New student government officers plan to focus on student mental health, sustainability and campus involvement.
Sophomore psychology and elementary education major Hailee O’Dell of Edwardsville was elected as the new student body president. O’Dell said that advocating for and helping students is her primary goal.
“I really love advocating for students and being a part of student government. I just thought [of being] student body president as a way to grow in my leadership and represent the student body,” O’Dell said.
O’Dell said her position is about being the voice of the students.
“[Student Government is] a student-run organization that represents the student body,” O’Dell said. “As student body president, I will be sitting in on meetings [with faculty and staff] as a student representative.”
O’Dell said one of her larger plans is related to student mental health.
“I want to do [implement] a dead week or something similar to a dead week, where professors can’t assign exams a week before finals week or a least a couple of days before,” O’Dell said.
To do this, O’Dell said communication with the campus administration is necessary.
“I have to talk to and have a meeting with the people who oversee these types of things,” O’Dell said. “Something such as dead week would go through Provost Cobb.”
O’Dell said one of her initiatives involves diversity and its representation on campus.
“I think that the best way to be a campus that accepts diversity is to be open about it and have conversations,” O’Dell said.
Freshman public health major Isabella Pruitt of Springfield, Illinois, is the new vice president of the student body. Pruitt said one of her top priorities is sustainability on campus.
“We’re currently working on using some reusable things in the MUC when COVID-19 gets better so we don’t have any safety issues,” Pruitt said. “We have Pepsi signs that go up and we throw them away every time, so we’re trying to get that fixed.”
Pruitt said she also wants to implement a syllabus bank to help students prepare for classes ahead of time.
“[With the syllabus bank], students will be allowed to see syllabi of the classes they would like to take before they get into it,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt said she will work closely with the Student Body President to implement their plans.
“We work as vice president and president closely with administration and with the rest of student government,” Pruitt said. “We advocate for the students and do what we think would make SIUE better.”
Due to COVID-19, Pruitt said some of these plans will take some time, but their benefit will be felt even after the pandemic.
“A lot of these [plans] have been put off because of COVID-19, so we think that it’ll be more beneficial when COVID-19 dissipates,” Pruitt said. “We don’t want to use reusable cups or bags and make anything less safe.”
Senior economics major Maddie Walters of Elizabeth, Illinois, was elected to be the student trustee. Walters said that her position as student trustee is different from her prior role as student body president because she now has a vote on the Board of Trustees.
“When you’re on the SIU system Board of Trustees, you’re going to have an influence over the entire SIU system,” Walters said. “The Board of Trustees votes on whether or not to increase tuition and fees every year and that vote’s going to be coming up at the next meeting.”
Walters said one of her main goals in her new position is to be more involved on campus.
“I want to be able to reach out to students more and talk to students more, whether that be in the Student Government office, out on the Quad or wherever else on campus,” Walters said.
Walters said she wants to help plan more events on campus when it’s safer to do so.
“I think for all students, engagement is a really big part of the college experience. Having more opportunity for students to connect with the university and connect with other students is going to be really important,” Walters said.
For more information, go to the SIUE Student Government website.