[Fresh] Interview with Maureen Holland, Student Government President

Kelly Eastland (kelly.eastland@villanova.edu)
Mon, 16 Dec 2002 09:49:22 -0500

Interview with Maureen Holland, President, Student Government Association

Fresh@News: Tell me a little about yourself.
Ms. Holland: I am junior honors and philosophy major from Williamsport, PA. For my first
two years, I lived in the residence halls and was very involved with SGA and the sophomore
service learning community. This year, I moved off campus which has been both a challenge
and a blessing. It's different keeping in touch with the students concerns when you don't
live on campus. But, it also gives me the space I need to work hard and relax at the end of
the day.

Fresh@News: Can you describe the Student Government Association?
Ms. Holland: The Student Governments Association (SGA) is the official representative body
for all students on campus. SGA represents the studentsí needs, ideas and concerns to the
faculty staff, and administration. We do that by sitting on the university senate, various
subcommittees of the board of trustees and other committee appointed seats on university
committees. We also work internally on projects that benefit the students such as the
basketball lottery, VOICE (Villanova Online Instructor and Course Evaluation), and SGtv just
to name a few.

Fresh@News: Tell me a little about the elected members of SGA.
Ms. Holland: Each year in March, there is an open election held for the President, Vice
President and 9 senators. The senators represent the four colleges. There are 3 liberal
arts senators, 3 commerce & finance senators, 1 science, 1 nursing and 1 engineering
senator. The senator's job is to represent the concerns of the students in their respective
college to their deans and to the university senate as a whole. Some of the colleges have a
more formal Deanís advisory committee which the senators organize. Others meet individually
with the Dean of the college. The senators also have strong representation on the
university senate committees, so they contribute on issues such as academic policy, mission
and social action, and student life.

Fresh@News: How do you think it's going this year?
Ms. Holland: Very well! This year's executive board is the largest in recent memory with
just under 70 members. We added several new chair positions this year including Arts and
Culture, and Social Action. In addition, we added more support to the Diversity, Women's
Issues and Athletics committee with additional chairpersons. All of the committees have
really thrived. For example, the Social Action committee brought the living wage issue to
the university senate committee. The living wage campaign challenges the university to
fairly compensate its workers at a rate that is above the national minimum wage. The
committee is currently working with the senate to evaluate the university's policy.

Fresh@News: How can students get involved with SGA?
Ms. Holland: This year, we accepted applications at the Activities Forum for the various
committee openings. Weíre always looking for new members and anyone can stop by our office
in 206 Dougherty Hall. In addition, any student can run for any of the elected offices in
the Spring semester for the following school year.

Fresh@News: What services do you provide to the student body?
Ms. Holland: We provide a number of services to students throughout the year. We
coordinate the basketball lottery; publish the student telephone directory; coordinate the
airport shuttle service during breaks; gather information for professor evaluations through
VOICE and coordinate SGtv. In addition, SGA is always working on current issues such as the
Kosher Meat Initiative with Dining Services. For a comprehensive list, go to our website at
www.sga.villanova.edu

Fresh@News: How do you make sure that you are representing the studentsí needs accurately?
Ms. Holland: We do a lot of surveys through our website using online polls. For example, in
October, we polled students about an SGA proposed campus video store. Within a few days we
had over 1,400 responses from students. The comments were both positive and constructive.
The responses confirmed that it is something that the students want us to pursue. As a
result, we are working hard to make the dream a reality.

Fresh@News: How do you perceive your relationship with the campus administration?
Ms. Holland: I have nothing but positive things to say. The administration at Villanova
really cares about the students and they have shown that to be true in every experience that
I have had with them. I recently attended a leadership conference for schools in the
greater Philadelphia region and many student government presidents felt their administrators
were unwilling to listen. I have never found this to be the case at Villanova. In fact,
the administrators often reach out to SGA to find out what the students want and need.

Fresh@News: What do you like best about Villanova?
Ms. Holland: I think the best thing about Villanova is the spirit of community that we have,
especially as it relates to service. It seems like everyone on campus is involved in
service in some capacity whether through Habitat for Humanity, mission trips, Special
Olympics, Balloon Day or their own clubís philanthropy. Itís a unique feature of Villanova
that we are dedicated to looking beyond our own campus walls. I also love basketball
season!

Fresh@News: From your own experience as a freshman, what advice would you give to parents?
Ms. Holland: Your kids still need you! Even though my relationship with my parents has
changed since I came to college, I still rely on their love and support as much as ever.
They are always really interested in what Iím up to and I enjoy spending time talking about
my life at college with them. Also, send them stuff in the mail as often as possible. Even
if itís just a card or a quick note, I guarantee your kids love getting mail. Sending
homemade cookies is even better. For some killer recipes, ask my mom.

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