For the last year, as Government of the Student Body president and vice president, Daniel Fischer, senior in agricultural business, and Maggie Luttrell, senior in history, have been the faces of GSB.
Luttrell said she and Fischer worked to re-establish and solidify GSB’s foundation. She said they tried to focus on the big picture of GSB.
Fischer said the big picture included advocating diverse solutions for student debt, increasing awareness of what GSB does, increasing communication between students and the city of Ames, making funding more transparent and having full representation in the senate and cabinet.
Fischer also focused on listening to students’ ideas and took them to heart, he said.
On April 15, 2008, the Daily published an editorial that some might consider a call to action for GSB. The editorial criticized GSB for cutting salaries from student organizations but leaving GSB salaries in place.
The editorial also condemned GSB for functioning in “a communication black hole.”
“We take to heart what the Daily says,” Fischer said. “GSB and the Daily are both voices that represent the student body, and we need to work together.”
This year, GSB cut $25,000 from its budget.
“We took the Daily’s advice and ran with it,” Fischer said.
Some GSB members had some kind words for Fischer and Luttrell.
“Daniel is a very professional guy and very easy to get along with,” said GSB chief justice Corey Becker, senior in political science.
Becker added that Fischer is very personable and optimistic.
“He doesn’t get discouraged easily,” he said.
Associate justice Samantha Clark, senior in political science, agreed, saying :
“He stands out in a crowd as someone who has a lot of energy. He is very approachable. He may seem serious, but he is a lot of fun,” Clark said.
She added that Fischer has taken an active role in the lives of GSB members.
Panhellenic senator Chelsea Zigtema, sophomore in sociology, said Luttrell has been a good leader and is “great at leading the senate at meetings.”
All of the GSB members interviewed said they could not think of additional projects they would have proposed, but Clark said she is opposed to some of their focus this year.
“Requiring [the financial literacy course] would be ridiculous,” Clark said. “To make it an option would be OK, but in my eyes, it was a waste of time and money.”
Although their time in GSB is over, Fischer and Luttrell said there are things they would have liked to accomplish, but they didn’t have the opportunity.
“Campustown was an issue that I really wanted to push and didn’t get the chance to,” Luttrell said.
She said they were, however, effective in letting city officials know that Campustown was a concern of GSB, and “future leadership will need to be advocates.”
With the current state of the economy, Fischer and Luttrell are aware of the challenges future GSB leadership will likely face.
“They are going to have to deal with unhappy students because of budget cuts,” Luttrell said.
She added that future leadership will have to focus on “engaging and retaining students” to be members of GSB.
Fischer said they would have to continue to proliferate information on the issue of student debt.
“They will have to be creative with how they approach it because students don’t want to be preached at all of the time,” Luttrell said.
Fischer and Luttrell said their time spent in GSB has taught them valuable lessons.
“I had the opportunity to see what politics are really like,” Fischer said.
Luttrell said it “opened my eyes to the world of student affairs.”
Together the two developed a list of advice they have for future GSB leadership.
“Relationships are an essential part of the job,” Fischer said.
He said positive relationships with reporters for the Iowa State Daily, local and state officials and students are vital for GSB to be successful.
Fischer said GSB would have to continue to improve communication between GSB and the student body.
“No matter what you do, you’ll never have every student caring [about GSB], but they need to continue to seek feedback,” Fischer said.
Luttrell said future leadership should seek administrative support for large-scale projects, because when the university is on board, things run more smoothly.
“They will really need to understand that GSB is a special interest organization, and they need to work with students in order to represent them,” Fischer said.
Zigtema said future leadership should work on being personable with students.
“Meet them at a football game or attend one of their club’s events,” she said.
Clark said she would like to see a better recycling program and campus safety being addressed, because they are issues that can affect each student.
Clark added that she would like to see improvements in Campustown and hopes the current administration will see that through.
“[Campustown] is something everyone can use and benefit from at some point,” Clark said.
Mackenzie Guthrie-Kramer, sophomore in psychology, said she has paid little attention to GSB but would be more interested if future leadership related to students.
“Basically every student has a Facebook now, so utilizing Facebook would be an easy way to grab the attention of many students,” Guthrie-Kramer said.
When Fischer and Luttrell stepped into office, these were their GSB priorities for 2008-2009:
- Engage and effectively represent the student body in university, local and state issues:
- Ensure fair and transparent allocations of student funds.
- Conduct semester surveys to measure students’ top priorities.
- Establish relationships with greek and residence hall communities.
- Advocate the problem of student debt and propose a diverse set of solutions:
- Lobby for a diverse set of issues, including higher state funding, stable tuition increases, affordable loans and improved career prospects.
- Develop a yearly, brief report on ISU debt for communication with state and political leaders.
- Educate and inform students about state and federal elections.
- Form cooperative partnerships with ISU administrators and student organizations:
- Seek and create programs to enhance academic and student life experiences.
- Create joint projects and events with other campus organizations.
- Recruit, develop and retain the best campus leaders:
- Recruit motivated students with diverse views, ideas and goals for GSB.
- Provide proper orientation and clear expectations of the representation process to GSB leaders.
— Provided by Daniel Fischer and Maggie Luttrell
GSB executives’ goals for the year:
- Engage and effectively represent the student body in university, local and state issues.
- Recruit, develop and retain the best campus leaders.
- Form cooperative partnerships with ISU administrators and student organizations.
- Advocate the problem of student debt and a diverse set of solutions.