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SG officials pen strategic plan to improve BU life

Boston University Student Government officials will strive to improve communication with the BU administration as well as students, according to SG’s official Strategic Plan for the 2013-14 school year released Monday.

“We seek to reclaim excellence in our relations with the student body, excellence in our relations with administration, and excellence in our relations with the community,” said Student Government President Dexter McCoy in the plan’s accompanying letter. “This plan establishes the path we will take in our effort to be better representatives of students and better partners with administration in serving students.”

SG will focus on gathering data from students to improve the student experience, McCoy said. Officials plan to distribute a survey to the student body in upcoming weeks that asks questions about students’ current impressions of SG and what they would like to see change.

“When it comes to a policy on campus, we’re going to gather data on that,” McCoy, a College of Communication senior, said in a subsequent interview. “When the administration is saying, ‘do you want to see this?’, we’re going to get numbers to see what students actually want.”

Students will also be able to use a new petition-like service on the SG website, the plan stated. BU officials will review and consider petitions that receive signatures from at least 20 percent of the student body.

From there, the students who create petitions that receive enough signatures will have the opportunity to speak with BU President Robert Brown directly about the issues involved, McCoy said.

“Just to be able to engage with the president and the members of his staff with a one-on-one basis — that definitely opens up more lines of communication,” he said. “The president is very open to interacting with students.”

The plan also stated SG will soon be coordinating with Brown’s office and Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore to create a working group whose purpose is to examine and to improve practices for allocating space on campus to student groups.

“The president agreed for us to put together a working committee to review the [university] policy as it relates space allocation on campus,” McCoy said. “This will be faculty, administrators and students getting together to look at how space is allocated and even to explore the possibility of protected spaces.”

Members of the SG Senate will also make visits to student groups and organizations during the semester. The senators will help to bring the needs of student groups on campus to the administration, the plan stated.

While the initiative outlined in the plan speaks for itself, McCoy encouraged students to approach SG officials with ideas or feedback.

“Each department has a very specific path that they are going to be working on,” he said. “The student body should definitely, if they see issues that are of interest to them, reach out to these department heads and interact with them and engage with them.”

SG spokesman Saurabh Mahajan said initiatives detailed in the plan reflect SG’s effort to become more student-centric during the 2013-14 academic year.

“We need to be able to understand truly what the students care about — not just active students, not just members of the student governments on campus, but the average student,” Mahajan, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said. “What are they passionate about? What do they want to see happen on the campus?”

SG is working to develop a better relationship with administrative officials so that they can better advocate for students’ needs, Mahajan said.

“This year, our goal, more than anything else, is to reclaim our position as the student voice representative,” he said. “We want to be the liaison between the administration and students, and to do that we need to have a good relationship with both.”

SG hopes to accomplish this goal by improving outreach and learning more about students, said SG Executive Vice President Richa Kaul.

“Student Government is trying to revamp itself,” Kaul, a CAS sophomore, said. “We do want to be [seen] in a new light this year. We really want to work hard to accomplish what the students want.”

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