SGA President Matt Ford Discusses Organization’s Triumphs of Past Year

Amanda Golden

This year’s Student Government Association (SGA) worked to improve student life at Colgate through implementing progressive changes to better reflect the needs and interests of the community at large. On March 26, the SGA hosted the Spring 2013 State of the Association address and forum to reflection on both the Spring 2013 semester as well as the status of the association overall based on the events of the year. With exams fast approaching, both administrative student leaders and the general community continue to reflect on the ways in which Colgate has changed and strived to become better.

With concluding remarks, Student Body President senior Matt Ford addressed the crowd.

“In the fall semester, the SGA was proud to announce that the state of the association was good,” Ford said. “I’m pleased to report that it has improved since then. We have made great strides towards goals set at the beginning of the year, accomplishing many, and with a great deal of additional action taken to improve student life at Colgate.”

Ford then proceeded to outline a number of significant changes made throughout the 2012-2013 school year. These included flags that have been put up in Frank Dining Hall, reflecting the different nationalities of Colgate students, a re-writing by junior Sam Flood of the Constitution and Bylaws with gender neutral pronouns to reflect the diversity of gender identity within our student body, senior Joe Trapp representing student interests at the Sasaki and Campus Master Planning Committee meetings through the past year and Dean Kim Taylor expanding the Medical Amnesty program to allow students to seek medical attention under any circumstances without fear of discipline. Other notable highlights of the year, which Ford mentioned, included Konosioni and the Senior Class Council establishing the new tradition of the Senior Ball, junior Danielle Scheer’s Free Food Calendar becoming a big hit among hungry students while also leading to higher attendance at academic events and sophomore Viktor Mak and the Travel Agency successfully organizing cheap transportation to and from Syracuse Airport around the past few breaks.

“In addition to these actions, we’ve been able to improve other aspects of both our governance and student life,” Ford said. “In response to concerns about the diversity of our Budget Allocations Committee, we intensely advertised available positions in the fall. With our largest ever applicant pool, the BAC has become a diverse and representative organization capable of objective allocation to any group on campus.”

Ford also spoke about the two branches of the Student Government that currently exist. These are the Executive Board, which is run by Ford and Trapp, and then the Senate, which this year set itself the goal of improving both its influence and participation.

“To this end, we are reducing the number of Senators from 48 to 40 in the fall, and have already seen increased enthusiasm as a result,” Ford said. “Most importantly, the Senate has discovered the power of the Resolution, by which they can vote to endorse a sentiment with the weight of the entire student body. Some excellent examples of this include the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer bias incident, in which the Senate passed a Resolution condemning acts of hate and intolerance, an Outdoor Graduation Resolution, which aimed to make the location of graduation dependent on the weather and conditions of the grounds, the Dance Resolution, which endorsed the efforts of students to create a Dance Minor at Colgate and the Spring Party Weekend (SPW) Resolution, which established the Persson steps as the site of this year’s SPW concerts. The Senate also voted to endorse the efforts of several members of the E-Board and Senate as we work towards a refinement of the Events Registration Policy and Alcohol Policy.”

Ford noted that himself, along with senator junior James Speight and Senior Policy Coordinator senior Ali Berkman, have continued to work with members of the administration to review both of the policies, which they feel have become outdated and no longer reflect the reality of the social culture on Colgate’s campus.

“In conjunction with a variety of students, in and out of the SGA, we have drafted a proposal, drawing on the ResLife proposal, that will serve as the basis for the new policies,” Ford said.

Ford wrapped up his remarks commenting on the remaining tasks for the academic year. He shared that a “Know Your Rights” pamphlet is currently underway, which will be a pamphlet containing information about how to interact with Campus Safety and Hamilton Police in the event of an encounter. Additionally, he shared that Hamilton Business Alliance discount cards are ready for the fall semester, and a push for more Parker Commons Parties for the following school year.

“As I said earlier, the state of our association is good,” Ford said. “However, I feel this does not fully reflect how successful this year’s SGA has been, as we have laid stones upon which future incarnations of the Association will step. In addition to all of the fantastic work above, we have shored up our Constitution and Bylaws to ensure that future generations of SGAers can benefit from the combined experience of everyone in this room. It has been, and remains, an honor to lead this organization, but the contributions from each and every student in the Student Government have guided Colgate towards a greater experience for everyone.”

Ford feels that this year for SGA was productive and positive.

“In my eyes the year was a fantastic success,” Ford said. “In addition to accomplishing many of our goals, we were able to revamp the Senate, strengthen our relationships with the school, and (most importantly) solidify the structure of the SGA for future generations of students.”

In the Spring 2013 State of the Association address, class presidents from each year’s class councils delivered prepared remarks, addressing an audience that consisted primarily of senators and administrators, with a generous handful of other students present. The forum, which was monitored by Student Body Vice President senior Joe Trapp, allowed each grade to reflect on what went well and what still has work to be done.

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