SGA’s new chief wants change

Matulewicz plans to give student government a make-over

By Cal Colgan |

While some of us have been dreading the start of classes, David Matulewicz seems excited for this year.
Perhaps that is because he can finally put his plans into action.

Matulewicz, 20, was elected president of the Student Government Association last semester, running on a platform of providing changes to the structure of SGA and increasing its ability to effectively deal with issues of concern to Flagler College students.

Over the summer, he was already trying to work toward that goal.

“I’ve been working with my Leadership Team on restructuring the [SGA] program so it can better serve the Flagler College community,” Matulewicz said.

One of the changes that Matulewicz plans to make to the program is the creation of two new committees. In addition to keeping the Community Service, Campus Concerns, Academics and Publicity Committees, Matulewicz wants SGA to have a Spirit Committee and a Green Committee.

The purpose of the Spirit Committee, Matulewicz said, is to create a school identity and to increase student involvement in campus activities.

“I want [SGA] to work on making the school a place that’s actually unified and entertaining enough to keep students here on the weekend and get them involved in the school’s activities and athletic events.”

Matulewicz acknowledges that increasing school spirit will be difficult in an environment where few students that are members of the clubs on campus actually participate in the campus events. To remedy this problem, he wants to merge club involvement in these activities with SGA influence.

“We want to use club grant money to promote better events,” Matulewicz said. “We could use the SGA with club grant money to orchestrate fewer, better multi-club events.”

With the Green Committee, Matulewicz hopes to decrease the campus’s carbon footprint by instituting environmentally-friendly programs. He says that part of their job will consist of establishing programs that promote environmental sustainability, such as putting tips on saving energy inside the dorms and recommending through the Faculty Senate that essays could be printed on both sides or be 1 ½ spaced instead of double-spaced.

“I want to see them analyze waste and make recommendations,” he said.

Matulewicz also hopes that by SGA assuming responsibility for the school’s recycling program, the Outdoor Club will have more opportunity to focus on events such as hiking and canoeing trips.

“We want to shift the recycling program away from the Outdoor Club and turn it into a program run by either Flagler College or by the student government.”

To help SGA have better communication with the student body, Matulewicz wants to create a publicity machine by restructuring the presence of SGA hall representatives in the dorms.

“I’m going to revamp the hall reps program so that there is an SGA rep on every hall [of] every dorm, so that when we need to get in contact with the students on campus, we can get in contact with them personally.”

Combined with the fact that SGA is one of the only clubs that is allowed to send mass e-mails to the student body, the new publicity machine could rejuvenate student interest in campus affairs.

“We have one of the largest groups on campus,” Matulewicz said. “We could get a lot of students involved in something very quickly.”

Matulewicz admits that he has already encountered obstacles as the new SGA president. One roadblock is the administration’s rejection of the Safe Ride program last year, which means that the program was denied funding for the 2009-2010 school year. However, Matulewicz remains optimistic about the possibility of Safe Ride’s eventual passing.

“It is my hope that by the end of the fall semester, the student government can create a functioning proposal and have it approved by Flagler College administration,” Matulewicz said. “And hopefully, once it is approved, the administration will grant funds to run a pilot program during the spring semester.”

Under the Safe Ride program, students that, for whatever reason, are not able to drive back to the dorms or to their apartments at night would be able to call a cab that would then drop them off at that destination free of charge.

“Hopefully, by giving them the option, students would use the Safe Ride program, or their friends will suggest it [to them],” Matulewicz said.

But despite the obstacles he may face as the new head of student government, Matulewicz is confident that the future will see many changes in SGA’s structure, powers and efficacy.

“We might not accomplish everything we’ve set out to this year,” he said. “But, by the time my sister, Kristen, graduates in four years, Flagler College will be fundamentally different because of the changes we’ve made today.”

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