. We made connections that will last for many years to come. We stood as one to fight discrimination. You all have made this my favorite year at Missouri Western and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Thank you for being my friends and for being the ones who have challenged me and made me a better person. Go Griffs! ---Ida Haefner, SGA President 2015-2016

Why music is important

Music—an everyday occurrence yet complex notion. Music permeates our culture, used as a means of communication, expression of emotion, and even a form of therapy. We hear it on the radio, driving to and from school or work. We hear it in the supermarket as we go aisle to aisle, scouring the shelves. But what would life be without music? Many philosophers, artists, and celebrity figures have commented on this idea, most of them saying it would be incomprehensible to live in a world with an absence of music. Author Aldous Huxley once stated, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” It seems that music, while so commonplace today, still has a certain power, a magic, per se, that makes the ordinary, extraordinary. To me, music is a form of escape. If I am ever experiencing a troublesome day, I find solace through listening to and playing music. In this way, music can be seen as almost cathartic in nature. And this seems to be an aspect of music most people employ. What is interesting is that music is also endlessly open to interpretation. Depending on one’s environment and current circumstances, he or she could pull heartbreak, effervescence, or love out of a song simply written about a certain day of the week. Music’s form as a creative outlet, much like visual art or writing, allows for a myriad of genres, styles, etc. This versatility is, to me, simply astounding. Music has been such a key component of my life that I cannot imagine living without it. And I think this is the case for most people, they just don’t realize it, for music has been prominent throughout all of history. It has the power to rally communities, to spread culture, and perhaps even change the world. As is said in the movie August Rush, “The music is all around us, all you have to do is listen.”

Guest Column: Mary Beth Rosenauer targets communication

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 Candidate MBR 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.  

Guest Column: Katy Sisco will address critical issues

My name is Katy Sisco and I am from a small town in Nebraska. I have lived on Missouri Western’s campus for three years. Throughout those three years, I have made friendships that helped me develop into the strong individual I am today. I am running for president to make a positive difference for the students of this university. I want to see students, and the university, reach their full potential. I will address critical issues including: maximizing student engagement to ensure students receive the most beneficial experience at MWSU, informing the student body about the student success act, and branding the SGA name. As president, ensuring the money SGA allots to student organizations is being used in the most beneficial way is paramount. This includes money being properly budgeted and allocated by the organizations. Programs that organizations hold should reflect their outlined objectives. Many students may ask, what is the student success act? The student success act is funded by the student body of MWSU to support the university, in the light of the expected budget cut. However, the expected budget cut never came to fruition, yet, the act is still active. The money from the fee will still go to the expected departments outlined in the act. I support the student success act in the spirit that it will go towards improvements and other university needs. During my last three years as a resident, it has come to my attention that many students do not fully understand SGA’s function and its relationship to WAC. I want to see WAC become well known to the students as the programming entity of SGA. Promoting the function of WAC will help with the division of branding SGA as its entity. Issues critical to the students are not limited to those which are publicly apparent, but include the private concerns of every student. I am passionate about the success of this university and I know that successful students are part of a successful university. So, in turn, I am determined to make sure that the student body gets the most out of their college experience at MWSU through the means of SGA.  

Student Opinion: Taking the Tobacco Policy to the President

At their October 16, 2012, meeting, the Governance Advisory Council recommended a new policy banning the use of tobacco products on the campus of Missouri Western State University. I signed the policy October 23, 2012. The new policy is below. The target date for implementation of the new policy is July 1, 2013.
Missouri Western seeks to maintain a safe and healthy environment for its students, employees and visitors. Research findings show tobacco use in general, including smoking and breathing secondhand smoke as well as smokeless tobacco use, results in a significant health hazard.
In April, the Board of Governors approved a resolution supporting the pursuit of a policy establishing Missouri Western as a tobacco-free campus. Since then, the Office of Human Resources and the Campus Wellness Committee have received support from the Student Government Association, the Faculty Senate and the Staff Senate.
A Tobacco Policy Task Committee will be appointed to oversee the implementation of the policy. They will develop and promote informational resources to better educate the campus about the policy, coordinate all appropriate signage, oversee the removal of smoking receptacles, and take any other steps necessary to fully implement the policy as quickly as possible. The committee will continue to keep the campus informed about its progress in implementing the policy.
I’m pleased that we are a community leader in the effort to provide a healthy tobacco-free environment, and appreciate your cooperation as the policy is implemented. To continue to promote the health and well-being of all in the university community, cessation resources will continue to be made available, given available grant funds. These resources can be found through the Division of Student Affairs, Human Resources, or the Esry Health Center.
Thank you.
Bob Vartabedian, President