Ellie Schaack, a junior, was confirmed as the Duke Student Government vice president for facilities and the environment Wednesday night.
Schaack was nominated by President Stefani Jones, a senior, to fill the vacancy left when junior Jay Kennedy announced that he was resigning from the role Sept. 8.
“It is going to be a really great year,” said Schaack, a columnist for The Chronicle. “It has been a crash course this past week learning all of the ropes.”
Applications were made available to the student body last week, and Jones received six applicants for the position, interviewing three finalists. She noted that each applicant was a very strong candidate.
“Obviously this is something we never want to have to do, and we are really sad to see Jay go,” Jones said, adding that she was excited to see what Schaack accomplishes this year.
Before assuming her role as vice president, Schaack was a senator for residential life. Jones noted that Schaack has extensive experience working with administrators and a strong ability to lead.
Kennedy was involved in the process of selecting his replacement.
“I had some time conflicts this year that I couldn’t really resolve,” said Kennedy, who was elected in April after running unopposed.
Chief Justice Daniel Strunk, a senior, officially swore Schaack into her new role.
Strunk also swore the new freshman senators into the Senate.
The group was officially welcomed by Executive Vice President Nikolai Doytchinov, a junior.
In other business:
Sophomore Michael Pelle, senator for equity and outreach, and junior Michael Washington, senator for services, submitted a statute that established a financial aid advisory committee.
Washington said the committee is important because it provides a direct link between the Financial Aid Office and the student body.
The statute was approved unanimously. Pelle said the committee is working to expand financial aid coverage to club sports and to open outside scholarships to international students.
A new student group led by junior Gavin Ovsak, encourages Duke students to break bread with strangers. Dining with Devils organizes open dinners in the Penn Pavilion to facilitate open conversation between students who would not otherwise meet.
Ovsak said that during Orientation Week students are more open to having impromptu conversations with one another than later in their university careers.
“We want to recapture some of those moments,” Ovsak said.
He added that there are “social barriers” that prevent students from wanting to engage in conversation with new people.
The group tried to implement this system of random meals last semester, but it was unsuccessful in publicizing its events.
Jones said the first Game Day event of the year “went really well.”
“We had our first tailgate of the year, and we are working on ways to increase the autonomy of student groups during the event,” she said.
Jones added that there were about six groups that applied for tailgate slots last week.
There are two upcoming tailgate events, as DSG allotted money for a total of three events, Jones said.
Senior Jacob Tobia, vice president for equity and outreach, said the DSG executive board is working on developing momentum for the DukeOpen—a student coalition that aims to increase the transparency of the University’s endowment.
The Coalition for Preserving Memory—a group that promotes remembrance for victims of genocide—was granted recognized status by the Student Organization Finance Committee.
A total of $9,350 from the programming fund was granted to support the International Organization’s annual Food Fest, and $1,625 was allotted to the Public Policy Studies Majors Union for a welcome back barbecue.