Sweeney, McGlory win UNH elections
This past Thursday, the reins of the Student Body leadership were passed onto President Joe Sweeney and Vice President Garrett McGlory, who have big plans for this upcoming summer.
For Sweeney and McGlory, managing the finances of the university was a cornerstone of the election campaign because it's the area they have the most experience with.
"Funding, how our tuition dollars are spent and how our mandatory fees are managed is going to be a very big part of what we wish to accomplish," Sweeney said.
"A lot of what we do here is to just oversee how the financial situation in the university works," said McGlory, who is a finance major in the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics.
Sweeney, a political science major, said that the university is on solid ground financially at a time when the state's finances are increasingly under pressure.
"The state is going through a loss of revenue, with estimates coming in lower than expected, and it's always in question whether the state is a financial entity," Sweeney said. "But for what students are paying, the university is pretty financially stable."
Having students understand where their money is going and how it's being spent is what Sweeney believes is important for the student body government to convey.
"The costs of attending UNH are a burden on students, but I do believe that most students get out of it what they put in, just so they're aware of all the opportunities that are out there for them," Sweeney said.
Both are also looking forward to change the way the student government interacts with its constituents.
"A lot of the campaign was a model of government in which students are actively involved in," Sweeney said. "So the issues we're discussing aren't just known by the 30 members of [student] senate, but by a majority of the students and making sure that the office of the student body president communicates with the student body on a regular basis."
An important aspect of this communication, Sweeney believes, will be through the Facebook and Twitter pages for the Student Body President that were established by their predecessors, Bryan Merrill and Will McKernan.
The use of social media is an area that McKernan, now chair of the Student Activity Fee committee, believes Sweeney and McGlory are better versed in than he and Merrill were.
"We understood the theory of it, but the execution wasn't ingrained in our person," McKernan said. "It's clear from his presence on social media that Joe knows how to use it successfully, and I think that it will be a primary thing to have a perpetual opportunity for that contact with students."
The other area that McKernan believes Sweeney and McGlory have to their advantage is their involvement in fraternity community.
Sweeney is a founder of Phi Mu Delta while McGlory is the director of finances for Pi Kappa Alpha.
"I think Greek life is a pretty big voice in the student body, and Joe and Garrett will make sure that voice is heard," McKernan said.
McKernan has met with McGlory and filled him in on the duties he will have to undertake and also the nature of the office itself.
"The bylaws for vice president are a little lacking because the responsibilities for each year fluctuate so much, and it also depends on what is delegated to you by the president," McKernan said. "I outlined for him the good place to make sure you're chipping in a lot, and the places where it doesn't matter when your role isn't to change policy but to take in information and re-delegate that."
"I have a good relationship with Will McKernan," McGlory said. "Will really got me up to speed getting ready for this term and the relationships that will help me grapple the financial challenge of the job."
Bryan Merrill, the former student body president and now a member of the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees, also extended his assistance to Sweeney during the election and began introducing Sweeney at meetings as his successor.
As student body president, Merrill believes there are three important qualities for president to have: passion, pragmatism and pacing.
"By being passionate, you have to be committed to the student body," Merrill said. "Being pragmatic means you have to make some tough compromises and must be willing to work with various stakeholders, from the town, state legislature, political parties, faculty and graduates, to reconcile all these different interests with a solution, however imperfect, that is going to maximize the benefits for UNH students."
Merrill also believes the president must be considerate in pacing their time and energy.
"If you are not careful, you will burn out," Merrill said.
Sweeney believes that his experiences as a state representative have allowed him a keen understanding for complex legal terms and insight into the process of writing a law.
"I can look at a legal document, and I can see the possible holes in it," Sweeney said. "That will serve us a lot in that we can look at a contract we need to sign - or that the university is going to enter into - and be able to have an understanding about what it actually means."
Balancing his new position with the role of a state representative for Rockingham is a task that Sweeney is very confident about performing.
"My state house responsibilities aren't a huge time commitment during the school year," Sweeney said. "It's just something I've been able to schedule around, and I don't anticipate it as a burden to perform both responsibilities."
Sweeney also describes some of the overlap between issues of importance for both the university and the state house.
"I can advocate for medical amnesty at the state house level for a similar policy we have here on campus, and I can coordinate with the network of people I know at the State House."
Presently, Sweeney and McGlory are looking forward to work done over the summer, a time that Merrill believes is essential.
"Summer semester is important to getting up to speed with all your connections," Merrill said. "Getting your view on a ground with so many stakeholders in a seemingly fragmented campus environment is a tough thing to do, but you have to be willing to put yourself out there and deal with it."
Right now, Sweeney and McGlory are working to finalize the efforts of Merrill and McKernan of adding a relationship abuse and stocking policy into the conduct codes of Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities and putting it into effect this summer.
"Having these changes to the conduct code can let us make sure there are repercussions for somebody that stalks or commits relationship abuse on this campus," Sweeney said.
This is a particularly personal issue for Sweeney, who has friends who have been the victims and survivors of stalking and abusive relationships.
"Making changes to the culture and making it easier for survivors is something we can see the immediate effects of," Sweeney said, "so it's important that we can change things right away."
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