As a new semester begins, members of the Student Government Association (SGA) are looking forward to hearing more student voices. “As each year has gone on,” Director of Communications Margery Leit ‘24 recalls, “I have seen this campus open up and display so much creativity and passion from students, and each year I get so excited to see what is going to be the new thing for our campus.”
SGA is aiming to increase transparency with the student body by encouraging communication with non-SGA members. One of SGA’s plans for this semester includes an edit to the bylaws to “allow non-member students to co-chair some of [SGA’s] ad hoc committees,” as described by Vice President Andrew Buckwalter ‘24. Support for affinity groups and the Office of Multicultural Life are expected to be increased over the next two semesters in order to ensure Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging practices to become general knowledge for all campus community members.
More campus outreach campaigns are expected in the near future following the success of “A More Accessible Muhlenberg,” with SGA hoping to create conversations between students and faculty about improving accessibility on campus. SGA’s Instagram account, @bergstudentgov, is also planning to increase activity, with the goal to “spotlight different areas of campus,” described Leit. Along with an Instagram account, an SGA TikTok account is being planned, hoping to show off “more of a close-up and fun side [of SGA],” according to Leit.
There are also plans to increase support for student organizations. One of these changes includes switching to a new system that would allow club approvals twice a semester, a significant overhaul compared to the previous once-a-week practice. In exchange, the process to get a club approved is intended to be made “more organized and concise,” as described by Campus Engagement Chair Aidan Silvestri ‘25. “We hope that this will allow more time for proposals to come with specific intentions for their proposed club and to garner more interest while their plans are developing,” President Jake Forestein ‘24 shared. Silvestri similarly shared that these changes would help student organizations by making sure “we are giving [club proposals] the time, energy and resources they deserve.” Currently, the dates for the general meetings to approve club proposals are Sept. 20 and Nov. 8.
There are additional plans to change the current process to request funds to make it simpler. In order to help new student organization leaders, a weekly support group for club presidents is also currently being set up. This support network is intended to give both experienced and new student leaders a chance to talk with each other about the difficult task of running a student club, and exchange advice with one another. This support group is scheduled to launch at the end of the month. Other popular events, including the annual Udder Bar Challenge, are expected to make a return this year after fielding large turnouts the past two years.
Several SGA members are optimistic to be working with the community and each other. “I’ve already felt how passionate everyone else is about their work and it inspires me to continue further with mine,” explained Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Chair Bethany Qian ‘25.
“Being a committee member and being able to hear more holistically about our community’s lived experience taught me so much about what it means to be a good community member and I feel so lucky that I get to continue facilitating positive and improved experiences in this leadership role,” remarked Silvestri.
“The current group of SGA representatives are absolutely fantastic. They are all so passionate and excited, and it just fills me with hope for a great year ahead,” Forestein noted. “Everyone is bringing ideas to the table, regardless of class year, position or experience level, which is exactly what SGA needed[…]I’m really looking forward to seeing the growth of our individual representatives and to see what our greater community achieves in the year ahead.”