Student Government Increases Collaboration With Admin, Plans Upcoming Wellness Events

Sarah Westergren, Staff Writer

The Student Government Association (SGA) recently announced a series of internal changes and updates, including increased collaboration between SGA and the administration, a newly appointed speaker of the senate and the continued planning of events for their upcoming 13 Days of Wellness. Students received the news on Sunday, Feb. 14 as part of SGA secretary Fiona Saunders’ weekly update.

According to the email, the student Senate recently brainstormed ways to connect with the administration. As part of their efforts, the student group met with Dean of Students Dorsey Spencer Jr. to discuss ways that the SGA might further collaborate with faculty and improve communication with the University Cabinet, composed of various staff members. 

“We are by no means perfect but we do strive for excellence in our common mission. There are always more opportunities to improve collaboration,” Spencer said. “When it comes to our respective agendas, I believe there is quite a bit of overlap, though we may have different ideas of how to achieve our goals. However, that difference in approach is where the collaboration with SGA comes in.” 

According to Spencer, student concerns have centered around the pandemic, with considerable attention to mental health and wellness, belonging and community, equity between students and power-based violence. Appointed to the position on June 1, 2020, Spencer continues to learn about Colgate while working with students and staff to improve equity within student experiences. 

“I hope to collaborate with SGA on many different issues, initiatives and events. It is important to empower students to find a sense of belonging, which I believe is connected to many of the challenges faced by students,” Spencer said. 

In line with SGA’s emphasis on mental health initiatives, Wellness Coordinator Lauren Wolfe continues to plan wellness programming in conjunction with the University Cabinet every week. Wolfe often collaborates with the Shaw Wellness Institute, Counseling Center and other student organizations to foster healthy learning environments. 

According to Wolfe, she is most excited for the upcoming “13 Days of Wellness,” taking place between Monday, Mar. 1 and Saturday, Mar. 13. The programming will include a variety of activities, from an Arts and Crafts Night to a two-hour virtual workshop led by outside facilitators from Art with Impact, a nonprofit organization that enables college-aged students to creatively explore mental health through the arts. 

“It has been fantastic working with the Cabinet on wellness programming because everyone brings such a unique perspective. The breadth of roles in the Cabinet allows us to take a multidimensional approach to the ‘13 days of wellness’ that encompasses everything from athletics to room conditions,” Wolfe said. “We all have the same overall goal of improving the well-being on campus, and it is so exciting to all be able to do our own part and come together in order to create these multidimensional events.” 

Amid other updates is the unanimous election of junior Elle Winter to Speaker of the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Winter read a ballot statement and answered a question-and-answer session with the Senate before securing their votes. In her new role, Winter will be responsible for organizing weekly meetings, brainstorming conversation topics and reaching out to members of the administration. 

“I’ve made it a personal priority to get to know the new and old members of the SGA, and I believe that that has done a lot for my development as a leader,” Winter said. “I’m also planning some of my own initiatives, such as a study on the effectiveness of the sexual assault prevention component of the new student orientation, which I’m hoping will allow lots of people from SGA’s different branches to work together.”