|Student Body President Tito Valdes ’14 Discusses Student Government’s Influence and Direction
The 36 student-leaders elected to Student Government (SG) at Lebanon Valley College influence the College community in a variety of ways, such as determining clubs’ budgets or relaying student concerns to the College administration. Tito Valdes ’14 was elected president of the student body last spring, and recently shared what SG has accomplished this semester and has planned for the year.
“Student Government plans a lot of events on campus,” Valdes said. “The sophomore class plans winter formal, the junior class plans homecoming, the senior class plans the senior class gift drive, and as a collective group, we plan Dutchmen Day.”
SG members also meet with different administrators and departments on campus, including public safety, facilities, Greg Krikorian (vice president of student affairs and dean of students), and President Thayne. “I meet with the President on a biweekly basis over lunch, so we have a really good relationship with the administration,” Valdes said.
During the last academic year, SG was instrumental in reforming LVC’s alcohol policy. “There was a lot of contention among the student body regarding the ‘in-the-presence’ clause,” Valdes said.
The consensus among administrators and students was that students that were legal and those under 21 should be allowed to socialize in the presence of alcohol, as long as the law isn’t being broken.
“We met with administration and engaged them in a discussion about what we could do and what other schools do, and now we have this new [breathalyzer] technology so students can prove that they weren’t drinking,” Valdes said.
SG plans to make more changes this year. One of the specific goals that Valdes has is to be more representative of the students.
“In the past, it seemed that at student government meetings, the concerns that were shared were only reflective of the 36 people in the room,” he said.
This year, however, the committees within student government will be chaired by an SG member, but comprised of non-SG students.
“There will be people that will be able to share opinions and people that can go to meetings and serve as a liaison [between the student body and Student Government],” Valdes said.
Another goal that SG has adopted is to make its activities more visible to students, which it hopes to accomplish by posting more of its information on social networks. When Valdes attends his biweekly meeting with President Thayne, he asks students about their concerns via Facebook and Twitter, and welcomes questions to ask President Thayne.
Additionally, SG officers are making it a point to attend more on-campus activities such as recitals and sporting events.
Overall, Valdes plans for SG to improve in its role as the voice of the student body during the upcoming year, but he asks for students’ help, too.
“Student government is open to anyone; our meetings are not closed. Anyone is able to come,” he said. “I’d like to see more students at the meetings and voicing their opinion. No issue is ever taboo, and I encourage the discussion. Find out who your student government officers are, and then reach out to them about what is important to you.”
Student Government meets every Monday evening at 9:40 pm in the Lower Level Meeting Room in the basement of the Mund College Center. Additional seating is available for non-SG members interested in attending the meetings.