AS President makes plans to bring USD community together

Elisabeth Smith | Asst. News Editor

Presence. That is senior Katie Coutermarsh’s focus as she prepares to take on her role as Associated Students President in her fourth year at USD. With the support of her executive team, Coutermarsh has big plans ready for the USD community.

“This is milestone year because a lot of initiatives from last year passed so we are able to start putting them into action,” Coutermarsh said

When planning for the upcoming school year, Coutermarsh has several main priorities. Each of the priorities has a common theme: presence on campus. Coutermarsh wants AS to be an active member of the USD community and be available for all students to connect with easily.

“The first step is to have TPB [Torero Programming Board] engaged in everyday life,”
Coutermarsh said. “Having them present and supporting students in everything from academics to student organizations will help us learn the most and see the needs and wants on campus.”

Additionally, Coutermarsh wants AS to be proactive with their goals. She wants to improve the student posting policy and she wants AS to reach out to all parts of the USD community in an effort to represent all the diverse needs of the student body.

“Instead of just creating change as Associated Students, I want to be present where the
conversation is taking place,” Coutermarsh said. “Not just doing actions, but supporting organizations like BSU and UFMC. [We] want to team up with them and use our resources.”

Between campaigns like “Get on the Grass” and “Breathe Easy”, along with plans to empower students by making their voices heard, Coutermarsh and the AS team focused on being present in a variety of ways.

“Get on the Grass” is an initiative that started in the Fall of 2014 which encouraged students to spend time on the lawns of USD.

“We do live in San Diego,” Coutermarsh said. “We don’t want to be stuck inside all the time. We want students to connect and hang out.”

In preparation for the school year, AS filled three bins with footballs, soccer balls, and other outdoor activities. The bins are available on the popular lawns, including Maher lawn and outside of Copley Library, for students to use free of charge.

The “Breathe-Easy” campaign began in 2014 and targets smoking on campus. On Aug. 18, USD became a Smoking and Tobacco-Free Campus. The initiative started through AS, and set up programs through the Health and Wellness Center to support students and staff that want help to quit smoking.

“After three years of being involved in AS and seeing how AS functions, as well as being involved in other organizations and being present on campus, I’ve seen a couple different focus points of students,” Coutermarsh said.

In addition to being an AS Senator, Committee Chair and Academic Senator, Coutermarsh is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a social sorority on campus, and Delta Sigma Pi, one of the professional business fraternities on campus. This diverse collection of activities on top of her academics allows Coutermarsh to be in touch with the student body.

“I have the relationships and understanding of AS to make change happen on campus,” Coutermarsh said.

In regard to the new students arriving on campus Coutermarsh urges them to be outgoing and get involved in the Torero community.

“[I] challenge you to get to know each other,” Countermarsh said. “It’s an exciting opportunity. USD is so unique because it’s small and you can build great relationships with the people around you.”

She encourages all students to be present on campus because there are many opportunities to create a meaningful and purposeful experience.

If students want to get involved with AS, they can get more information in the first couple weeks of school. Flyers will be passed out and there will be informational meetings where they can get specific information from AS members.

“It can be an intimidating challenge, but it’s an exciting opportunity so I encourage student to challenge themselves,” Coutermarsh said. “It’s great to know what the university is planning, so feel free to come by and say ‘hi.’ All of AS is just excited for the school year and everything that is to come.”

Students look forward to a year of interaction and AS presence on campus. Coutermarsh explained that everyone has the opportunity to have their voices heard. It is the students’ voices that bring USD to the reputation of being a Changemaker campus.