On May 1, the new executive council of the Eckerd College Organization of Students (ECOS) officially took office. The executive council is comprised of President Ava McLeod, Executive Vice President (EVP) Evan Cramer, Vice President of Financial Affairs (VPFA) Maice Clanton, Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) Louis Borrelli and Vice President of Student Engagement (VPSE) Olivia Wicki.
While the new faces of ECOS range from rising sophomores to seniors, all have some ideas about collective improvement for the future of Eckerd. Emphasizing student voices is something that all the officers are looking to improve on this coming year.
President Ava McLeod
“I just want to make it clear and emphasize that [ECOS] is a resource for the student body,” McLeod said.
Originally from Dallas, McLeod is a first-year marine science and French double major, who is also minoring in animal studies. Although she will be a sophomore going into her presidency, she is not concerned since she has been involved with ECOS as soon as she stepped foot onto this campus.
“I have other people on my team who are upperclassmen and who can help educate me on the experience,” McLeod said. “But in terms of my goals and what I want to do, I feel as though I’m fully capable and it doesn’t matter what year I am.”
McLeod was the inaugural Culture Council Liaison with ECOS when former president Will Shedden created the position in Spring 2020.
One of McLeod’s main goals is centered around accountability of administration, faculty, staff and students. This includes holding the college accountable for not being disability-friendly, tweaking the Human Experience curriculum and increasing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training to include student leaders on campus. She has already met with Associate Professor of Classics Heather Vincent and the general education committee to suggest that more culturally-centered courses be added.
With DEI training, McLeod also talked about possibly incorporating “Green Dot” workshops focused on increasing bystander training. Additionally, she wants to look into getting Eckerd “Safe Space” certified, which is centered around making campuses more supportive of LGBTQ+ students.
McLeod feels as though a majority of Eckerd’s facilities are not disability-friendly. She suggests things like sidewalks and gravel paths could be improved to allow for easier travel of people with disabilities, as well as the implementation of more elevators and ramps. Although this will be a pricey goal, McLeod says she is confident that she can make change in these areas.
McLeod also noticed that a lot of places on campus are dimly lit and, unlike every other college that McLeod toured, Eckerd does not have a blue light system. While there are a few red emergency phones stationed around campus, McLeod wants to look into getting blue lights. With a blue light system, various stations would be placed around campus, acting as emergency help stations.
In terms of next year and what that will look like with COVID-19 guidelines, McLeod is optimistic.
“I already know that it’s gonna be better,” McLeod said.
Executive Vice President (EVP) Evan Cramer
An environmental studies major from Connecticut, Evan Cramer is one of two upperclassmen on the new executive council. Cramer is looking forward to his term as EVP.
“I feel kind of under pressure but also very excited,” Cramer said. “There’s lots of opportunities for me to make a lot of good changes and bring the community together.”
Cramer wants to revamp dorm Olympics, making them more like they have been in years past.
“I will try my absolute best to make dorm Olympics a fun, enjoyable experience that will bring the entire college together, and a sense of community that I feel like we haven’t really had in the past couple of years,” Cramer said.
Cramer is passionate about making the campus more safe. Cramer noticed a lack of security cameras in parking lots on campus, something he hopes to change in his term.
Vice President of Financial Affairs Maice Clanton
Maice Clanton is a sophomore ancient studies and economics major from Illinois. She has been on the financial affairs committee for two years now.
The normal duties of VPFA are to oversee the financial affairs committee, approve club reimbursements and allocate the student activity fee. This coming year, Clanton is looking to give clubs the chance to return to normal.
Clanton said that, hopefully, procedures like not allowing for spending on anything off-campus and only allowing individually-wrapped food items will be lifted next year, allowing her to allocate more funds to clubs. She is excited for clubs to get back to how they were pre-pandemic.
Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) Louis Borrelli
Louis Borrelli is ready to get to work with the school and the rest of executive staff as Vice President of Academic Affairs.
“I’m excited,” Borrelli said. “There’s a lot of work I want to get done within the school and everyone is very supportive.”
One of Borrelli’s major objectives is to create more engaging CPS events. He is hoping to help students to become more concerned with becoming “well-rounded,” rather than worrying about fulfilling a requirement.
Also, Borrelli is going to work to try to get diversity, equity and inclusion training for all students, which is among the things at the top of his agenda. To top it off, Borrelli is looking to restore “Pitchers with Professors” for next year, depending on COVID-19 protocols.
Vice President of Student Engagement Olivia Wicki.
Olivia Wicki is originally from New Jersey and is the other rising senior on the executive council. After less than a week in her position, Wicki has already started revamping the ECOS Instagram page @todayatec.
In previous years, Eckerd has had a yearbook and this is something that Wicki is looking to bring back. Wicki said it will be more than a memory holder.
“I also feel like it would be a really good way to promote clubs as well,” Wicki said.
In addition, Wicki wants to work on getting events back and amplify the uniqueness of Eckerd.
“It’s been a really hard year, and that’s definitely an understatement,” Wicki said. “So next year, I want to bring back the weirdness of Eckerd and to show everyone that everything’s going to be okay.”
Wicki is planning for smaller pop-up events where students can enjoy giveaways, incorporating other clubs and offices on campus. She also wants to incorporate more spontaneity into the events held by ECOS.
As VP of student engagement, Wicki says that whether she is walking to class or in the line at Starbucks, she encourages students to talk to her.
“I want to stress that, whether it’s on social media, in person or in class, students could always reach out to me,” Wicki said. “People can definitely feel free to reach out to me and have their voices heard.”