Sarah & Hilary: Reflecting, Looking Forward

EMILY BEAMAN | THE SPECTRUM
EMILY BEAMAN | THE SPECTRUM

Life-changing, mind-blowing and eye-opening.

Sarah Russell and Hilary Haugeberg took a few seconds to find words to describe their time in office as 2014-2015 student body president and vice president. The first all-female ticket elected to office in North Dakota State history, the pair’s term comes to an end April 26.

Following their “One Family, One Experience, One Legacy” campaign a year ago, Russell and Haugeberg set out to complete the promises made and work they aimed to accomplish.

During their term, Russell and Haugeberg said they always kept a copy of their campaign platform next to their desks.

They said nine of their 11 points were completed in some capacity.

While successes were found, other work is ongoing.

Academic orientation 

One “key point of implementation” on Russell and Haugeberg’s campaign platform was multi-day/overnight academic orientation for incoming students.

The focus of this ended up turning away from an academic angle, instead focusing on allowing freshmen to explore the social aspects of college through the Summer Leadership Institute.

“Basically, everything about college except classes,” Russell said.

“It’s a nice way for upperclassmen to right away bond with underclassmen,” Haugeberg said, “and bridge that awkwardness for students coming to campus.”

This year the SLI took students to a resort in Minnesota, the first time SLI went off-campus. This summer SLI officials are hoping to open the program to 200 students, up from 50 in previous summers.

“Students showing support for the program has really encouraged them to grow it,” Russell said.

UNIV 189 sexual assault prevention training 

Russell and Haugeberg also sought sexual assault prevention training implemented in UNIV 189 classes. Though this came about, it was not due to their effort.

“This one we like to say ‘Thanks, Obama’ for,” Russell said, “because this one was actually federally mandated for colleges and universities.”

Aquatic Center approval

Approval of an aquatic center on the NDSU campus is still up in the air as “a bill currently waiting to be passed,” Haugeberg said.

Russell and Haugeberg hope this legislative session will approve the aquatic center passed by the student body in spring 2013.

They await legislative approval and the signature of Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

The pair has testified on the aquatic center twice, to the North Dakota House and Senate in Bismarck.

“They’ll groundbreak hopefully sometime this May and get rolling on that,” Haugeberg said.

Senator outreach to constituents 

This constitutional amendment to the Student Body Constitution would require senators to attend one out-of-office hour a week to attend an organization and hear students’ concerns.

“It started out this last fall as a senate resolution to go through,” Haugeberg said, “and senators supported it, it passed and so then during our code and constitution review … we decided to put it in the constitution.”

The amendment passed with other legislation in the spring’s student body elections.

Dead Week 

An ongoing resolution of Russell and Haugeberg’s is the redefinition of Dead Week, which has seen collaboration with Faculty Senate and the Provost’s Office to better educate campus.

“Is our policy now best for every student on campus?” Russell said. ” I would say yes, just because it’s so far-reaching.

But is it widely known by every person on campus? No.”

Joint Traditions Council 

Russell and Haugeberg also sought to create a joint Traditions Council between Student Government and Bison Ambassadors; this collaboration is also ongoing.

“Nothing formally was created to join them together,” Russell said, “but if anything, I think Student Government’s mainly handed off some of what we’ve previously been doing with Bison Ambassadors.”

Campus upgrades 

Russell and Haugeberg wished for a number of campus upgrades, including phone charging stations, updated You Are Here signs and an athletics communications center.

Charging stations are currently available in the NDSU Library with more planned for installation in the Quentin Burdick Building.

Campus You Are Here signs did not receive the facelift Russell and Haugeberg hoped for.

“Hopefully in the near future, they can actually go for a physical remodel,” Haugeberg said.

The effort for an athletics communications center morphed into an events club that changed from a physical location in the MU to greater utilization of NDSU’s online events calendar, Russell said.

Centralized advising hub

Haugeberg, who sat on the Student Affairs Retention Advisory Council, saw the Student Affairs and Academic Affairs joint committees finish plans for an advising hub just as she and Russell finished campaigning last spring.

“At the end the plans that were to be in place was this centralized location of an advising hub,” she said, “in with the transition of different key administrators on campus … The actual physical location is not here on campus but retention is always something that we’re working on.”

“The centralized advising hub is really what they’ve been working on, web-based-wise,” Russell added, “so the online resource center for different advisers on campus, but that again has been a little outside our scope, unfortunately.”

Reflecting, looking forward 

With the recent election of Eric McDaniel and Josh Fergel to the student body president and vice president positions, respectively, Russell and Haugeberg’s last day in office is weeks away.

From there, the pair has another year left in their studies at NDSU. Russell, an industrial engineering major, and Haugeberg, a management communication major, promise to “not get in the hair of ’15-’16 leadership” and are “excited to watch from afar.”

They also plan to be involved in other organizations and maybe work on campus while still “being around to help.”

Of all the experiences during the term in office, the interactions with the community and constituents resonate especially.

“(Our term) provided so many opportunities for us to meet incredible people,” Russell said, “whether they’re our peers, whether they’re students from different campuses around the state or the nation, as well as just all the incredible staff, faculty, administrators … and community members we’ve been able to meet through this.”

Wrapping up their term in the next two weeks, Russell and Haugeberg have two words for the campus they serve.

“Thank you.”

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