Reviewing representation

Kelly Pickerel

USS senators pleased with the accomplishments they’ve made this semester

Editor’s Note:

In the second part of a three-day series, the Stater examines the Undergraduate Student Senators you elected last semester. As USS prepares to restructure student government at Kent State, here’s a look at how those elected have carried through with their campaign platform goals. The senators were asked about platform goals, which they presented last spring while they ran for election.

Jonathan Bey

Senator for community affairs

Senator for community affairs, Jonathan Bey, said the Undergraduate Student Senate has room for improvement – but not too much.

“We (senators) have all kind of accomplished what we’ve set out do, ” he said. “Not all of them (plans) worked out, obviously, but certainly, by no means by a lack of effort.”

Bey dealt with some misfortunate downfalls with his original platform goals, just as almost any other senator could agree.

The main goal for Bey was to strengthen and expand the Community Task Force, a group working at improving relations between the city and off-campus students. Currently, the group stands at zero members, but again, it’s not because of a lack of effort on Bey’s part.

“(The task force) never picked up like I wanted it to, ” he said. “We had a training meeting in October. We ran ads. No one showed up, and I sat upstairs for 45 minutes by myself. “

The idea of a task force won’t be given up on too quickly, Bey said. He plans to work with Greg Jarvie, dean of students, and previous senator for community affairs, Justin Jeffery, next semester to find a better way to approach the situation.

“It’s been big in the past, probably three or four years ago, then it died back down, ” Bey said of the task force. “Justin started it back up last spring, and we had a little success with it and it kind of all fell apart over the summer.

“We need to think of new ways to approach it to kind of entice people into getting into it. “

Bey has seen some success with his position. On Oct. 30, he organized a community forum, where off-campus students got a chance to form dialogue with Kent police and community members.

The group discussion was very successful, he said, and plans are already forming for another forum this spring.

One of the big issues focused on at the forum was housing issues and off-campus rentals. Bey said he, along with Executive Director Katie Hale, will work alongside Student Legal Services to help more students through complicated situations.

“It’s hard because there are two attorneys at Student Legal Services, and they don’t have time to go out and find this information, ” he said. “So, we’re going to go out and do that for them, getting students and information to SLS. “

Bey said he agrees with the other senators when they say a lot of original goals just can’t get done.

“The task force and some goals of others kind of fall short and just didn’t get out there, ” he said. “As a whole, one thing we all kind of set out as our main goal is improving communication with the whole student body. Overall, there’s no one good way to reach the entire student body, and that’s something we need to look at as a student senate. “

Andrew Ljubi

Senator for business and finance

The senator for business and finance is a very busy man.

Interrupted three times during his final interview with the Stater about student organizations needing some of his time, Andrew Ljubi has a lot to keep track of.

Head of the Allocations Committee, he and other committee members choose what student organizations get to use portions of student-paid fees totaling $139,720.

His platform goals reflected on his responsibility as the head of the committee.

His goals were to be more efficient and make better use of dollars, give “state of the committee ” reports to USS each week, require post-program analysis from groups receiving allocated money and establish a book scholarship for committee members.

All major goals have been completed except for the scholarship.

“I started looking into that, and there’s a whole student compensation matrix that has to be reorganized, ” Ljubi said. “It’s not like there’s excess money in a pool, and I’m just like, ‘divvy this up ten ways,’ type of thing. “

His original plan was to set up a scholarship to encourage more people to attend meetings and join the Allocations Committee.

“By the end of my term, I want to at least have a proposal prepared, ” he said. “If it’s not a monetary compensation, maybe explore some other options. “

Ljubi said even paid parking would be something he’d be pleased with.

“Something, maybe not to encourage more people to join the committee, but just compensate those who put in time to be on the committee, ” he said.

As for the other goals, Ljubi has covered all his bases.

The Allocations Committee has been more efficient and made better use of allocated dollars. There’s more money available now than at this time last year, and Ljubi said it’s because committee members are “trimming the fat ” on requests and not allowing irresponsible use of dollars slide by.

John Wetmore, senator for governmental affairs and vice-chair of the committee, said Ljubi is doing a great job.

“Certainly the committee has become a lot more ‘penny-wise’ with funding, ” Wetmore said. “The committee has taken it upon themselves to stretch every dollar that we have. “

Ljubi said he plans to continue allocating next semester until the funds available to students are no longer there.

“As we run out of money, I’ll start working with the committee more about re-reviewing some requests so we can start making recommendations for the ad hoc process of updating the allocations process, ” he said.

Ljubi said he sometimes wishes time was better organized for his position.

“The primary role of the senator for business and finance is to run the Allocations Committee, and once you get things going, it’s a lot easier, but just getting that initial momentum is hard, ” he said. “You take your chair at the end of the spring semester, you have a limited amount of time to compose your committee, get your committee trained, figure out what the schedule of everyone next year will be, interview everyone.

“I think that if there was a way to improve the timeline of when events happen and whatnot, it would ease the transition between senators a lot. “

Michael Hammond

Senator for research and

development

The senator for research and development has completed all of his platform goals, and then some.

Michael Hammond barely raises his voice above a whisper at meetings, but his accomplishments speak for themselves.

During his run for the position last spring, Hammond established three simple goals: work with Dining Services to receive student input about campus food, develop a street team to promote USS and work with the Center for Student Involvement and ACPB to find better approaches at bringing concerts on campus.

Before the end of the semester was even in view, Hammond’s goals were completed, and he had taken on extra tasks.

“I’m learning different ways of research, ” he said. “I’m learning what students want to see, why they go (to events), why they don’t. “

To start off the year, Hammond’s first accomplished goal was adding Boca Grande to what Dining Services has to offer to students.

“Everyone was like, ‘Chipotle! Chipotle!’ ” he said. “They love it. “

After marking that off his list before the fall semester even began, Hammond started developing a street team, an informal branch of the senate.

“It’s rolling, ready to go, ” he said. “My target date for a big launch was in the middle of November, and I have, like, 12 or 14 members. “

The point of the street team, Hammond said, is to help poll students and research what’s wanted on campus. Not only are team members asking students questions about food and concerts, but they’re also promoting the image of USS.

The most recent completed goal was dealing with the concert process.

“The way concerts were done (before), there were so many guidelines and red tape, ” he said. “What I’m trying to do is simplify that and get concerts done quickly. “

Previously, for the university to book an act, it could take weeks or months before something was set in stone. Hammond has developed a pre-concert approval/evaluation form to speed along the process. He’s also met with the chief of police, the dean of students and the assistant director of the CSI so there’s an overall understanding of the new method he’s working on.

“There’s so many checks and balances on campus, ” he said. “This will hopefully simplify the process to a week or two. “

Besides his main goals, Hammond has also used his researching skills to search out new ideas.

“Something I’ve picked up on is how conscientious campus is toward the environment, ” he said.

After meeting with Michael McDonald, director of Campus Environment and Operations, a graduate assistant position was established solely involving recycling.

Hammond had previously stated that he was frustrated while walking around campus with nowhere to throw away a plastic bottle besides a trash can. Outdoor recycling bins will eventually make their way onto campus because of his concern.

Hammond might say his biggest accomplishment overall has been how much he’s learned.

“I’m very happy with everything this year, ” he said. “I got all my goals accomplished. I got all that I wanted done as a junior. Now, I’m a senior, and I see what I can do, and I feel like I can do more.

“I’m still learning, and it takes awhile to get everything going. “

Hammond said the support of the other senators has really helped him through the first half of his term.

“Everyone wants to help each other out. I’m very happy with how everyone has been cooperative, ” he said. “That’s a plus for our senate: everyone works together so well.”

Contact student politics reporter Kelly Pickerel at [email protected]