Meghan Haenn (’10) starts her year as Student Government president eager to address student concerns and to get started on several new initiatives, including integrating Pro Humanitate more into students’ lives, improving academic advising, and having more puppies on campus.
What’s the top concern for students this fall?
Students are very concerned about parking at the moment. At peak times, spaces are very hard to come by. Student Government has been working with several administrators on solutions. We are trying to create a more comprehensive transportation system so that having a car on campus is less necessary.
You have announced a couple of major initiatives for the year; what is The Pro Humanitate initiative?
I am heading a committee on Pro Humanitate and its significance to our lives as students. I’d like to explore ways in which we can relate more to our school’s motto and make sure that it resonates with each and every Wake Forest student. There are an endless number of ways in which we can serve humanity, and it is important to recognize all of those – whether they have a small or large impact. One portion of this that I feel particularly passionate about is community engagement courses. We have a few offered, but I’d love to see more in every department. I know I have learned a great amount from my history major, but I’d like to further learn how I can apply my knowledge and background in a positive way.
How do you plan to improve academic advising?
My fellow executive, Alex Liccketto, is heading up the initiative on academic advising. Alex noticed that many students have a difficult time choosing a major after taking so many different divisionals in their first two years. He will be working with the new Office of Academic Advising to create more opportunities for students to connect with faculty from various departments. When these interactions occur, our hope is that students will have an easier time in finding their major.
Another initiative is having more “random acts of fun.” What does that mean?
Morgan Schutte, my chief of staff, is carrying on the legacy of the Random Acts of Fun committee from last year. The goal of this committee is to find little ways to brighten the days of students. Students are often hurrying from class to their various commitments and then off to ZSR (Z. Smith Reynolds Library), with no breaks in between. We like to put these fun interruptions in public places, like Benson or Manchester Plaza, so that students can stop by on their way to class. Last year’s chief of staff, Sarah Nick, planned events which included free popcorn and massages. The overwhelmingly popular event was Puppies on the Quad. Sarah invited AARF of Winston-Salem to bring their dogs to the Quad. Students just loved having the animals around.
What are the three most important responsibilities of the SG president?
Quicker communication, better communication and more communication. When we run in our separate circles – students with students, faculty with faculty, and administration with administration – we fail to understand the other groups’ viewpoints. When we begin to interact and exchange ideas, we realize how similar our goals and visions are.
Will social media be a part of your communication efforts?
We have revamped our public relations strategies, including using Twitter and Facebook more regularly. We have to meet students where they are in terms of communication. However, I must admit two things: I still think nothing beats a good conversation, and I don’t know how to log in to our Twitter account.
How has technology affected campus communication?
At the New Student Convocation, President Hatch stated that while we must appreciate and take advantage of the excellent advances in technology, we also must make the intentional choice to remove ourselves. We spend too much time on our laptops, and it’s difficult for students (including myself) to separate from our cell phones and iPods. These tools can inhibit spontaneous conversation.
What do you know as an “insider” that most students don’t?
Before I was in office, I believed that our administration was dedicated to our University, but now I know they are. I see them in Starbucks grabbing coffee at 7:30 a.m. in the morning and working in Reynolda Hall at 8 o’clock in the evening. I’m continually impressed with their dedication and energy levels!
What’s the most overlooked resource at Wake Forest?
The faculty. Our faculty make themselves available, and it is up to us to take advantage of it.
What one thing do you most hope to accomplish?
I plan to create opportunities that will serve as points of exchange for all members of the Wake Forest family — faculty, students, administrators, staff, neighbors and the city of Winston-Salem. I hope that by the end of this year, each student feels closer to Mother So Dear.