By Irene Palma, Student Government Junior Correspondent with The Stork
Close to turning 100 days in office, the Student Government recently released an update on what they’ve been up to for the past few weeks. Just over a month ago, The Stork had its first Interview with IE’s new Student Government President, Ricardo D’Ambrosio where we got a small input on what their plans were for the upcoming year. However, since this last interview, significant changes have occurred not only worldwide but also within the university. With the new school year just around the corner and new health and safety protocols to comply with, what has the Student Government been up to?
In their latest Instagram post, the Student Government shared their most recent advancements specially in the Academics, Communications and Community Development areas. We know that IE is officially switching its online classes to Zoom, we’ve read the Student Government’s open letter to the administration regarding racial injustice within our own community; but there’s a lot more that’s been done and according to Maria Laura Acosta, Student Government Communication’s Director, it is only the beginning.
“What we are focusing on right now is to make the best out of the situation and take on the new policies the administration has given us and work from there” says Maria Laura when talking about what’s to come next year. There’s no denying that this upcoming year will present new challenges to everyone, but she remains optimistic about it as she believes that this is at the same time an opportunity for the Student Government to change things up.
One of these new challenges is mainly Freshers Week. This week was fundamental in many aspects: it allowed students to ease into university life and it also gave students the opportunity to get to know each other and become friends. COVID-19 definitely changed the course of this week; however, Maria Laura wants to assure freshers that the Student Government is working very hard together with the administration to make the best out of this experience while trying to adapt to the new health and safety protocols.
Aside from this month’s update, Maria Laura said that more generally, their number one priority is keeping students updated on what to expect once they return to campus so that they can be safe and prepared. “Regarding health and safety regulations, what we are focused on right now is in being completely transparent with students as to whatever information we receive from the administration” Maria Laura shared. In order to do so, she is aware that a lot of work must be put into improving communication channels, which have been a recurring issue in the past.
Recalling the elections, one of the main promises this Student Government gave was to give an actual voice to students; to not only listen to their concerns, but to work together with them. With this in mind, I asked Maria Laura what has the Student Government done to deliver this promise.
She gave specific examples, such as the survey launched along with The Stork regarding racial injustice within IE, in which students were provided with a safe and open platform to share their experiences and concerns on this matter. However, what has been more important is actually transmitting the information to the administration to ensure affirmative action.
Although Maria Laura believed that this would ultimately prove to be the hardest part, she is happy with the work that’s been done together with the administration, which she shares “has been very open and receptive to what we have to say”. But this, she assures, is something they have to thank the previous Student Governments for, as “they paved the way and made it possible for us to implement more changes and work more closely with the administration.”
According to Maria Laura, ultimately their focus is to get to know what students think and want and work from there. They’ve been working very closely with the different clubs to give a voice to their platforms to attract more students. They also want to keep supporting the entrepreneurial spirit within IE, as a giveaway was recently organized by the Student Government and shared on their Instagram to give more exposure to IE student-owned brands.
Maria Laura has great hopes for the upcoming school year, she is very confident on her team which she assures “has a great connection” and which has recently grown from six elected officials, to over fifty students who are part of the different committees.
With the world changing by the day, we need a Student Government that is not only able to adapt to these changes, but to thrive in the midst of chaos. Up to this point, everything’s uncertain and although the Student Government has been preparing for what’s to come, what will actually happen is still left to be seen.
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