Student government seeks to unify campus organizations

Student Government at Baldwin Wallace University is aiming to further unify campus during the 2017-18 school year.
During their campaign last year, Kevin Kaufhold, Student Body President, and Olivia Murphy, Student Body Vice President recognized there is some separation between different student organizations on campus, such as Greek life, student athletics, arts organizations, and many others.
“I think there’s that disconnection there where if we were to be able to do events together or interact more, it would strengthen the community. There would be a better feeling at BW, and people would get more out of their BW experience,” said Kaufhold.
Kaufhold and Murphy have been initiating events to unify groups on campus. On Nov. 6, Kaufhold held an open dialogue with some of the major student organizations on campus.
This open dialogue served as a platform for those student organizations to discuss their ideas and offer any suggestions, as well as laying down the foundation of what student government will do to begin the process of community unification.
“It’s really hard to cross those barriers and move across that. So that was something we picked up on. And we said if there’s anybody who could foster growth in that area it should be us,” said Murphy. “We felt like if we want to make change on campus and we want to make sure those changes are accessible to everybody; everybody has to be involved with each other and understand the student experience from all different angles.”
The meeting consisted only of the larger, student government recognized organizations. However, there will possibly be another meeting in the future that will extend to include more organizations.
“Just for this meeting, Kevin and I decided that it was just going to [involve] presidents of more represented organizations,” Murphy said. “But [next] time to open it to every president of every organization on campus.”
“We’re starting with those now and then in the very near future I’m hoping to get more organizations involved. It’s just this has never been done before, so it’s a starting point,” Kaufhold said.
Kaufhold and Murphy recognized that success of this pursuit is a difficult one to measure, given the complications with quantifying such results.
“I think we have seen a lot of change,” Murphy said, “A lot of that has to do with cosponsoring diversity events, speakers, bringing outside individuals to our student government meetings, and really trying to promote students coming in and voicing complaints, concerns, or suggestions within student government meetings. Kevin and I always try to be in the office and have people come in and talk to us about small things to really big concerns on campus.”
Kaufhold and Murphy aspire to reach their goals for unification by the end of their term in February. However, the process might take longer than they hoped.
“It will probably be a longer process,” said Kaufhold. “It’s gonna take probably the rest of the semester so I’m hoping the next Student Body President and Vice President picks it up and continues with it. We will definitely keep working on it. I plan to return to student government as a senator after my term is over, so it’s an initiative that I can also continue myself. But I’d like to see more campus events being held together by different organizations by May 2018.”
Despite the demands that are required to pursue such endeavors, Kaufhold expressed his eagerness to work.
“It’s an initiative that we’re really passionate about,” said Kaufhold. “That’s one of the main things we wanted to pursue when we were running, so we’re happy to get it started.”
To extend the student government’s wishes to be transparent and openly communicate with the student body, Murphy said that students should feel welcome to discuss anything with her or Kaufhold.
“People can always come knock on our office door,” Murphy said. “If they have any questions, concerns, or suggestions on what they’d like to see, we’re always welcome and open to it.”