One is naturally business-minded, the other knows politics. One worked as an RA for two years and was a part of numerous student groups, the other spent nine months at Marquette’s Les Aspin Center for Government and served on a senatorial campaign. One is the Marquette Student Government President Arica Van Boxtel, the other is Executive Vice President Bill Neidhardt.
Last March, Van Boxtel, a senior in the College of Communication, and Neidhardt, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, were elected to their current positions after spending only a combined two years working in MUSG. Neidhardt said the experiences he and Van Boxtel gained before joining MUSG culminated into one of their biggest strengths.
“(Working outside of MUSG) gave us this ability to really take a student’s perspective and apply it to student government, which is what it’s all about,” Neidhardt said. Both Neidhardt and VanBoxtel also said their radically different experiences will complement each other nicely as they work together in the coming year.
“I can see how Arica is going to be more business-focused and I can see how I’m going to think of the political ramifications. I think that will work well,” Neidhardt said.
Van Boxtel agreed.
“You just have two different perspectives and then you come to this consensus and you’re like, ‘wow,’” Van Boxtel said. “It’s fascinating to see how that merges together.”
Van Boxtel and Neidhardt are hoping to use their chemistry and experience to accomplish the goals laid out during their campaign last spring. One of their primary platforms was the creation of a tuition receipt that would help students better understand their personal financial situation. Van Boxtel said that it is too soon to lay out a full plan, but the necessary steps are being taken toward the establishment of a tuition receipt program.
“We’ve been having that research gathering portion of things, and now that it’s the beginning of the year, we’re looking toward how we can navigate through that and come to provide more rationale for students behind tuition,” Van Boxtel said.
Another of their campaign promises was to build upon the progress made in last year’s diversity roundtables by creating a diversity taskforce. Van Boxtel described the taskforce as a 15-member board, led by herself and Niedhardt, dedicated to accomplishing three goals that were highlighted during last year’s roundtable discussions.
Those three goals, according to Neidhardt and Van Boxtel, are to develop a campus climate survey to see how Marquette students of all races and ethnicities really feel about their experience, to review the Core of Common Studies to see how well diversity is represented and to develop a reporting process for those who have been discriminated against.
Van Boxtel and Neidhardt also said one of their goals was to set up a way for students to view faculty evaluations, possibly on CheckMarq. Neidhardt said this proposition has been met with resistance multiple times over the past few years.
“That’s an issue that students feel very strongly about and that faculty feel very strongly about,” Neidhardt said. “And what we’re trying to do is find a way to bridge that gap. It’s all about coming up with new and original ways to bring people together.”
Although Van Boxtel and Neidhardt’s terms are still in their infancy, both leaders said they are confident in their plans for the year and are excited to get as many students as possible involved with MUSG.
“If you want your voice to be heard on campus,” Neidhardt said, “we want to help.”