SGA reflects on the fall semester

Members of the Student Government Association look back on accomplishments as the semester comes to a close.

The SGA is holding elections to fill some spots for next semester. Photo courtesy of Ben Eber '23.

As the semester draws to a close, The Weekly checked in with the Student Government Association (SGA) to hear their reflections on the past few months and what they are looking forward to in the future. SGA President Zaire Carter ‘22 stated, “I believe that the visibility of SGA has increased and students know more about who we are. That is such a major accomplishment for SGA. Historically, SGA has been an organization that has been hidden and not very active within the community, nor did it have a tremendous impact on the student experience… I always wanted to make SGA more transparent and more accessible to students. I’m not saying we’ve fully accomplished it, but I do believe that we are definitely going in that direction.”

Other members agreed and commented on their specific contributions. Jason Ivey ‘23 is campus engagement committee chair and a member of the College Committee on Campus Life (CCCL), which communicated with the Housing and Residence Life staff  “on the prospect of faculty involvement in the residence halls/residential curriculum in order to strengthen the bonds between students and staff.” The group went over the “right to dissent policy.” Ivey outlined the goal of the policy, saying that it “is intended to clarify students’ right to demonstrate, protect students who are demonstrating, provide transparency with respect to the College’s response should it be necessary and ensure the continued operations of the College. The policy has been worked on by multiple College committees and students over the past few years.” He concluded his discussion stating, “This month the committee will be discussing mental health issues on campus and learning more about the ways CCCL can support the College’s partnership with the JED Foundation around support for mental health and suicidality on campus.”

SGA Representative Noah Berger ‘24 joined the Curriculum Committee this fall, during which he stated that their focus was mainly on Integrative Learning courses, or ILs. “[The Committee] discussed a variety of different topics. At the beginning of the semester, we discussed new courses that were proposed by faculty members. As the semester progressed, the committee recognized that there was a significant need for an increase in IL courses for the spring semester. While the Curriculum Committee worked to increase the amount of ILs for the spring semester, our work was not done when registration concluded. The Curriculum Committee will continue to work to ensure we have a wide variety of course offerings for students.”

 I always wanted to make SGA more transparent and more accessible to students. I’m not saying we’ve fully accomplished it, but I do believe that we are definitely going in that direction.

Zaire Carter ’22

Paige Weisburg ‘23, SGA Representative, “was placed on [the] Academic Policy Committee this year as a student voice for the faculty to get a student perspective as well as to provide SGA with what faculty committees are working on that affects the lives of students.” According to Weisburg, while the Curriculum Committee focused on ILs, the Academic Policy Committee focused on “the new objective of Race and Power. It has been really interesting to have a look inside at how the administration runs and give my personal feelings about the way the school handles or wants to go about handling issues that the committee deals with on campus. I have enjoyed hearing perspective[s] from departments I don’t typically interact with and it has made me more comfortable interacting with faculty.” Race and Power is a new General Academic Requirement that the College is planning to implement in the future.

SGA’s Executive Secretary Allison Mintz ‘23 is on SGA’s Executive Board this semester. According to Mintz, the group “meets with President [Kathleen] Harring and Dean [of Students Allison] Williams once a month to catch up and get on the same page about student and faculty initiatives and happenings in the following weeks.” She outlined the primary focuses of the committee saying, “Last month, one of our main topics of conversation was the Boundless Campaign and how we could increase student involvement and excitement for the inauguration.” Mintz along with several other SGA representatives is also on a faculty-led committee known as the Institutional Research Board (or IRB) led by Assistant Professor of Biology Giancarlo Cuadra, Ph.D.. She stated the board’s purpose saying, “Any scholastic research involving human subjects or information collection at the College must go through a thorough institutional review that focuses on fair treatment and informed consent, among other things.”

Keeping students at the center of our decision making process is crucial to the work that we do within SGA.

Zaire Carter ’22

As for the future, Carter said, “There isn’t just one thing I am excited about… I think most of all, I want to continue to connect with students, with whatever it is that we do. I look forward to continuing to support students, whether that be by advertising their events, helping them plan events, funding for programming or ideas that they might have that we can take to the administration. Keeping students at the center of our decision making process is crucial to the work that we do within SGA.”

Carter is also the first Black student body president that the College has ever had. When asked about the attention garnered from this title, Carter stated, “Luckily for me, I love attention! In terms of the attention that I receive, it is quite humbling. I’m hoping that students who follow me, especially Black and brown students, feel empowered to get involved. That doesn’t necessarily mean Student Government, but anywhere around campus. I hope they know that this school is theirs. I also believe it helps students reach out if they have questions about planning events or about issues that are concerning them. The amount of students who have reached out to me personally about things, means that I am doing my job. My title is student body president, which means my first responsibility and obligation to all of the students. In my mind, the more attention and visibility I receive means more students reach out, and the more students that reach out, the more resources I am able to provide to them.”

He concluded by highlighting, “On a more personal note, I love this job. It is truly the best job I’ve ever had. I am constantly reminded by how much of a privilege it is to serve our community. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tremendous amount of work, but I love and cherish every second of it. I hope when students look back on my presidency, I hope they are able to see someone who wanted to put them first and truly work for them. I hope they see someone who they can confide in and talk to. Someone who they could vent to, but also rely on them when they needed support. Being the first Black student body president reminds me just how far we’ve made it, but also just how far we have to go. While it is an honor and it is a privilege to be the first, it should not have taken until 2021 until that happened. Muhlenberg was founded in 1848. But rest assured, we are certainly on the right track. And for that, I am grateful that I am one small piece in the path to progress.”

Katie is a Media & Communication and Political Science double major in the class of 2024. When she's not working on the paper you can find her blasting Taylor Swift, reading Jane Austen, or crying over Little Women (2019).

Ally is a senior English major with minors in creative writing and French. If she's not writing, which she usually is, she's probably drinking iced coffee, struggling to keep her plants alive or finishing books just so she can update her Goodreads account.


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