SGA Update

By Will Schwartz

The Student Government Association (SGA) announced at their meeting on Jan. 27 that they had received 1,295 student responses on their survey dealing with campus life, sent out in an all-student email during the second week of winter term.

SGA President Charlie Arnowitz ’13 was pleased with the response rate.

“We were very happy with participation in the survey,” wrote Arnowitz in an email. “We met our goal of reaching half of the student body. As a result of this critical mass, we’re finding that it is providing us with very useful data.”

A concern brought up during the meeting was that female students were overrepresented among those who completed the survey. An additional concern was a low participation rate among varsity athletes. Varsity athletes make up about 33 percent of the student population, but only 18 percent of survey participants stated that they were varsity athletes.

The survey results will be shared with the student body at some point this year.

After the discussion about the survey, someone raised a concern about the availability of newspapers on campus. An ultimate decision was reached that while there may be a shortage of newspapers in print for students to pick up, any student can access the New York Times online by going to the link go/nytpass.

Then the Mid-Year Treasurer’s Report was presented to the SGA. At this time last year, the SGA had $180,000 budgeted to student organization planning, but the budget has decreased to $70,000 this year.

It was announced that student organizations no longer have to go to the finance committee to review spending. Old Chapel has helped take some of the financial burden off of the SGA to avoid a skyrocketing student activities fee. Had Old Chapel not provided financial support, the student activity fee was potentially going to be raised $60, but due to financial intervention, it will only go up $15.

By reducing overlaps in groups, the SGA was able to slash spending and still allocate $47,328.45 to 36 new clubs. The Committee expects to be working with a $1.1 million budget and maintain a small surplus. The SGA voted unanimously to approve the report.

At their meeting on Feb. 17, the SGA discussed the administration’s consideration in ending their practice of distributing free yearbooks to all graduating students. In the financial report presented by the SGA treasury, it was stated that potential reform on this issue could save the College around $50,000.

Every NESCAC College, except Bowdoin, provides a free yearbook to graduates. Bowdoin provides a PDF copy of the yearbook to all graduating students.

The SGA was then informed that pub nights in McCullough have not been very successful, with only 400 beers being sold over six nights. If pub nights do not yield more financial success, they are unlikely to remain.

Arnowitz hopes to continue pub nights, as he believes it could be a successful way to foster community on campus.

“I strongly believe that serving alcoholic beverages in an adult setting is a key component of both teaching responsible drinking behaviors and creating a healthier social scene on campus,” said Arnowitz. “I’m hoping that we continue to provide programming for the space to draw students in and help make that vision a reality.”
Senators Killian Naylor ’14.5, Will Potter ’14.5, Christian Holmes ’14 and Rachel Liddell ’15 presented their sponsored bill titled “Feb Senator Reform Act of 2013.” This act will reform Feb representation in the SGA.

Each class is currently represented in the SGA with two class senators and a single Feb senator. The proposed bill will exclude Febs from class elections in exchange for a second Feb senator.

Naylor explained the importance of the bill to allow equivalent Feb and September-entry student representation in the SGA.

“There was a problem of overrepresentation in the SGA,” wrote Naylor in an email. “With this bill, we hope to strike a balance in [SGA] representation. This was not a serious problem, but it should help define and clarify constituencies moving forward.”

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