Juan Bibiloni will lead the final Student Government meeting of his term as vice president on Wednesday night.
“It’s a chapter in my life,” Bibiloni said. “I’ve spent the last two years of my life dedicated to Student Government, and that chapter is coming to a close, but I’m also excited to start a new chapter.”
As Bibiloni and President Julian Neely’s term is ending, both have reflected on their biggest successes and some things they wish they had done differently.
Neely, senior in journalism and mass communication, said he believes one of his biggest accomplishments was the selection of the Cabinet members.
“Without our team we wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything we have achieved this year,” Neely said. “From funding for STI testing, to having a successful Campus Safety Walk that led to lighting initiatives, to hosting a residency fair, we have had so many things this year.”
Bibiloni said he was proud that he and Neely stayed “true to the message” of their campaign during their term. Their campaign was focused on looking forward and starting a “new chapter in Student Government” by recruiting new members from outside of Student Government.
A few of the campaign promises, such as Cyclone-to-Cyclone and the March for Education, however, did not come to completion during their term.
Cyclone-to-Cyclone is a program meant to connect upperclassman and provide new students major and career guidance.
“By the time we got to that one, it was late last semester, probably late November,” Bibiloni said. “I had a meeting with Jen Leptien from the learning communities, and I learned there was a window, which was in the sophomore year, where there is the highest dropout rate.”
Bibiloni said the turnaround time of three to four months was too small for the program they had intended to be effective and that the window of time had mostly passed. He said he hopes someone picks up the program and brings it to completion.
The March for Education was intended to be a reactionary organization of students against the rising cost of tuition in the first weeks of the spring semester.
Time played a factor in the March for Education as well.
“When you plan something like that, you need to have a policy window,” Bibiloni said. “The policy window wasn’t there. Last year, there was a huge policy window with the amount of cuts that were made ... This year, with the governor matching the request, and I believe the House of Representatives or the Senate is pretty close to that matching request, there just was not a policy window.”
The March for Education is also an initiative that Neely and Bibiloni hope will be picked up again when there is a bigger policy window.
Neely said one of the things he would have changed about his presidency was the Student Government website. His big project was rebranding and working to have a reliable and accessible website for students.
“That was one of the projects I wish we could have focused on heavily and been able to complete,” Neely said. “We had some hiccups in the road and some hurdles that really prevented us from implementing the ideas that we had for the website.”
Aside from issues relating to policy, Bibiloni and Neely both said personal issues arose within Student Government during their term.
Bibiloni said he wished he would have had more foresight on the potential for interpersonal conflicts within Student Government and had been better prepared to avoid them.
“I think all of them could have been easily avoidable, and not just on our part, on all parties involved,” Bibiloni said.
Neely offered advice on how new senators can avoid getting caught up in personal issues.
“Realize that you all are a team,” Neely said. “You’re going to need each other no matter what, and personal conflicts, personal drama, leave that at the door.”
As the new members of Student Government begin their terms, Bibiloni also had a few parting words of advice.
“Remember, regardless of what role you have, president to senator to at-large, always remind yourself to look up, not down,” Bibiloni said. “Student Government is there to serve students and serve the community.”