Kirkland reviews term
On May 2 in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, former Student Union President Todd Kirkland '13 gave his second and final State of the Union address before swearing in Ricky Rosen '14 as the new Student Union president.
In Kirkland's 20-minute long address, he reviewed the successes under his presidency and articulated his vision for the direction of the Student Union going forward, particularly in areas such as dining, financial reform, the strategic plan and club reorganization.
The entire State of the Union Address was broadcast live on WBRS for the first time, which enabled students other than the small collection who attended the event to listen to the speech.
Toward the beginning of his speech, Kirkland discussed the Student Union weekly WBRS show, Deis Launchpad, which gives students the opportunity to pose questions directly to Student Union leaders and administrators via Twitter. Kirkland said he thinks the show has a lot of potential and hopes it will continue to grow "because it is such a unique avenue of communication."
The outgoing president also discussed the successful shift in online voting platforms from BigPulse to Qualtrics, which according to Kirkland significantly reduced voting issues this election season and will save $2500 per year. The switch was approved when the student body voted to approve the elimination of instant runoff voting, the system which BigPulse used, in an April 17 election.
Kirkland declined to discuss the status of the club reorganization process, an initiative started by Union members and administrators to organize campus clubs into larger umbrella associations with similar goals. He did however, state that, "the final vote and amendment referendum for this proposal will be held when the proposal has been formulated to the student body satisfaction."
In terms of dining, Kirkland identified it as one the most important issues to current students and stated that although they will take time to address, the Student Union realizes that issues such as food quality and dining hours on weekends are a top priority.
"This process has not been taken lightly. We have heard your concerns and we realize that dining is a top priority," said Kirkland.
Kirkland also said that this year's Treasury was transformed under the leadership of former Treasurer David Clements '14 into one of the most efficient the Student Union has seen in at least eight years. He commended the Treasury on its improved relationship with the Finance Board and a 24-hour turnover on all payment forms.
Kirkland also discussed the success of 'Deis Impact 2013, a social justice festival that was instituted last year. According to Kirkland, the number of events went from 29 to nearly 40, the number of community departments involved increased and the number of participants nearly doubled from 1,000 in 2012 to almost 2,000 this year.
Kirkland announced that the club of the year award went to Student Events and that the Liquid Latex show won best event of the year.
The speech also touched upon the direction of the strategic plan. Kirkland stated that he is "satisfied with the direction of the current draft," especially because he has observed the draft, and it "appears to meet a certain level of community satisfaction."
Wrapping up his address, Kirkland said, "There are going to be hits and misses, but in the end what matters most is that we took the opportunity to try ... to leave the Student Union in a better place. And I believe we have accomplished that goal."
After Kirland's address, he officially swore in Rosen as the next Student Union president.
Rosen then invited the newly-elected Union members.
Rosen then delivered a brief speech outlining his major objectives and goals for the Student Union over the next year.
He began by saying that based on his prior Union experience, a major observation he has made about the student population is that it does not realize the power it has to create change through its Union representatives.
Similar to Kirkland, Rosen identified dining as his major priority, and stated that he would build off the progress the Student Union has made with dining by consulting with food-related campus groups.
He also stressed the student input and feedback component of the dining reform process. "Students are the ones purchasing these meal plans and eating on a daily basis and dining services need to cater to their needs, not the other way around," he said.
In an effort to create more transparency in regards to the budget, Rosen said he intends to open lines of communication between the Student Union and the Board of Trustees, something, he explained, that has not occurred in many years.
With the intention of expanding media presence, Rosen said he intends to collaborate with the Getz Media Lab to film and publish regular video updates, the first of which has already been released.
Rosen stated that he intends to continue most, if not all, of the programs and initiatives started or continued under Kirkland last year.