Right when the second semester began, an exciting email was sent to every Muhlenberg student stating that the Appropriate Attire Policy for users of the Life Sports Center had been updated and would be in effect immediately.
The policy change was recommended by the Student Government Association and was approved by President William’s staff. The new dress code allows Life Sports Center users to wear a tank top, an article of clothing that was previously forbidden in the fitness center of the Life Sports Center. In an elated response to the new policy change, the Student Government Association celebrated the new policy change by hosting a Free the Shoulder Bash, an event where SGA members gave away free food and tank tops that depicted the phrase “Free the Shoulder” in front of Memorial Hall during both the women’s and men’s basketball games against Franklin & Marshall.
Sporting the tank tops, SGA members enthusiastically encouraged passers-by to pick up a free the shoulder tank top. SGA Vice President Christian Balodis exclaimed that the event “has been extremely successfully and we have given away 400 of the 500 tank tops in the first hour of the event and we are expecting the remaining 100 tank tops to leave the table quickly.” When asked about why the SGA decided to celebrate the event with the Free the Shoulder Bash, Balodis explained, “since joining the Student Government Association, rewriting the Life Sports Center dress code policy was a priority because many students voiced their unhappiness about the policy. Now that [the] policy has changed we can celebrate a policy change that has satisfied the student body.”
One of the Muhlenberg faculty members that collaborated with the SGA in changing the dress code policy was Dean of Students Allison Gulati. When Gulati attended the SGA’s retreat after the start of the school year she noted that “they [SGA] brought this forward to me as an issue they really wanted to continue to tackle but felt like they hadn’t gotten the traction they needed.” When working with SGA on rewriting the dress code policy, Gulati explained the process of how the policy was changed:
“I helped by determining what the proper channels were for them to go through to have their proposed changes considered. We met and talked about their rationale for a policy change and then I convened the proper college committees to meet with them for discussions. After that meeting, the two committees endorsed the idea and I was able to take it to the senior staff of the college for discussion and a decision. After we had a discussion, the senior staff agreed to SGA’s proposed policy change. Corey Goff (Director of Athletics) and I then worked to take the necessary steps to put the new policy into practice at the Life Sports Center.”
Gulati also commended the efforts made by the SGA to rewrite the dress code policy stating that “I think the senior staff of the college and the two supporting college committees of faculty and staff were impressed by the amount of research SGA had done on the topic to build their rationale for change. They also approached it with me as a partnership from the beginning which helped to move things along quickly.”
As for attendees of the event, many expressed how thankful they were about the policy change and were happy to receive the free tank top from those who helped make this policy change possible. Josh Herman ‘19 noted that the time and location of the event was well planned, “I came out to check the score of the basketball games and the event looked intriguing so I did not hesitate to grab a free tank top.”
Overall, the Free the Shoulder Bash had a tremendous turnout and the SGA was very grateful about the support they received from the student body, who helped push for the policy change and came out to grab a free tank top and some snacks to express their gratitude.