By John McCormack:
Who’s your student government president? Assumption College’s Student Government Association (SGA) President, Ian Burns, appears to have given it his all in his last year.
Burns has been apart of SGA at Assumption all four years, but he started in student government at North Andover (MA) High School where he was class president. He started his SGA career at Assumption as a senator, but worked his way up and eventually became president.
Burns tells us he has to do three meetings a week with students and administration, senate meeting on Sunday, and daily emails.
“The president sets the tone for SGA throughout the year,” Burns said.
So what are the “do’s” and “dont’s” of being SGA president and what do students see and what don’t students see?
Besides sending daily emails to students and administration and having weekly meetings, Burns says his main duty is to serve the student body, to listen to their concerns, and bring them forward to the administration.
“I’m very candid with administration and telling them the way it is,” Burns said. “I also bring concerns forward to them that students have,” he continued.
Burns doesn’t do event planning. SGA has a separate chairperson that plans events. Burns also takes the time to get all members of SGA involved.
“Sometimes I’ll get an email about a concern that I know I can redirect that concern to someone on SGA who is apart of that chair,” Burns said.
Burns also doesn’t do much of the marketing or social media for SGA.
Burns does a lot that most students don’t see. It is mostly working with administration, but it’s the topics that he fights for and brings to them that many students don’t realize. Burns was on the committee that helped with Pup Cup. He said he has to play the middle and see where both the students and administration are coming from.
Burns best describes his position as a “bridge.” He said he’s the bridge between students and administration and when problems occur he brings them to both.
When asked how much the administration actually listens to the student body, Burns said,
“It all depends on how you approach them about the situation…” he continued, “…at the end of the day there are bigger factors at play.”
Last year at Pup Cup, the administration wanted to cut guests from attending the event. Burns put a lot of time and effort into meeting the college in the middle. With Burns’ help, SGA managed to get the administration to allow 325 guests to attend.
With any job there are good and bad parts of it. Burns said the good parts completely outweigh the bad ones.
“Seeing stuff you work on being a benefit to both students and administration really makes it worth it,” Burns said. “It can be as big as the Uber deal or as simple as putting a fence behind the volleyball court outside,” he continued.
Burns lists making the deal with Uber as a major accomplishment. The deal gives students discounted safe rides back to campus after a night out. Burns feels the Uber deal will be his lasting legacy on the school. Assumption posted a statement about the new partnership on their website (view article here).
Burns said another part that he hopes he can leave behind is the relationship with clubs and organizations with one another. Burns got rid of the hierarchy that some clubs are better than others and that some students leaders do more than others. Because at the end of the day you’re all student leaders.
Burns said one of the worst parts about being SGA President is that you can’t change everything. One major issue Burns wishes he could have worked out was getting a new director for the Cross-Cultural Center.
However, Burns knows what is out of his control. For example, he fought about the college’s Compass Program. The Compass Program is for freshmen where you take two classes with the same people and have common hour workshops. Burns can’t do anything about the program until it goes through a four-year trial process.
Andrew Belschner, the 2018-2019 Vice President of Academic Affairs, has known Burns for three years.
“Burns is very passionate,” Belschner said. “He is passionate about everything and very dedicated no matter how small the issue is he gives 110%,” he continued.
Belschner continued to say the Burns will go down as one of the best SGA presidents this school has had. Burns was the best at handling students concerns with administration, and people felt comfortable going to him with concerns.
According to multiple students, Burns will be remembered as one of the most liked SGA presidents Assumption has ever had. Burns did give some encouraging advice to the future SGA president.
Students also gave a positive review about Burns’ presidency. With 30 students voting on Twitter, 83% said Burns’ presidency was successful.