Hermanny, Feste take MUSG reins

In an inauguration ceremony Friday, the newly elected Marquette Student Government leaders took their positions — but they say their plans for campus improvement began before the polls even opened.

College of Arts & Sciences juniors Alex Hermanny and Beth Feste officially took the reins of MUSG as president and executive vice president Friday.

The new heads of the organization said they have already began work on some points of their platform: Continuation, Collaboration and Change.

Feste said MUSG plans to carry on the maintenance of DogEars, a Web site on which students can exchange books and rate their professors.

Hermanny and Feste said the communication between students and the organization will improve.

"We want to make sure students are aware of resources on campus now," Hermanny said.

The leaders plan to get out of the office and onto the streets in order to take a grassroots approach to communication.

They stressed their goal to continue relations with student organizations. Collaboration between these groups and MUSG has helped to build projects in the past and hopefully will in the future, according to Hermanny.

However, they said other plans MUSG was working on before their inauguration will spring to life with their leadership.

Hermanny said a degree audit on CheckMarq is set to take place next year. This program will allow students to see the classes they have completed and gauge which ones they have yet to take.

Several MUSG members have begun collaborating on restarting a homecoming next year and the president and vice president plan to take action in the project.

Feste said MUSG will work with Alumni Relations, the athletics and other departments to restart this tradition and "kick it up a notch."

Improving the Varsity Theatre is another point on Hermanny and Feste's agenda. They want to start conversing with groups who use the space to develop a suitable plan for renovating the building.

"There are parts of the Varsity that we feel that immediately need to be addressed and there's also parts that need to be looked at as long term," Hermanny said.

However, this is a project that may continue well past Feste and Hermanny's term.

"We'd love to have it done in a year but feasibly there's a point where we leave off and other parts of the university need to take off," Feste said.

The team aims to renovate workout space in individual residence halls as part of the solution to the congestion problem at the Rec Center.

Feste and Hermanny said they had already begun looking for ways to upgrade already existing workout space Monday.

Before they even set foot in the office, though, the student leaders have had extended conversations with their predecessors, former MUSG President Timothy Lefeber and former Executive Vice President Emily Rostkowski.

Hermanny and Feste, along with other candidates, discussed their plans with the former student leaders while they campaigned and have continued talking with them ever since, especially in the transition period.

Rostkowski, a College of Arts & Sciences senior, said with anything new, one will come across obstacles, like gauging how things should be done or what one's expectations are.

Lefeber, a College of Health Sciences senior, said the main thing he learned in his year in office that he wants to pass on is patience.

Both Rostkowski and Lefeber said they are confident the new leaders are prepared to tackle the issues.

"They have a lot of leadership experience and they have a good eye on what's been happening," Lefeber said.

This week Hermanny and Feste will move into the MUSG office and adjust to their new positions.

Feste described this period as a calm before the storm but said she and Hermanny are eager to start work.

"We've got big shoes to fill and great people to work with," she said.

"It doesn't feel completely real," Hermanny said. "Wow, this is actually happening."

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on April 5 2005.