Boston University’s Student Government met Monday night to hear from Assistant Dean and Director of Student Activities John Battaglino and to confirm cabinet members for the year.
Senate Chair Andrew Chiao, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, began the meeting by introducing a new clicker system to streamline roll call and senate votes. In the future, all senate votes will be reported and posted online at govlinkinc.com in order to increase oversight and transparency.
The SG’s Executive Board re-introduced themselves to the Senate. President Devin Harvin, Executive Vice President Hafzat Akanni, Vice President of Finance Hector Meneses and Vice President of Internal Affairs Lovie Burleson outlined their plans for the coming school year.
His slate is ready for the coming year, Harvin said.
“Whatever notions you have of senate, throw them out the door,” Harvin said. “We’re looking to bring some new energy and just improve the culture of the school as a whole.”
Participation from senators is important, Chiao said, especially early on.
“I want your guys’ input,” Chiao said. “I want your opinions, senate wants your opinions. That is how we make our ideas better, our initiatives better, our events, our programs better.”
Battaglino began his address by talking about the improvements BU has made over time, including a shrinking acceptance rate and what he called a “change in culture.”
Battaglino went on to cite some worrying trends he sees BU facing in the future, including hazing, relationship violence and political discourse — trends, he said, student government should be addressing.
The Executive Advisory Commission was also present to give a brief history of SG to the incoming and returning senators.
Over the summer, the E-board had nominated cabinet members for confirmation. Monday, the nominees gave short speeches and were put to a vote. All nominations were confirmed.
Thomas Batson was named Chief of Staff to the President and Augustine Jimenez was named Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President.
Newly appointed directors include Sarah Paco as the director of city affairs, Aditya Jain as the director of academic affairs, Nehemiah Dureus as the director of communications, Jordan Exum as the director of recruitment, Grace Li as the director of environmental affairs, Adia Turner as the director of social advocacy and Suzie O’Michael as the director of events.
Harvin said he remains optimistic about his cabinet appointments.
“I’m glad cabinet was appointed without any hiccups,” Harvin said. “We’ve been working hard all summer. Obviously, there are kinks to work out, but I’m excited about the energy we can bring. We have high expectations as an E-board and we won’t stop until they’re met.”
SG will see “major structural and financial changes” in the upcoming school year, Chiao said. These will include cutting the number of organizations with senate representation to only BU colleges and senators at-large.
Jessica Bajada-Silva, a senior senator in CAS, said she thinks the use of the clickers for vote-counting is useful and efficient.
“I think this year is already going better than it has in the past,” Bajada-Silva, who has been a senator for three years, said.
Daniel Collins, a senior senator in the College of Fine Arts, said this was his first meeting back since fall 2017. He was abroad last semester but had served as a senator for three semesters in the past.
“CFA has been notoriously underrepresented in the past and under the new reformation, we are now entitled to three senate seats.” Collins said. “It used to be only one … I think the decision to move to [this new structure] was a good move to level the playing field.”
Dureus, a senior in the College of Engineering, said he is grateful for the work the E-board had done over the past months.
“I also appreciated the E-board and all their energy and all their passion … especially at Splash,” Dureus said. “I had people from the College of Engineering asking us about senate, which has never happened before. So,N I really like what’s happening and the potential here.”
Lexi Matthews contributed to the reporting of this article.