BY LIZ LEWIS ’22
The second Senate meeting of the semester gathered on Tuesday evening in the Blanchard Great Room. Due to the amount of first-years and new senators in the Student Government Association (SGA) at this point in the year, much of the night was dedicated to the basics of how to be a senator and how to handle the responsibilities when the work gets tough. First, however, the Executive Board (E-Board) addressed logistics and announcements.
Per usual, the evening’s agenda began with the town hall portion, in which the representatives of different organizations could voice updates, concerns and announcements brought forth by their constituents. Among the topics mentioned were issues with student parking and the possibility of converting the Morgan Street lot into a full-time student parking area, cross-contamination of gluten-free options in the Dining Commons and the Student Conference Committee (SCC) Survey going live.
Next on the agenda was the official Senate Induction Ceremony, in which students signed a black book with their name and position. Each student was called up individually and presented with a small pin bearing the Mount Holyoke seal.
A significant portion of the night was dedicated to teaching and sharing strategies to maintain self-care and healthy communication while fulfilling the duties of a senator. The E-Board distributed pamphlets on how to write effective emails to constituents, a weekly duty of a club or hall senator.
“You want people to understand that you’re a resource for them, you want them to reach out to you,” Esha Sridhar ’22, E-Board member, said to the crowd of students.
This year, Senate is taking a new organizational direction. Instead of having a town hall meeting every week, as in past years, the SGA board has structured most meetings with built-in working groups of six to eight senators, who sit at the same table. During meetings of these groups, senators will discuss ongoing campus issues that their constituents have raised, with the goal of reaching a consensus on problems deserving focus and their potential solutions. With this new streamlined approach, SGA hopes to increase the participation and influence of individuals at Senate meetings.
Also new this year is a mission to present every SGA goal, motion and plan to Senate before implementation. The E-Board discussed goals and priorities of SGA this year, including communication and transparency, student engagement and bridging the gap between students and administration. On a larger scale, SGA hopes to focus on academic success and stress reduction, personal and financial wellness of students and supporting a thriving campus culture of dialogue.
“You all are as much a part of implementing [these goals] as we are,” Sridhar said in her closing remarks.
There will be voting next week to fill the two new positions of Public Relations Officer and Secretary. Senate meets in the Blanchard Great Room on Tuesdays from 7:30-9 p.m.