From Platform to Plan of Action

Seniors Amy Dudley and Preston Burnes, the President and Vice-President of the Student Government Association (SGA) respectively for the 2005-2006 school year, have one overarching goal for this year: “We’re not going to get bogged down by specifics,” Dudley said.

She and Burnes have left their to-do list relatively free of projects so as to leave room for issues that come up during the school year.

In spite of their reluctance to begin the year with specific goals, the pair plans to institute reforms to “leave a footprint for upcoming classes.”

The Constitutional Revision Committee, for example, is currently working toward an overhaul of inefficient practices within the Student Senate.

“In the past, SGA has been a very top-down system,” senior Committee Chairman Drew Lane said. “With the changes we are advocating, we want to see a more bottom-up system where all students, not just student Senators, are the ones meeting with the people who can help them with whatever it is they are trying to get done.”

Dudley and Burnes also plan to change the SGA schedule so that full Senate meetings only occur every other week, alternating with individual committee meetings.

The philosophy behind this move is to give committees more time to focus on specific issues, while helping each senator feel more engaged in his or her representational role.

Lengthy SGA meetings every Tuesday have taken a toll on the Senate’s morale and felt like a waste of time to some members.

Another important item on the agenda is to emphasize the SGA’s role as the liaison between students and administration, especially in terms of communication. The SGA hopes to encourage proactive rather than reactive interaction with the administration.

The two groups often view each other negatively because the only time they meet is over disciplinary considerations, something that Dudley and Burnes hope to change.

A similar effort is being undertaken to foster a positive relationship with the Hamilton community.

“These [first] five weeks have a huge impact on how students interact with the village,” Dudley said.

She and Burnes will be meeting with the deputy mayor and chief of police to discuss this issue.

Both former varsity athletes, Dudley and Burnes want to reach out to student athletes and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. They also plan to invite Director of Athletics David Roach to SGA meetings.

The pair acknowledged that certain problems will most likely arise as the year goes on, such as Colgate Cruiser routes and the intricacies of Sodexho meal plans, but they prefer to take them as they come.

“We didn’t come into this year with A, B and C,” Dudley said.

“[So] we’re not banging our heads against the wall for a project that just won’t work,” Burnes added.