This past semester, there were numerous votes presented before the Student Government Association (SGA) general assembly from different student organizations requesting funds to improve their student group and bring new ideas and experiences to the wider campus community.
Disciple Christian Fellowship (DCF), was given funding for 17 students to go on a retreat in Harrisburg. SGA covered 70 percent of the cost for each individual student, while the students would be responsible for covering the other 30 percent. For nine out of the 17 students that got to attend the conference, it was their first ever DCF retreat. DCF is a Christian campus ministry group based in Pennsylvania, with a chapter at Muhlenberg. According to DCF’s website, their goal is to “raise up the next generation of leaders for the Church by training college students in Bible study, gospel-driven discipleship and evangelism.” DCF is also open to non-Christians who are interested in learning more about Christianity.
Nate Reimer ‘24, president of DCF, gave his account of the weekend, where DCF left campus on Friday afternoon, and returned on Sunday afternoon. Reimer voiced, “At the conference, we are given the opportunity to grow in our relationship with God through large group lessons from the Bible, small group discussions with other students from Muhlenberg and fellowship with all the students from other campuses in different fun activities and events.”
The conference not only provides a transformative experience to students who attended, but also brings back an impact. Reimer detailed, “When we return to campus, we are always refreshed mentally and spiritually to go back to the community and serve others.” DCF typically goes to three to four conferences per year, continuously enriching the experiences of their members, greater Muhlenberg religious life and the entire campus community.
The Perkulators (Perks), Muhlenberg’s jazz dance troupe, petitioned for new uniforms this fall, and were given the needed funds to get 27 new uniforms. The Perks have been a staple of Muhlenberg’s campus since the 1990s. They do numerous performances a semester, and have a maximum of 25 members.
Sam Lipson ‘24, president of The Perks, described the dance troupe. “Perks is a commercial jazz dance team that aims to bring dancers together who have a passion for dancing and performing. We create a community filled with dancers who support and love each other!”
They needed new uniforms, as they’ve had the same ones for over 15 years. Lipson detailed how an alum mentioned that she had been wearing the same uniforms in 2008. There were various complications with the uniforms, all compiling over the years, to the point where new uniforms were a necessity.
Lipson shared the current issues that the Perks were facing from their uniforms. “Our old uniforms were falling apart with linings spread and thread unraveling. Over the many years the team had these uniforms many had been misplaced – we think with COVID there was additional loss. Therefore, not every team member was able to have the same uniform and we lacked enough size diversity to ensure everyone had the proper fit. It was extremely important that everyone on our team currently and any new members that would join would have a properly fitting uniform and one that was in good condition.”
With the new uniforms, The Perks now have the capability to promote diversity within their members, as their new attire is much more size-inclusive. Lipson also details other “perks” of their new uniforms. “Now that we have new uniforms we are all able to look as one collective unit, while feeling comfortable in our clothing. The new uniforms also include a long sleeve that can go under the shell, which allows us to stay warm when we are performing outside in the cold.”
The Perks can perform more comfortably all-year-round, and can keep promoting a love of dance all around campus. From performing at basketball games, to Parents Plaza at Alumni Weekend, to THAW, to the Halloween Dance Team Showcase, The Perkulators are a staple of the Muhlenberg community that carry their love of dance with them in every single performance.
A-Town Records (ATR), is a student organization on campus that provides a myriad of opportunities for student musicians, creators and collaborators. Emma Ash ‘24, ATR’s festival coordinator, touched on ATR’s goals. She described their mission, stating “ATR’s goal as a student-run record label is to foster creation and collaboration between musicians of all genres and backgrounds. We aim to provide student musicians with resources, educational opportunities and creative outlets, and while creating spaces for the student body to participate in music making and/or music enjoyment in formal and informal settings.”
This fall, ATR was given funding for their second-annual Muhlapalooza. Ash, described Muhlapalooza, stating “Muhlapalooza is a music festival that intends to bring students from all parts of campus life together for one night in celebration of music. It is an amalgamation of outside artists, student artists, acapella groups, dance groups, clubs & organizations and student art vendors who populate Seegers during the festival! This year’s Muhlapalooza will be held on April 6th from 4p.m.-11p.m.”
Last year, Muhlapalooza was a huge success, bringing exposure to talented new artists, while also proving to be a valuable experience for the campus community. It was held in the Event Space, and was completely free for all students, making it easily accessible for the entire campus community.
Ash detailed the current status of the Muhlapalooza process, after the SGA budget approval. “The actual General Assembly and vote went smoothly, and the school is finishing up the contracts for lineup for Muhlapalooza!”
The relationship between student organizations and knowledge of Student Government funding is intricate, with varying levels of comprehension throughout the student body. There is a disconnect on campus in the understanding of exactly how Student Government can help fund organizations and their events, conferences and aid in the general support of their advancement.
All full-time students, as part of their tuition, pay the Student Activities Fee. As of Fall 2022, the Student Activities Fee is $142.50 per semester. The Dean of Students Office gets $50 of this funding, and SGA is responsible for allocating the rest. This funding goes to permanent organizations on campus, which includes groups like MCEMS, The Muhlenberg Weekly, WMUH and Muhlenberg Activities Council. Permanent organizations have specific amounts of funding given at the beginning of each semester. The rest of the money from the Student Activity Fee goes to non-permanent organizations, as they request funds throughout the semester, on a basis of need.
As of Spring 2022, the Student Government Association has $51,145 in their General Fund per semester. This General Fund is open to all student organizations on campus, where they can request funds as they see fit for the betterment of their organization. Requests are done through Student Club and Organization Request for Expense (SCORE) forms. If requests are under $1,000, the SGA finance committee will determine the approval of the request. If an organization is requesting over $1,000, they must come to an SGA General Assembly meeting and present their request to all members, where all members of SGA in attendance will vote on the request.
DCF, The Perks and ATR are just a few of the many student organizations that are doing phenomenal work in improving the campus community. These organizations that represent the student body and their own interests are an integral part of Muhlenberg, giving a voice to students and an outlet for their unique passions.