One year after he took over as Student Government president, Danny Carvajal is ready to step aside and let the new executive board take over – but not before reflecting on his year as head of the University of Miami student body.
“I’m actually very proud of the number of projects we were able to accomplish in the span of one year,” Carvajal said. “With 15 people on the executive board, we worked as a team. It wasn’t just one person trying to accomplish everything.”
One of the main campaign platforms of the “One Goal. One Passion. The U.” team was to increase the efficiency of the Hurry ‘Cane shuttle system.
The Miami Hurricane reported on March 31 that although GPS devices have been installed in the shuttles, the project is not yet completed because of problems with the time boards. Carvajal said that problems with the vendor have caused delays and the Department of Parking and Transportation is currently developing t he best system to work with.
As for other campaign goals, Carvajal said that many of them turned into compromises: the proposal for Chartwells take-out service was just recently completed and submitted for evaluation; the executive board was unable to negotiate free laundry supplies in the residence halls, but succeeded in making them available in residence hall vending machines; and the Richter Video plan evolved into a DVD rental kiosk in Hecht.
iTunes U, one of Carvajal’s main platform promises, will allow students to access lectures and self-published podcasts from the comfort of their own iPod. In January, The Hurricane reported that the university signed an agreement to launch the program later in the semester. Bill Vilberg, director of the Instructional Advancement Center, said he is meeting this week with university communications to discuss a logo, and once that is complete IT will work with faculty to begin putting information on a working Web site that will be linked on UM’s homepage..
“I’m hoping that we can get lectures by professors up as quickly as possible,” Vilberg said, noting that professors such as Charles Mallery in the biology department have already been recording their lectures. “We expect a full rollout of iTunes in the fall with faculty training.”
Some of this year’s SG completed projects were not original campaign initiatives, including the Virgin HealthMiles physical rewards program and the digital jukebox in the Mahoney-Pearson dining hall.
Carvajal believes that his e-board brought fresh ideas to SG, seeing as how neither he, Vice President Molly Jones nor Treasurer Justin Gaither had any previous SG experience. Together, they started the Innovation and Advancement Team – a group of students outside of SG who serve as a think tank and present their ideas to the executive board.
Carvajal advises that the next president, current Senate speaker Brandon Gross, to develop a very thick skin and be prepared to receive criticism. He also said the biggest challenge is to maintain relations with the administration, because they have the ultimate say on what projects are completed.
“You have to be cognizant that they approve final decisions, but you also have to be able to fight for what you believe in, respectfully and tactfully,” he said.
Megan Ondrizek may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carvajal’s platforms: Did they happen?
Podcasting: In progress, Apple representatives have been meeting with UM Information Technology to develop the program interface, and once that is complete IT will work with faculty to begin podcasting.
Real-time Hurry ‘Cane arrival time boards: No, but GPS systems have been installed
Chartwells take-out system: No, but Shajena Erazo, who begins her term as treasurer today, said she will carry on the initiative.
Free Metrorail passes to medical campus: No
UM student discounts at Sunset Place: No
Wireless and color printing: No
Free laundry supplies in residential halls: No, the executive board was unable to negotiate free laundry supplies in the residence halls but succeeded in making them available in the vending machines of residence hall lobbies
Richter Video: on-campus rental service: No, this evolved into a VendaFlix DVD Rental Kiosk installed in Hecht
Food/beverage kiosk between School of Architecture and Eaton Hall: No
24-hour C-store on weekends: No
HBO in University Village/fraternity row: Yes
– Chelsea Kate Isaacs
Students interested in reading SG blogs may visit http://umsg.blogspot.com