Student Activities Association Ushers in New Members


The winners of the 2021-22 Student Activities Association (SAA) Class Council elections were revealed on Thursday, Sept. 24. Each newly elected member has a vision of what they would like to see on campus moving forward. The presidents and vice-presidents of each class year are, respectively, seniors Spencer Seaman and Tori Sternkopf, juniors Alli Carpenter and Tucker Brown, sophomores Elina Sen-Ghosh and Charlotte Prendergast and first-years Enzo Mizerek and Henry Shear.

The SAA is the primary event-planning committee for the University, with events being student-initiated and tailored to what is appealing for the current student population. Past events have included Fall Fest, Taste of Hamilton and movie nights, among others. 

The SAA was formerly known as the Colgate Activities Board, according to their GetInvolved page. The newly-rebranded organization now oversees the Class Council, which was formerly under a branch of the Student Government Association.

Junior and SAA Spirit Committee Director Shane Knopp discussed the pride he has for how SAA has handled events, especially under COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re extremely proud of our ability to safely host successful events on campus since the start of the academic year,” Knopp said. “Our standards have often exceeded the minimum health and safety guidelines while providing an option outside of the party scene for students to have fun. Our larger events that could not be outdoors (such as Wingo and the First and Second Year Formal) have had numerous hand sanitizer stations, HEPA air filtration systems and open windows.”

As Spirit Committee Director, Knopp oversees the Class Council. The Annual Class Council consists of leaders that represent each class year to provide unique events based on an understanding of their respective classes. Therefore, there are four presidents and four vice presidents. 

“It’s necessary to have representatives from every class cohort as a way to bridge communication and understand the student body’s wants in events on campus,” Knopp said. “These two roles [President and Vice President] are also expected to serve as leaders on campus outside of SAA or event planning.”

Because of the significant role that the Class Council holds in regard to campus engagement and leadership, the application process for Class Council positions included numerous steps. These steps included signing a Candidate Agreement Form and submitting a 150-word ballot statement outlining their background, why they were interested in the position and their goals for the school year if elected. 

“I really tried to capture my commitment to making our community a more vibrant and joyful environment throughout my time on the class council in my statement.” First-Year Council President Enzo Mizerek said. 

When asked what interested them in the position, many candidates insisted on the importance of collaboration and inclusion among class years to foster a welcoming school environment and strengthen the Colgate community. 

“I wanted to run for Class Council because I wanted to get involved on campus,” Shear said. “My family moved several times growing up, and if I can make adjusting to a new place easier for even one person, that would be great.” 

The dedication for boosting morale and student activity at Colgate was highlighted by candidates who saw a need for a return to normalcy from the restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I wanted to help create fun, safe and socially distant/virtual activities that would allow the student body to stay connected during the pandemic,” Sternkopf said. “This year, I am excited to be a part of planning for the return to normalcy. While still prioritizing the health of the Colgate community, I hope to plan more in-person events, particularly so that seniors can have the best last year possible.” 

In discussing their goals for the 2021-22 school year, candidates asserted their interest in unifying the interests of the student body with those of the SAA to create events that engage the whole community. 

“I hope to listen and gauge interests from students and help them put their ideas to life,” Seaman said. “I’m hoping that I can create a path for conversations with students about what they would like to see and learn about their ideas as well! I really want to provide experiences that we can reflect on after our time here has ended.”

Sen-Ghosh reflected similar sentiments.

“As stated in my ballot statement … the main mission of my platform this year is to build upon my previous goal of promoting class unity and cohesion, by giving students opportunities to enjoy a variety of activities and show school spirit with both old and new friends … a concern that has driven much of my work over the past two years is ensuring that I am providing spaces in which my peers can make a meaningful and tangible connection both to each other and Colgate as an institution,” Sen-Ghosh said.

Class Council takes on a significant role in event-planning on campus, so the newly elected council members were eager to share their ideas for future events and the continuation of current ones. Some ideas centered around rallying school spirit.

“I think the clearest way to foster school spirit revolves around the gameday environment for both men’s and women’s sports at Colgate,” Mizerek said. “I would love to expand on the infrastructure created for Homecoming Weekend and host tailgates on a consistent basis where the whole campus can interact and have a great time before games.”

The theme of school spirit was also within Seaman’s desire to continue The Raider Roars during finals, a tradition when students release the stress of finals by screaming loudly in Case Geyer library. While studying for finals during her freshman year, Seaman remembered hearing loud noises. She explained that she later joined in on the experience, finding it to be a memorable and stress-relieving time. 

“I remember my freshman year being in the library during finals and being so confused about what this loud screaming was, but when I joined in it was such a cute and unique stress relieving experience that I’ll never forget!” Seaman said. 

Future event ideas also hope to focus on encouraging healthy competition and communication. This includes Shear’s proposal for a scavenger hunt that may include collaborating with local businesses for prizes. Sen-Ghosh also commented on her interest in introducing more intercommons competitions. 

“I would love to introduce an inter-commons spirit competition for school related events this year, such as Colgate day or at sports games,” Sen-Ghosh said. “I think this would be a fun way for students to engage with Colgate while having fun with their peers and attending events that foster school spirit and bonding throughout their class-year.”

There were also event ideas centered on philanthropy at Colgate. Sternkopf discussed a proposed charity event she calls “Ticket Forgiveness Day.”

The concept is that the Class Council will select a local charity/cause that the entire school could contribute to for one day. In order to donate, one Campus Safety parking ticket will be waived if you instead donate the ticket amount to the charity,” Sternkopf said. 

The Class Council is dedicated to collaborating with the SAA in the development of these types of events. However, Knopp mentioned that this relationship was not always configured the way it is today. He noted that his role as Spirit Committee Director to oversee the Class Council is in its inaugural year.

I’m trying to provide a completely new experience for the Class Council,” Knopp said. “Historically, they have essentially been their own organization, but as Spirit Committee Director I’m trying to serve as a link for them.”

In light of the change to the structure of Class Council and the SAA, Knopp also commented on how he would like to see the new council members bring a lot of energy to the position and expressed his support of their goals.