The most recent Student Government Association (SGA) general assembly meeting on Nov. 8 included various club approvals and new ideas for how to improve campus. The meeting began with general reports from each position on the executive board, followed by a discussion of a Campus Health Day being held next semester for the well-being of the students. President Jake Forstein ‘23 noted that the executive board met with Dean Williams and President Harring to extend invites for both the annual diversity dinner and the upcoming SGA town hall.
The first club discussion was MESA, or the Middle Eastern Student Association. MESA is designed as an affinity group for Middle Eastern students on campus to create a fun and supportive environment. The organization has goals to host various speakers and hold fundraisers to support the club and its members. MESA is created to be an outlet for others to learn more about Middle Eastern culture in a respectful space. Discourse arose regarding the group being perceived as a Palestinian advocacy group, however, MESA would be open to discussions with other groups on campus with other viewpoints. The organization’s Instagram profile was also brought into question, with their appearance on Instagram not necessarily aligning with what was discussed, with a Palestinian flag and the words “I stand with Palestine” as their profile picture. The general assembly found it difficult to understand whether MESA is an advocacy group or an affinity association due to their Instagram profile being perceived as contradicting their goal of an inclusive environment. The vote was postponed to a later week so that SGA could better understand MESA’s mission and goals.
The next club up for approval was the Latin-American and Caribbean dance group. The club aims to serve as an affinity group to showcase Latin American and Caribbean cultures and teach community members about Latin American and Caribbean dance culture and have its members perform dances. Conversations around the heritage, traditions and history of this region’s dance culture will be held frequently. The club was approved.
Voguress, a student fashion club, was presented next, planning to serve as a space for students to freely express themselves through fashion and learn from one another. Voguress hopes to host fashion shows, presentations about cultural fashion, presentations from designers and clothing upcycling initiatives. A recent Google Form showed 21 students are already interested in the club, with one student of Japanese descent, in particular, wanting to focus on cultural clothing from Asia. The club hopes to apply this similar train of thought to many other cultures in the near future. Voguress also plans to host trips to local thrift stores and a get-together to celebrate the launch of the club. The club was approved.
The Harry Potter Club was next in line, aiming to create an environment surrounding the Harry Potter series via movie showings and discussions between fans of the franchise. With ten students already showing interest in the club, the meetings will be based on their interests. It was remarked that the club seemed loose with few foundational structures in place such as an executive board or goals for the future. The club acknowledged that J.K. Rowling has become a controversial figure in recent years, but assured representatives that they would be strictly focused on Harry Potter and keep her views separate. The club was approved.
The last club to be presented was the Badminton Club. This club would give students a space to play and learn more about the sport. The high equipment expenses include rackets, shuttlecocks and nets. The club would function similarly to Intramural Soccer and Volleyball, with weekly meetings in a welcoming environment. The club was approved.
Aside from club proposals, new ideas for the campus improvement project were proposed. The top priority ideas included ice machines for dorms on campus, new furniture in dorm lounges and a bus running to and from Bethlehem on the weekends. The bus idea came with concerns regarding the one-time drop-off and pick-up schedule and the responsibility of intoxicated students. Lower priority ideas included the installation of a central firepit, closed caption machines for campus events, a ramen, udon and pho machine such as the Yo Kai Express and printers in residence halls.
Additional reporting by Evan Schlotterbeck ‘25.