MUSG plans fall short of target

After their first semester serving as Marquette Student Government heads, President Timothy Lefeber and Executive Vice President Emily Rostkowski have fulfilled several campaign promises and scrapped others.

The leaders' platform included a plan to provide free snacks at the MUSG office to attract students, information kiosks on the academic side of campus, media screens in the Alumni Memorial Union and an increased focus on communication with the student body.

One semester of experience has taught Lefeber, a College of Health Sciences senior, not all his goals could be accomplished.

Free snacks at the MUSG office for all students would detract necessary student activity funds from other projects that could benefit more students in better ways, he said.

The duo's information kiosk plans are in progress. Although there is no distinct timeline, the administration has shown interest in the project and suggested installing plasma screens within the kiosks, according to the MUSG leaders.

"I feel like it has legs," Rostkowski, a College of Arts & Sciences senior, said of the project.

The executive vice president said the kiosks will be enclosed in Plexiglas to prevent damage and all materials posted will need Office of Student Development approval. Rostkowski's next meeting with administration to discuss the kiosks is set for Friday.

In addition to kiosk installation, Lefeber and Rostkowski plan to give students a new way to save money on off-campus purchases. The Student Savings Club is scheduled to begin this spring, according to Lefeber. The SSC card will allow students to save a set percentage on things they buy at restaurants and shops outside campus.

Lefeber and Rostkowski said they helped complete other projects, including the establishment of a PrintWise station in the AMU, lengthening hours in the John P. Raynor, S.J. Library and organizing popular events like the Texas Hold 'em Tournament.

Last semester the MUSG leaders learned some other plans would have to be redrawn or postponed to tackle unforeseen issues. Two such issues emerged and demanded attention from Lefeber and Rostkowski: the athletic nickname debate and an off-campus shooting in October.

One of Rostkowski's and Lefeber's platform planks was to obtain more student feedback on campus issues via surveys and forums.

The leaders implemented their strategy in the midst of the Warriors versus Golden Eagles debate by holding four student forums to assess opinions.

Lefeber and Rostkowski said they and Senator Christopher Hoffman, a College of Engineering sophomore, helped organize a student safety forum after the shooting on North 19th Street and West Kilbourn Avenue last semester.

The leaders proposed installing new computers in the Brew Bayou and Marquette Place and the administration responded and paid for the project, Lefeber and Rostkowski said.

According to Lefeber, he will discuss media screen feasibility and installation with the AMU technology crew this semester. MUTV programs and news from around the world are some of the programs the media screen will show to passers-by, Lefeber said.

He and MUSG want to show students they are working for them despite the appearance of inactivity or aloofness.

"It's a perception that we're always trying to fight," Lefeber said. "It's a false perception. We're open to anyone. There's no closed door on this organization."

Both the president and executive vice president said they are confident their efforts are improving the campus regardless of student recognition.

"We want to do things for the larger student body," Lefeber said.

One senator said the MUSG leaders are following through with their campaign promise of communicating with the student body.

"Tim and Emily have always placed the students first," said Jamie Wu, a College of Communication sophomore and an MUSG academic senator for her college.

The student government heads are on the right track to making more improvements, according to Jimmy Tobyne, College of Arts & Sciences sophomore and MUSG academic senator for his college.

"These two have a lot of potential," Tobyne said. "They have done a superb job managing the government. I think they could do a lot more."

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Jan. 20 2005.