Student government gives students the floor with weekly Tuesday meetings
Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 02:09
Students looking for a place to express concerns about issues in the student body now have an outlet. Student Body President senior Charlie Schreiber and Vice President senior Courtney Bernard are starting “Tuesdays with Charlie and Courtney,” a weekly meeting in which they will discuss the concerns and comments of any Miami University student.
“This is an hour and a half every week that you can count on for us to be accessible,” Bernard said. “We want to hear from students and show them that we’re normal students too.”
Schreiber added that from the very beginning, he and Bernard knew they had to change the relationship between students involved in the Associated Student Government (ASG) and those who are not.
“Courtney and my buzzword during the campaign was ‘disconnect’ between the student body and student government,” Schreiber said. “We found a lot of times students will voice complaints to each other, but then they don’t know how to get to us or don’t feel comfortable coming to the ASG office.”
According to Schreiber, they plan to hold the meetings in locations like dining halls and Uptown restaurants for student convenience.
Senior Samantha Kent said she is skeptical students other than those with negative opinions will show up for the meetings, but that she does respect the motivation behind the concept.
“I think it’s a good idea, but the only people who will come talk to you in that setting are people who want to be negative,” Kent said.
Kent went on to explain that people who would make time in their day to spend an hour and a half talking about something will most likely feel strongly about it. Kent said she thinks only extreme opinions, rather than constructive ones, will be expressed at the meetings.
Senior Anna Miller said a spontaneous setting, like a table set up outside where people could casually walk by could also help.
“The appointment aspect of it will give people a lot of time to think of things they don’t like,” Miller said. “But if you just walk by and give a quick suggestion it will be more positive.”
ASG’s Vice President for Public Relations senior Andrew Bair explained the thought process behind the format for “Tuesdays with Charlie and Courtney.”
“The first meeting will be from 4:30 to 6 p.m., I think the idea was to do something between lunch and dinner time so they’re present at a good time,” Bair said.
Bernard added that this time is right before student senate meetings are held, giving student an opportunity to talk personally with her and Schreiber and then attend a student senate meeting after.
“All students are welcome to come and sit in the gallery and see what is being discussed in student senate as well as if you want to address senate they can feel more comfortable after they get to know us,” Bernard said.
Schreiber added that the visitors’ section of the student senate has almost always been nearly empty.
“Courtney and my goal was to have at least three-fourths of that sections full by the time we leave office,” Schreiber said.
Bair explained that he will be present at the first several meetings as well and then will be involved less in person, but more within the social media awareness aspects of the meetings by updating Facebook and Twitter to let students know when and where “Tuesdays” will take place.
Aside from “Tuesdays with Charlie and Courtney,” the ASG representatives are working on several other projects to improve transparency.
Schreiber explained that he and Bernard will visit a different club each week to experience a variety of on campus organizations, as well as letting club members ask questions if they would like to.
Bair added that the team is working on a larger social media presence, word of mouth on campus and partnering with the Athletic Department to have more presence in student athletics.
“It’s never going to be one single thing,” Bair said. “We want students to be able to see and understand what we do and the culmination of a lot of little things will get that done.”
Bernard and Schreiber both explained that providing students more access to them and their government as a whole is the main idea behind “Tuesdays with Charlie and Courtney.”
“The big part of this is letting students know we’re there for them and giving them access to their government,” Schreiber said.