The Student Government Association (SGA) is working to implement several different projects over the course of this semester and in the near future. They held various meetings over the past few weeks to work on these initiatives.
At the Senate meeting on Tuesday, September 29 Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Scott Brown spoke about the importance of the SGA and student input in making effective change at Colgate. The heads of various different committees spoke at the meeting, discussing the projects they plan to work on. These committees include the Class Affairs Committee (CAC), Academic Affairs Committee (AAC), Government Affairs Committee (GAC), Student Affairs Committee (SAC), Student Organizations Committee (SOC) and the External Affairs Committee (EAC). Some of these projects range from midterm and finals study breaks planned by the CAC to working with groups to help them officially become approved as Colgate groups, which SGA/Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI) Liaison to Student Organizations junior Natalie Pudalov and the SOC concentrated on.
The EAC, led by Committee Chair and sophomore Senator Derek Baker, is also working on several projects. These include trying to implement student discount cards for the various eating establishments in Hamilton and creating a free food event for first-years and sophomores to help them become familiarized with the different food options available in Hamilton. This group is also working to establish a day of service in which Colgate students volunteer in the local community.
At this same Senate meeting, members of the governance board committees were elected to the positions that they had applied for. Although many students were given positions, several spots on the governance board have yet to be filled. Two bills were also passed at the meeting. The first bill aims to change the template of bills that are written, as a way of trying to make them easier to understand.
“The new template hopefully will serve two purposes. It sets a guideline to clarify a confusing process for new Senators who are writing their first bills, and the new template aligns more closely with the formats used by legislatures in the U.S.,” junior Michael Hogg, one of the Senators on the SGA, said. Hogg was influential in working toward the passage of this first bill.
“My goal was to make writing bills and resolutions easier for everyone and to establish a more professional format than what we used previously,” Hogg said.
The second bill, called the Caucus Veto Bill, was passed as a means of trying to increase the time that members of the Senate have to talk about a bill if the President vetoes it.
On Sunday, October 4, members of the executive board met at their weekly meeting to continue the discussion about upcoming initiatives. These include an SGA Brown Bag series that aims to increase transparency about what the SGA is doing, the continued sharing of information about the improvements made to Chartwells Dining Services – with student input given to the dining services through the Dining Services Advisory Committee – fireside chats and a project led by the Information Technology Services (ITS) Policy Coordinators sophomore Abe Benghiat and junior Daniel Luntzel to have three-pronged chargers available at every computer in the library.
Another main initiative that was discussed at the meeting was the “Dear Class of 2019” dinner programs that will take place in early November, from November 2 to November 5. These dinners, previously called inclusion dinners, will allow upperclassmen to share their experiences at Colgate. These experiences can be about their involvement on campus and what it is like living at Colgate after one’s first year as a Colgate student. First-year students will attend with their first-year seminar groups, and seniors can apply to be a part of this dinner series. The purpose is to allow students to gain a better
understanding of what their options for the rest of their time at Colgate might look like and to see that there are many different experiences that make up the Colgate body and that there is no one definition of the Colgate experience.
President of the SGA senior Kegan Thompson and Vice President senior David Kim discussed their meeting with members of the Board of Trustees. During this meeting, Thompson and Kim informed the board members of the initiatives and goals that the SGA is working on, including the “Dear Class of 2019” dinners, the Department Ambassador’s program – in which older students can help advise other students on information about majors and minors – and a focus on trying to improve the campus climate at Colgate.
Students on the executive board were also assigned to various semester-long projects. These projects fall under several different categories, including a focus on campus events, transparency, innovation, community and academics. Each project was assigned a point person to spearhead the project.
On Tuesday, October 6, the SGA held another Senate meeting. At this meeting, committees further discussed their projects and any updates that they had. In addition, a presentation was given on Chartwells Dining Services, and Benghiat discussed the budget with the group.
“Due to the Senate and SGA as a whole wanting there to be more financial transparency, I agreed to talk about the annual operating budget as I am a member of the committee for Budget and Financial Planning,” Benghiat said. Benghiat spoke about the school’s budget and the allocations of funds coming from sources like student tuition.
Senate meetings take place on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Persson Hall Auditorium, and any members of the Colgate community who are hoping to learn more about what the SGA is up to are welcome to attend the meeting.