On Wednesday, Jan. 31, Muhlenberg’s Student Government Association (SGA) held a meeting that established four new clubs and a new bylaw that will secure first-year involvement on the council.
During the first two to three weeks of fall semester, SGA plans on holding an election that would be specific to first-years. Instead of removing two current representatives to make space, two seats have been added, increasing SGA membership from 23 to 25. The votes to increase the number of SGA seats and to include first-years were separate, and because the minimum number of people required to make a vote is based on percentages and not a specific number, this change does not alter general proceedings.
Josephine Glass ‘27, one of two first-year representatives on SGA shared her thoughts, saying, “Freshmen representation in SGA is crucial because it ensures that every individual on campus, regardless of their class year, has a voice in the decision-making processes that impact their college experience. This newly introduced bylaw is a significant step towards inclusivity, guaranteeing that the concerns and perspectives of freshmen are taken into account. The presence of freshmen in the SGA will have a positive impact on the future of the organization by allowing a fresh perspective and fostering a more dynamic and representative student government.”
SGA Vice President Andrew Buckwalter ‘24 also advised incoming first-years to “Come in with big ideas! If you experienced something in high school and think Muhlenberg would benefit, suggest it! If you see something you don’t like, try to change it! Be loud and unafraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Also, if you are not elected in your first campaign, please run again! There will always be more elections and more seats up to be filled. Many current members, including our current president, were not elected their first time running.”
Buckwalter also stressed the financial implications of the new bylaw vote, saying, “I believe this is important because first-years represent about one fourth of the student body and for an entire semester they had no representation on SGA. Part of SGA’s responsibility is to oversee the dispersal of the student activities fee which every student has to pay. By not having a voice in this process, it is effectively taxation without representation.”
In addition to passing the new bylaws, SGA also approved four clubs: Young Poets Society, Muhlenberg’s The Improv Club (TIC), fiBERG Arts and BergImmersive, which all touch on different artistic outlets. Young Poets Society aims to erase some of the stigma around poetry, specifically through creating a free and safe space where writers don’t feel pressured to share their work aloud. Weekly meetings will involve discussing poets and their poetry and providing prompts for writers to use as inspiration. The club plans to collaborate with other organizations across campus and events like poetry speed dating and anonymous poetry night are currently in the making.
Muhlenberg’s TIC is throwing their hat into the improv ring, creating a safe environment on campus where auditions are not necessary to enjoy improv games and activities. TIC currently has a program with enACT, and hopes to differentiate themselves from other improv groups by stressing that no auditions are necessary to join.
fiBERG Arts noticed the campus trend of crocheting and knitting and wanted to create a space where newcomers and pros alike can come together to create. Newbies can come to learn how to knit and/or crochet, and entrepreneurs can utilize the space to help their business.
BergImmersive is an emerging immersive theater company, hoping to continue the success of their fall semester production, “Love in Idleness.” Because of the positive support from the community, they hope to continue putting together productions with rotating casts and crews each semester. Focusing on classical adaptations of theater, BergImmersive is intent on ensuring the safety of both their actors and audience by appointing an intimacy coordinator for every production. In terms of overlap with the Muhlenberg Theatre Association, BergImmersive plans to implement similar policies wherein students cannot overbook themselves. The club also hopes to provide a space where students who have not had the opportunity to be involved in other campus productions have the ability to participate in theater.