John Carroll Student Government celebrates 100th inauguration

Olivia Shackleton, Campus Editor

Blue and gold tablecloths decorated the tables in the Dolan Science Center atrium on Jan. 16, as the artificial flames from the centerpieces illuminated the faces of the students preparing to be inaugurated into the 2020 Student Government.  

This year marked the 100th anniversary of Student Government’s inauguration of the incoming president and senators—2020 being the first inauguration with Student Union’s name changed to Student Government. 

Family and friends of the new and returning student leaders gathered for the inauguration, dinner and awards. President Michael Johnson and Vice President of Student Affairs Mark McCarthy attended the event, sitting with former Student Government President Madeline Tobolewski and Student Government President Erin Ahern. 

Tobolewski closed out her two-month term as president and gave her closing speech, calling on faculty and administration to never underestimate the student body. She advised the new Student Government leaders to seize all the opportunities they have and to refuse to take “no” for an answer. 

Following Tobolewski’s speech, Ahern approached the podium for her inaugural address. Ahern opened with a short anecdote about her dislike of public speaking. She then explained that she was initially drawn to Student Government because she was a vegetarian seeking a wider variety of foods she could eat in the cafeteria. Her dedication to Student Government grew and she became involved in other initiatives, such as working with JCUPD to improve campus safety. 

Ahern has various ideas that she hopes to implement during her administration, such as making campus more sustainable, improving campus safety and emphasizing students’ voices. 

In a follow-up interview, Ahern explained further how she hoped to see more sustainability practices on campus. She believes the first step to making this goal a reality is to create a committee. 

“I would like to see a student-driven sustainability committee on Student Government,” she said. This committee will be established through proposing and passing a bill in the student Senate. Ahern hopes to create the committee this semester. 

A primary focus of Ahern’s sustainability initiative is recycling. “From what I have heard, John Carroll doesn’t recycle because of contamination. People really don’t know what can be recycled,” Ahern said. 

She also said education is a key step in encouraging students to recycle. Ahern met with sustainability interns from Campus Ministry who are planning to start dorm education programs that will teach students about what can be recycled. Additionally, Ahern hopes to post detailed signage around the garbage and recycling cans so that it is clear what items can and cannot be recycled. 

She also wants to see composting implemented. “I want to have a place on campus for students to compost because the only place to compost right now is in the dining hall…

“But I want a more public place for students to drop things off that they want to compost. And then that could be used as fertilizer for a campus garden,” she said.

In terms of campus safety initiatives, the Police Advisory Council was set to meet prior to winter break; however, the council never met and Ahern has not been given any updates about the activity of the group. Ahern is hopeful that the council will send out a survey this semester to gauge students’ interest in the possibilities of a blue light system and a campus safety app. 

Ahern campaigned and won on the basis of highlighting student voices and recognizing both the issues they face and the ideas they have. “I guess something like Maddie [Tobolewski] and Eddie [Jenkins] did last semester is a really great way [to reach students]. They put a poster outside of the dining hall and asked students to write their ideas. I can do something like that but in the atrium where more people are walking … That is a good thing to do once or twice a semester,” she said.   

Ahern said that if any students are interested in impacting the Carroll community and have ideas to share, they should apply for Student Government. There are vacancies in Senate for the freshman, sophomore and senior classes. Students can find the application on Inside JCU and Student Government’s Instagram.