SGA: Sivi Colberg


Colgate’s Student Government Association (SGA) is comprised of much more than the president and vice presidents. Students from each and every corner of campus fill out the executive, legislative branch and class councils. The senate is part of the legislative branch along with the budget allocations committee (BAC), the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI) organizations and governance boards. 

According to junior Sivi Colberg, who joined the senate during her first year at Colgate,  the senate approves new student organizations, decides on certain funding allocations and votes on bills and resolutions that impact everything from campus life to SGA Bylaws. 

Colberg is an economics concentrator and creative writing and women’s studies double minor from Lyme, New Hampshire. On-campus she works with HAVEN, volunteers with admissions, is a part of link staff and is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. 

Her economics classes and interest in finance proved useful in the senate. 

“I was excited to be a senate rep on Colgate’s budget and financial planning committee last semester. I loved learning about Colgate’s financial goals and experiencing the decision-making processes,” she said.

Working in the senate has been both challenging and rewarding for Colberg.

“Something that [the] senate has struggled with throughout the past two years is efficiency,” Colberg said.. “I think I speak for most Senators in saying that I wish we could reach some decisions and create changes more quickly, but there’s a tricky balance between efficiency and adherence to bylaws.”

The pandemic has not helped with this difficulty. 

“The pandemic slowed things down a bit. Between navigating [the adjustment] to virtual meetings (both as a whole Senate and in smaller committees) and communicating virtually with faculty and staff, I’d say that efficiency remained a challenge. This isn’t to say that we weren’t able to reach decisions and make progress in many areas, but substantial, ‘recognizable’ campus changes often involve many meetings with faculty and staff, so being away from campus made communication with people back in Hamilton a little more difficult.”

These challenges haven’t deterred Colberg, however. 

“Collaborating with students from a variety of different spaces on campus is definitely one of the best parts of [the] Senate. Everyone brings a unique perspective to conversations which is really refreshing.”

These conversations are not merely limited to students elected to the senate, as all students are invited to join meetings and share their opinions.

“I think that [the] Senate is a great — and frankly underutilized — space … for students to share their concerns or thoughts about life on campus,” Colberg said. “Every meeting we allocate speaking time to hear from students and it’s one of my favorite parts of [the agenda].”

The novelty of this semester will open up new conversations, and bring new pressures to senate decisions, but Colberg finds hope in this work.

“I think that this semester, in particular, is going to require even more self-motivation and accountability from Senators. With way fewer (if any) in-person meetings, prioritizing Senate work and following through on strategies to implement campus change is going to be even more important. However, in some ways this semester could be advantageous — I think since campus looks so different this semester we’re going to discover a bunch of unforeseen opportunities to improve this new environment we’re in.”

Colberg had never been involved in student government before coming to Colgate. 

“In high school, I wished I’d gotten involved with student government, so when I got to Colgate it seemed like the right time to try it out. Also, as ridiculously cliché as it sounds, I was excited about the opportunity to create change and improve the student experience on campus.”

Colberg’s post-graduation aspirations are mercurial, but no matter what she ends up doing, she is confident that her time in the senate will be beneficial.

“My anticipated career path is definitely subject to frequent change, but as of right now I’m pretty sure I want to work for a publishing company and do editorial work or affiliate marketing. [The] senate has definitely reinforced the importance of considering and learning from multiple perspectives when making decisions …  and being a Senator also encourages me to be vocal, ask questions and share my opinions. I think these are important attributes of an engaged listener and team member, so hopefully, they’ll be useful in a professional setting!”

Recently, Colberg struggled through quarantine just like the rest of us, although she doesn’t sound too bummed out about it.

“My friends, family, outdoor time, food and – debatably, unfortunately – online shopping have brought me a lot of joy in the past two weeks,” she joked.

In true senator form, Colberg shared that the bright spots in her isolated days come primarily from the campus community.

“The sense of community at Colgate always brings me joy, but now it’s definitely giving me a lot of hope. It’s encouraging to see everyone wearing masks and following community guidelines in the shared interest of staying here and being together.”

All of last year’s senators must run for reelection, and information about this process will be announced after the appointment of an election commissioner.