A year ago, juniors Meaghan Murtagh and Vincent Smith met through a mutual friend. Last week, they were elected as the president and vice president of Associated Student Government (ASG).
“We met last year, and we just kind of stayed friends.” said Murtagh. “And here we are! I was like, ‘Hey, what are you doing next year?’”
On April 9, Murtagh and Smith were elected to the executive cabinet of ASG for the 2018-2019 school year.
Originally from Andover, Massachusetts, Murtagh is a marketing major in the Farmer School of Business with a minor in political science. She has served in ASG every year she has been on campus, starting as a senator her first year and holding cabinet positions her sophomore and junior years.
Smith is from a suburb of Columbus and is majoring in kinesiology. Although he has never previously served in ASG, Smith has administrative experience as the vice president of academics and parent coordinator in his fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi.
Both Murtagh and Smith believe that Smith’s lack of experience in ASG will be beneficial throughout their tenure.
“I wanted to bring someone … not in ASG who would have a different view on Miami, because I’ve been in student government, so I kind of know everything that’s been going on with the school,” said Murtagh. “But I wanted to bring someone who had a different voice and could represent the students who have not been in ASG.”
Smith believes his outsider perspective will help forge a stronger connection between ASG and the general student body.
“From the outside in, not many people know what goes on in ASG. So that’s something I wanted to really push for … as vice president,” said Smith. “I want to work on [increasing] the transparency between the student body and the student government.”
Murtagh’s top priority for her presidency is to raise both funds and awareness for the Student Success Fund. The Student Success Fund helps students join organizations and participate in extracurricular activities at Miami they may not otherwise be able to afford.
“Maggie [Reilly] started it last year, so we have the fund. But there’s not much money in it, and a lot of students don’t know it’s a thing,” said Murtagh. “So, as president, that’s a very tangible thing that I’d like to accomplish.”
Smith wants to focus his attention on addressing racial tensions throughout campus as his top priority while vice president.
“What I want to work on is at least starting to improve that climate here at Miami,” said Smith. “I want to focus on changing the atmosphere here, at least start working on how we perceive ourselves and how we show ourselves to the outside community.”
Additionally, the two expressed interest in establishing a greater connection with international students on campus. Murtagh has worked in the past year to have more international students elected to ASG.
“This past year, my big initiative was to get international students more involved in student government,” said Murtagh.
Meanwhile, Smith plans to increase international options at Miami dining locations to both reduce the culture shock for international students and expose domestic students to other cultures.
Murtagh is also passionate about addressing students’ concerns about Miami’s counseling center and mental health, overall. Her main goals include increasing students’ awareness of which resources are free and diverting more funds to mental health services on campus.
“I know a lot of students feel as though they don’t want to utilize [mental health services] just because they don’t want to pay for it,” said Murtagh. “[We plan to] put that more out there that students can get the services for free.”
Both Murtagh and Smith expressed concern regarding sexual assault at Miami. Their concrete solutions for the issue include improving lighting on campus and raising students’ awareness of SafeRide.
“We want to work on the lighting on the way to Chestnut Fields, as well as the lighting on Central Quad,” said Smith. “Lighting is an easy thing that can be done, and everyone can get behind it as well.”
“I think a big thing is awareness of the services Miami has to offer, especially SafeRide,” Murtagh added. “I feel as though if we tell freshmen now coming in about it and more services that Miami has to offer, that hopefully, they will utilize them.”
Murtagh and Smith will be serving in the executive cabinet of ASG in the 2018-2019 school year, representing the Miami student body.
“ASG has been a big part of my college experience. I was in senate my freshman year, I’ve been on cabinet the past two years,” Murtagh said. “And then, I was like, ‘I want to run for president.’ I want to make a difference.”