Editorial Board

SA’s accomplishments under Eric Evangelista and Joyce LaLonde ‘commendable,’ but certain initiatives shouldn’t lose momentum

Student Association leadership has done a commendable job this semester of implementing initiatives that have been beneficial to students on campus and listening to students’ sentiments, especially recently with the #SanctuaryCampus movement.

Mental Health Awareness Week, the implementation of the bike-share program and placement of menstrual products in bathrooms across campus are two tangible demonstrations of how SA has improved students’ lives. But these initiatives need space to grow so they don’t fade when the next SA administration takes office next year.

As we move into the spring semester, it is vital that SA President Eric Evangelista and Vice President Joyce LaLonde take into account their responsibility to develop their initiatives so they resonate with the Syracuse University community for years to come. It is also important that Evangelista and LaLonde pick up on initiatives that were discussed by last year’s SA president and vice president, Aysha Seedat and Jane Hong — and better communicate the progress of these ventures to the SU community.

Seedat vigilantly worked on causes many SU students are passionate about, including bringing Uber to Syracuse and implementing a student athletic fee. But public discussion on SA’s effort to expand ride-sharing services to the city or install a student-athletic fee — which would charge a standard amount to students’ financial accounts for athletic events rather than charging for single events — has halted under Evangelista and LaLonde.

It’s important to acknowledge that a change in leadership in SU Athletics — in short, the abrupt departure of former Athletic Director Mark Coyle and entrance of John Wildhack — may have impacted discussion between SA and SU Athletics about the student athletic fee. But SA should make an effort to get these conversations started up again. Coyle seemed to meet regularly with Seedat, but the community has not been informed about any meetings between Evangelista and Wildhack.

Evangelista and LaLonde should also have conversations about the lack of ride-sharing services, like Uber, in Syracuse, and how SA can work to bring those services to the city. Seedat met with other university leaders in New York state to figure out how to bring ride-sharing services to their schools, and to discontinue this organization would not reflect well on SU’s student leadership.

Seedat also regularly sent emails to the university community that addressed SU happenings and updated students, faculty and staff on SA initiatives. As the primary representative of the undergraduate student body, Evangelista should follow his predecessor’s lead and communicate with students via email on a more regular basis.

The current SA administration has worked hard and the student body has seen the tangible results of ideas they discussed while campaigning last spring. But it’s important that their efforts remain relevant once they are out of office, as quick turnover in SA too often leads to initiatives floating aimlessly or dying.

Heading into 2017, Evangelista and LaLonde should take it upon themselves to lay the groundwork for what their administration will be known for — a goal that can only be accomplished by building on their achievements so far and maintaining strong communication with the student body in the spring.

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