USS senators review goals from campaign

Kali Price

So far this year, Undergraduate Student Senate has met many of its goals and even added several more projects to its agenda.

“I feel like everyone is pulling their weight,” USS Executive Director Ross Miltner said.

Some of the senators have achieved their platform goals, which ranged from connecting the city of Kent to the campus to finding new ways to reach students for polls and surveys. Some of the senators’ goals changed and some were abandoned. One felt he didn’t have much of a platform at all.

During the next three days, the Daily Kent Stater will examine each of the senator’s platform goals, as well as his or her achievements and goals for next semester.

Ross Miltner, executive director

Ross Miltner’s platform goals loom over him every day.

They sit below his framed awards on the wall of his roomy office next to one of his two desks. His office on the first floor of the Student Center is lined with his achievements and constant reminders of work that he and the Undergraduate Student Senate has done this semester. Miltner has covered a large portion of the wall opposite his goals with clippings of Daily Kent Stater articles. Any mentions of USS or himself are highlighted in green.

Miltner, USS executive director, looked over at the goals on his wall and said his biggest goal was to bring better programming to campus.

“When I got into position, I realized that it was much more of a struggle than I had hoped,” he said. “There’s no one way to magically wave a wand and make programming better.”

As part of his campaign, Miltner promised to work closely with the All-Campus Programming Board to improve campus programming.

“I’ve been going to every one of their meetings for the past five or six weeks,” Miltner said.

During his efforts to help improve programming, Miltner has also helped Sean Groves, senator for business and finance, implement changes to the Allocations Committee process to make student organizations more accountable for the funds they receive from the committee.

“In the past, Allocations Committee has done a really good job to try to make programming better,” he said.

This year, USS added a programming assistant position to help student organizations that receive funds better prepare for its event.

But just working with ACPB and adding to the Allocations process hasn’t made a drastic change in programming yet.

“I think that it is a gradual process,” Miltner said. “We’re able to focus it more on bringing bigger acts.”

But Miltner’s other platform goals were taken care of for him. Miltner wanted to remove Black United Students and Inter-Greek Programming Board’s permanent seats on the Allocations Committee to allow all student organizations equal representation. One of the last decisions of the 2005-2006 senate was to keep the permanent seats.

Miltner also wanted to work with the city of Kent to start an internship program for students.

But the political science department did that instead by creating the Applied Public Policy Learning Experience (APPLE) program to connect students to local internships and projects.

Miltner said he would like to try and have USS work with the program to enhance it.

One of the other goals on Miltner’s wall is about the plan to redesign the Music Listening Center on the second floor of the Student Center. The revamping of the room wasn’t part of his platform when he ran last spring, but Miltner said the room needs updating.

“We’re making it more modern and making it iPod-friendly and wireless,” Miltner said.

During the summer, Miltner worked on replacing USS’ book exchange Web site with the new The site went live in July and is a service for students to sell nearly anything from books to TVs to cars. He also helped launch the new USS-sponsored Web site,, an interactive calendar of on- and off-campus events.

But Miltner’s favorite parts about his job are more behind the scenes.

“I really enjoy fighting for students on a daily basis,” Miltner said. “And to make sure students are getting a fair shake. It’s the side students don’t really see.”

Miltner meets regularly with the administration and President Lester Lefton. Miltner said he feels relaying students’ opinion to the administration is most important because students are the people who keep Kent State going.

“Your boss every day should be the 24,000-some student on this campus,” Miltner said. “If not, the university suffers.”

Throughout his first semester as executive director, Miltner said he has learned a lot about himself and dealing with others.

“I think I’ve learned how to manage an office. Same thing with the budget,” he said. “I think I’ve learned a lot about how people interact.”

Miltner said one of the problems he has had is working with difficult people. He said it is hard to find common ground with some and thinks he still has to work at it.

“I think it’s good that I’ve really learned it early,” he said.

But Miltner has also had problems managing his time because he said his position is demanding.

“There’s a constant stream of people that are looking for your time and your input,” he said. “Everyone everywhere has something that they’re fighting for. It does make it hard to keep class a priority. There’s little things that you have to sacrifice time for.

“This is my job – it’s a major responsibility. You do what you have to do to make time for it.”

Although his job may be time-consuming and stressful, Miltner rested his elbows on his desk, looked around his office, leaned forward and said it’s all worth it.

“It has been the best experience of my college career so far,” Miltner said.

Megan Sedello, senator for university affairs

Megan Sedello is halfway through her second crack at the university affairs spot.

In her second term as senator for university affairs, Sedello said she knew what to expect and didn’t have to make a transition into her job this semester.

She does it because she said she likes the opportunities she has to interact with students.

“I like the fact that I am able to work with student organizations on a more personal basis,” Sedello said. “(My job is) almost like a mentoring program. I like that aspect of it.”

Sedello’s platform goals were to promote the judicial advocate program, to restart the All University Hearing Board and to work to improve on-campus safety.

“I think I’ve tried my very best,” she said. “You’re never going to hit everything completely on target.”

Sedello has yet to improve on-campus safety or to bring back the hearing board.

“I wanted to see the hearing board utilized,” she said. “I had wanted to make a survey to see how students felt about it. It is in the bylaws so a survey wouldn’t be necessary. We kind of nixed the whole idea.”

But despite the bylaws and the survey idea falling through, Sedello said she still hasn’t given up on the hearing board.

“My goal has kind of changed to more (public relations) of the hearing board, so I’ve been working on that,” she said.

Sedello specifically works with Student Legal Services and Judicial Affairs. She helps students prepare for hearings and sits in on their cases.

“I help kind of by informing them of what to expect,” she said, “and kind of helping to prevent that from happening in the future.

“I love helping students, but I’d much rather not see students through the Judicial Affairs process.”

Sedello also oversees the judicial advocates program by training student leaders guide other students through the Judicial Affairs process. She said she works closely with R.P. Flynn, the director of Judicial Affairs.

Sedello said that she has seen less cases this year compared to last year.

“The fish don’t seem to be biting as much,” she said, “whether it be students being good or just lack of use of the advocate program.”

Sedello said that this year, the advocates have been more willing to take cases. She has done more work to train more advocates this year.

“Last year, it came to a time when I would just take cases on my own,” she said. “That’s what I’m trying to improve this year.”

Sedello said she likes her job, and if she weren’t graduating, she said she would do it all over again – just in another position.

Amy Groya, senator for governmental affairs

This semester Amy Groya said she has enjoyed watching the senators’ relationships grow and change.

“A lot of these people have become my closest friends,” she said.

Groya said another positive of her job is how it allows her to be involved with politics and government.

“It gives me the opportunity to give back to the university,” she said.

Groya’s platform goals were to create report cards for Ohio legislators before the election, to increase awareness of statewide and local candidates and to continue the “Live Here, Vote Here” program.

Her goals revolved around the midterm election in November, which was the height of Groya’s semester.

“I helped students who wouldn’t have registered to register; I helped get students out to the polls,” she said.

Although she continued the “Live Here, Vote Here” program during the time before, and on, Election Day, Groya’s other platform goals were left untouched.

The report cards were never done. Groya never held any events to raise awareness about statewide and local candidates because she said she wasn’t able to get local candidates together to hold a debate on-campus.

“I couldn’t get the candidates here,” she said. “It was a huge disservice to the students at Kent State … I was really disappointed in the way that turned out.”

Groya’s current project is with the Inter-University Council of Ohio, which is made up of presidents and student government leaders from Ohio universities. She said the council plans to write resolutions that call for the state legislature to help Ohio students pay their college tuition.

Groya went to Columbus along with fellow senators Preston Mitchum, Justin Jeffery and Ross Miltner on Nov. 15 to meet with state legislators and student leaders from other universities for “Storm the State House” day. Groya said the group met with 68th District Rep. Kathleen Chandler and discussed funding for Kent State, which is in Chandler’s district.

“We got to talk to student leaders from all over Ohio,” she said. “And we got to sit in and watch state senate.”

Groya said she will focus on the council next semester.

“I’m going to spend next semester on working with other universities and the state legislature to help do what I can to make colleges aware that students at Kent State and across the state need help with education costs,” she said. “I’m not going to rest until it’s accomplished. And I’m going to make students aware exactly that they’re really being burdened by this.”

With all of the projects Groya is working on, she said the hardest thing about her job is the lack of recognition she gets from students.

“I think that the hardest part is doing as much as you do and not having students recognize it all of the time,” she said. “A lot more goes into this job than the students really think. Every single person on this senate gives their job 100 percent.”

And the accomplishments that USS has achieved so far still amaze Groya.

“I think it’s really amazing what college students can do when they put their minds to it,” she said.

Contact student politics reporter Kali Price at [email protected].