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President Cimaglia addresses WSU in ‘State of the Campus’

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  • SGA President Lou Cimaglia addressed WSU students and faculty on various campus topics. Photo by Rob Donoghue

Lou Cimaglia, Westfield State University’s Student Government Association President, said that there is always a place for students to become involved when he addressed members of the Westfield State community in Dever Hall during the first ever “State of the Campus” speech given on Monday, March 5th at 5:00 p.m.

Cimaglia and the SGA Executive Council began planning for the address over a month ago and said they hope it will become a long lasting tradition where WSU students, faculty and staff, along with members of the Westfield community, will be able to hear directly from the SGA President.

“I decided to hold this event because I believe it is something the president of the student body should be doing,” Cimaglia said. “It’s a position with a lot of responsibility, and it should include some public visibility.

“Plus, this is such an exciting time to be a Westfield State student with all of the great things happening around us.”

SGA Student Trustee Ryan Meersman introduced Cimaglia and the rest of the council before Cimaglia began his address to the campus.

Cimaglia began his speech by talking about Westfield’s numerous recent accolades, including the school’s U.S. News & World Report ranking as one of the top four schools in terms of online education programs as well as the MassInc report naming Westfield State as Massachusetts’ best value school at graduation among all of the 116 public and private colleges in the commonwealth.

After speaking generally about issues facing public higher education institutions, Cimaglia spoke about the positive changes taking place at Westfield.

“While other schools are bunkering down and tightening up, Westfield State is expanding,” Cimaglia said during his address.

He then addressed issues facing the campus community, such as on-campus parking concerns, crime, the dining commons, and future construction projects set to take place as Westfield continues to grow and expand.

Cimaglia said that parking concerns are often brought up by students and that with new shuttles and more frequent trips to South Lot, the school is doing everything possible to make parking more accessible for students and staff. He added that an outside consulting firm is being brought to campus this spring to address parking issues.

Cimaglia stressed that student participation is crucial and that the opinions of students are vital regarding changes that take place at WSU. Cimaglia said that students had a major impact on the decision to move the proposed University Hall construction location from in front of Lammers Hall to between Lammers and Ely Hall.

From the various campus committees that students can become involved with to open forums where students can gain information and have their voices heard, Cimaglia said that there are always ways for students to get involved and give their opinions.

“I’d love for every student to come down to the SGA office on a Tuesday at 5:30 to see what takes place at an SGA meeting,” Cimaglia said.

He added that it’s important for all students to read their Westfield emails in order to find out what’s happening at the school.

After speaking about the academic, athletic and extracurricular success stories of various WSU students, Cimaglia said that he encourages students to ask questions or talk to himself or any SGA member regarding any Westfield issues that arise.

Cimaglia said that he hoped this address will encourage student-wide involvement and interaction with student leaders, a bond that Cimaglia said has been lacking in years past.

“I think the entire campus, particularly faculty and staff, will benefit from hearing a formal and organized presentation from a student,” Cimaglia said.

Cimaglia said that he hopes his speech will shed light on the Student Government Association and encourage students to participate in elections with their professors’ support. He said that he would love to see “debates and hotly contested SGA elections” where more students get involved and run for the various offices.

After more than 1,000 ballots were cast in the SGA elections last spring, Cimaglia said that he hopes even more students will get involved and vote during this April’s election.

But while SGA isn’t something for all students, Cimaglia said that every student has a place on campus and there is something for every student to become involved with.  Cimaglia challenged students to find their niche and sense of purpose by getting involved in something new.

“In order to find a new comfort zone you need to leave your old one,” Cimaglia said.

Concluding with the popular phrase “We are Westfield,” Cimaglia said that everyone at WSU has a common bond and should be proud to be a part of the Westfield community.

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