SGA Update: Students Continue to Work on Initiatives and Create Potential Bills and Resolutions

On Sunday, November 15, members of the Student Government Association (SGA) held their last Executive Board meeting before Thanksgiving break to discuss ongoing projects. The students discussed two of the SGA’s events from last week: the fireside chat held in Case Library and the “Cider and Suggestions” event, which took place on the Academic Quad. Chair of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) sophomore Ryan Stahlin discussed how the events could be improved, while noting the success of the event on the quad, where students left over 100 suggestions for the SGA to improve upon. As a result, the SGA hopes to put on another similar event in the upcoming month.

Executive board members then discussed the current projects that they are working on, including updates to the SGA website and the continuation of the flag-hanging initiative in Frank Dining Hall, in which each nation that students at Colgate identify as belonging to is represented. International Student Life Policy Coordinator junior Steven Huang is also working to create opportunities for students to learn how to drive on campus so that they can get a driver’s license. In addition to this, the SGA is working on creating a Department Ambassador program, in which Colgate students will be able to advise other students within their respective departments on which classes they should take to meet their requirements and on other aspects that are relevant to their concentrations. Another continued initiative that Positive Sexuality Liaison sophomore Collin McCarty and Parliamentarian senior Sydney Liggett are working on is improving the effectiveness of the Blue Light system on campus. McCarty and Liggett plan to send out an email in the upcoming weeks to get student input on their experiences with the Blue Light system.

Another important project that SGA Vice President senior David Kim discussed was making a survey about Colgate’s campus climate to be completed by first-year students and the creation of a steering committee. The committee will focus on the theme of “student engagement and apathy” and will involve groups from across campus, including students involved with organizations related to Athletics, the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE) and the Africana, Latin American, Native American and Asian American (ALANA) Cultural Center. Applications to get involved with this committee were sent out on Wednesday, November 18.

The students also discussed new projects that are being implemented. SGA President senior Kegan Thompson talked about how the SGA plans to work with, which is a textbook exchange site that will allow students to sell their old textbooks to other students on campus. Furthermore, Thompson discussed the SGA’s idea to present awards to students who are not a part of the SGA but have made their mark on campus in some way at the SGA’s State of the Association at the end of the semester. In addition, Thompson talked about the formation of a committee that will focus on the prevention of sexual violence on campus and the support of survivors who have experienced such violence. The committee will be made up of members from the Association of Critical Collegians (ACC), Colgate Forward and The Network. A final project, which Athletics Liaison senior Nick Laub, along with other members of the Athletics community at Colgate, are workin; is a 5K run, which would take place during the spring semester. It would serve as a way to raise money for a former athlete in the Patriot League who plans to compete in the Paralympic Games.

Following discussion on these topics, the Senate committees each gave a summary of the projects that they continue to work on. The Class Affairs Committee (CAC) discussed the success of the Colgate v. Cornell SGA tailgate, while many of the other committees talked about bills or resolutions that they are currently drafting. At this week’s Senate meeting, on Tuesday, November 17, senators continued the discussion on raising the minimum required GPA for the Dean’s Award from 3.3 to 3.6. Members of the faculty and administration came to the meeting to further explain the reasoning behind wanting to raise this requirement.

In addition, two resolutions and one bill were presented and discussed. The first resolution was created to show support of the 11-point action plan presented by the leaders of the ACC and Colgate Forward, who held the protest and speak-out against sexual violence on campus on Thursday, November 5. The second resolution is to express solidarity with the students at Yale University and the University of Missouri in their protests against institutional racism on their college campuses. Lastly, the Senate presented a bill regarding certification requirements for members of the SGA and the potential for sanctions resulting from absences at these training sessions. Certifications and the corresponding sanctions for not meeting the training requirements were discussed at the previous Senate meeting on Tuesday, November 10. Along with this discussion, Senators discussed about the Safe Campus Act, a bill presented to Congress that would – if implemented – affect college campuses nation-wide and the policies behind reporting sexual assault. These Senate meetings and discussions will continue on Tuesday evenings throughout the rest of the semester and are open for any members of the Colgate community to attend.