Cullen praises student leaders

Executive representatives from the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Student Finance Board (SFB) recapped SGA endeavors and presented future plans for the College on the evening of March 6 at the annual State of the Campus Address. The address was delivered in the Cromwell Hall main lounge and was open to the general student body.

Christine Cullen, SGA president, spearheaded and facilitated the address, praising the efforts of fellow SGA members. Cullen also welcomed suggestions from the student body to assure continued improvement of student life at the College.

“Your elected representatives are very passionate and hardworking,” Cullen said. “I ask you to think about how we can do more on your behalf.”

Cullen praised the efforts of Michael Strom, vice president of Legal and Governmental Affairs, for his lobbying efforts. Strom and Dan Beckelman, vice president of Administration and Finance, have been meeting with New Jersey elected officials in order to recover the $8.1 million that was lost due to budget cuts to higher education.

“Public education is clearly not seen as a high priority in the eyes of the state government,” Cullen said. “We must work together to capture the ear of Trenton.”

Cullen also lauded the efforts of James Gant, SGA executive vice president, in his formation of and interaction with the Ad-hoc Committee on Campus Police. Cullen said the committee was formed to assess the role of Campus Police in the College community. The committee was formed in light of numerous complaints filed against the Office of Campus Police in the beginning of the Fall 2006 semester. Cullen reported that since the formation of the committee, the number of complaints has gone down drastically.

Cullen touched on other developments, including the formation of The Pulse, an online forum to be utilized by SGA and College administrators for gathering student feedback, the completion of ProfRecord, a statistical database providing information about professors, and SGA outreach to student organizations, including the de-recognition of inactive clubs as well as the supervision of active clubs.

Jonathan Borst, executive director of SFB, said that more than 80 student groups have received funding from the Student Activities Fund over the past year, with nearly 100 requests for funding submitted. Borst emphasized the success of comedian George Carlin’s upcoming performance at the College in Kendall Hall.

Daria Silvestro, student trustee, discussed academics at the College. Silvestro spoke regarding improvements made to the secondary education program, which will better prepare students for teaching in “diverse classrooms.” Silvestro also encouraged students to take part in independent research at the College. She asserted that the size of the College allows for students to work directly with a professor in doing research.

Kamaria Byrd, SGA vice president of Equity and Diversity, said her committee has increased “campus inclusiveness” at the College. Byrd said “the campus has been moving in the right direction,” citing improvements such as the upcoming diversity awareness event, Globalpalooza, as well as the development of the College Bound program for minorities seeking higher education.