Muhlenberg’s Student Government Association (SGA) is bringing back past events and initiatives as well as establishing new ones for this semester. According to the Muhlenberg website, “The Student Government Association is responsible for coordinating the representation of the student body on all institutional, faculty, ad hoc and Board of Trustee committees.” They are expected to be a resource for both student organizations and individual students, to enhance student engagement, to advocate for marginalized identities and to be the voice of the student body overall. SGA’s executive officers, internal committees and representatives all work together to make this happen.
“As treasurer, my personal goals are to spread awareness of the support SGA is capable of giving to organizations through funding,” says Evan Lipman ‘24. Just like last semester, clubs can acquire funding on a request basis by filling out a Student Club and Organization Request for Expense, or a SCORE form. Once this is submitted, the Finance Committee decides whether or not to provide funding with help from SGA. Lipman continues, “I feel that often clubs have great ideas, but don’t pursue them because they feel the financial obstacles are too great.”
“I want clubs to feel they can pursue these ideas and that SGA will help them in any way they can.”Evan Lipman ’24
Last year’s “Tens Across the Board,” a ballroom vogue culture-inspired dance event was a major success as it worked to empower the voices of those who have been historically marginalized in spaces such as Muhlenberg all while promoting inclusivity by educating about several cultural practices. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Chair Matt McCray ‘24, who was behind much of this event’s success, is continuing his efforts to throw events that will amplify marginalized voices. Not only will SGA be throwing a second “Tens Across the Board” due to the response it received from the student body, but is also scheduled to throw its second annual Mule Mitzvah in collaboration with Hillel in a couple of weeks. This will be a celebration modeled after bar/bat mitzvah parties and is yet another event meant to promote inclusivity on campus.
McCray gave the inside scoop regarding more DEIB events, saying “We have our Wild ‘N Out event which is in its finalization phase as we speak. We are bringing two well-known Black comedians that are a part of a show on MTV. This event is in collaboration with Men of Color Network, as we are continuing to push the agenda of collaboration with marginalized individuals and identities on campus… We will have our Diversity Dinner towards the end of the semester as a final celebration in regards to all diversity advances and work we have done thus far throughout the entire year. We plan to get a special guest speaker for the event as well.”
Other initiatives include teaming up with Chief Diversity Officer of Muhlenberg Brooke Vick, Ph.D., to facilitate DEIB training, as well as working with the Office of Multicultural Life and other student affinity groups.
In addition to helping plan campus events and leading fundraising training, Vice President Olivia Tebsherany ‘23 cites the organization’s upcoming Ambassador Program as the one she is most excited for in terms of engagement between SGA and students. “Pioneered by our Recording Secretary Jake Forstein [‘24], the Ambassador Program will delegate SGA representatives to every Muhlenberg student organization on campus so we can have open conversations with student leaders and what they’re looking for from SGA,” she shared. “We’ll be rolling out the program within the next coming weeks, and I for one am so excited about it.”
Tebsherany ‘23 is also responsible for moderating General Assembly meetings and chairing the Standards Committee that amends the organization’s bylaws. These responsibilities allow Tebsherany to provide insight regarding a range of SGA’s goals and ideas for the upcoming semester. She emphasizes how students are not only allowed but highly encouraged to attend both General Assembly meetings and committee meetings. Tebsherany says, “I want to make General Assembly the most welcoming, informative and engaging environment that I can. I would love to see more and more Muhlenberg students at General Assembly each week—answering questions, listening to feedback and providing information are all key facets to being strong representatives and advocates.”