The Student Government Association (SGA) conducted a special election to fill five vacant representative positions for next semester. Representatives serve as a voice for the student body and are expected to address the concerns of their peers and implement changes accordingly. Eight candidates ran for representative office and were invited to speak at the SGA General Assembly meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 30, where they suggested improvements that they would be interested in facilitating if nominated to the position. Several candidates mentioned similar areas for improvement, highlighting some general feedback students have on how Muhlenberg can be made the best that it can be. The candidates included Vish Dsouza ‘26, Nya Johnson ‘23, Matthew Klinger ‘24, Margery Leit ‘24, Emmy Lin ‘26, Sabeen Safi ‘26, Joey Wolf ‘25 and Grace Zarrilli ‘26.
“As part of SGA, I want to be the voice for those unheard people and become an agent of change for them, so that we together can build an inclusive community where more people can share the feeling of being expressed and of being more valued and empowered,” said Dsouza, who called attention to the subject of inclusivity that many candidates focused in on. Candidates also offered concrete ideas for programs the SGA could facilitate to promote inclusivity. This included Wolf’s suggestion to post all religious holidays on the academic calendar so clubs can alter scheduling for all to participate. Zarrelli’s hope that SGA will continue planning events that represent and amplify the voices of distinct cultures and Klinger’s wish to counter polarization by creating more spaces for students to engage in dialogue with one another and learn about different perspectives. Leit, who served as a representative last spring before going abroad, promised the continuation of the period pilot program in Seegers Union that provides students with menstrual care products. Johnson stated, “I also saw an opportunity to have more representation of different people’s backgrounds and minorities within the SGA because it’s important to be able to have a holistic experience of what it’s like to be at Muhlenberg and having more people of color involved in those kinds of areas is really important to me,” suggesting that the need for both inclusivity and diversity inspired some candidates to be a voice for everyone on campus.
“I want to be the voice for those unheard people and become an agent of change for them, so that we together can build an inclusive community where more people can share the feeling of being expressed and of being more valued and empowered”Vish Dsouza ’26
Two topics also heavily touched upon during this semester’s special election included aiding students with mental health and stress, as well as involving the Muhlenberg community with the inner workings of SGA with reforms such as increased social media presence and tabling. Johnson’s statement was about the pressure that comes with attending college, such as “expecting you to do a bunch of different clubs and activities and all these organizations but also to be mentally healthy” led to her assertion that “supporting a system that actually supports the students is really important.” Wolf expressed his plans to implement a system where volunteers could bring meals from the dining hall to those who are not feeling well enough to go in person, and Klinger shared a plan to bring back “breathing days” where students have off from classes and no assignments are due. Klinger believes doing so will help to create “an open dialogue between students and the College administration about student workload and stress [that] would be important for having the needs of the students met and their voices heard.”
On the topic of student involvement in SGA, Safi stated, “If SGA became more active on social media or communicated the projects they’re working on, it can help grow engagement and create a larger sense of community. Even if these projects are incomplete or a work in progress. I think students should know that SGA is doing work for them.” Dsouza emphasized the importance of “Making my fellow mates feel that every minute concern of theirs matters [and] isn’t burdening or obligatory for me,” which further encourages the SGA to increase its contact with the student body. Other ideas from the candidates included Safi’s idea to partner with local schools and the community to promote school spirit and involvement, Klinger’s plan to pay students more for on-campus jobs and Lin’s plan to promote better access to resources for both individuals and clubs.
Polls opened on Friday, Dec. 2, and the student body had 24 hours to vote for their representatives. The winners include: Margery Leit ‘24, Sabeen Safi ‘26, Vish Dsouza ‘26, Matthew Klinger ‘24, and Nya Johnson ‘23.
Additional Reporting by Lily Safran