SGA WEEKLY: Ways to Get Involved & Voice Your Opinions

By JIN SOHN, SGA President

Dear MiddKids,

This past Sunday in the Cabinet and Senate we discussed the same topics, so I’ll be sharing updates from both meetings together. They were both long meetings, so buckle in!

1. Topic of the Week: SGA has started a Topic of the Week, where SGA Senators work to prioritize student engagement and opinion on one topic each week. This week’s topic is on the “Support of Action Against Systematic, Institutional Racism Resulting in Gun Violence” and “Support of Middlebury Students Against Gun Violence” (both bills further explained below). So please reach out to your student representative on this topic and voice your thoughts!

2. SGA Elections are in full swing; be on the lookout for campaigns and be sure to vote April 19–20. Presidential and Community Co-Chair Debates will be the evening of April 18 — more details to come. Be sure to stop by and hear what the candidates have to say!

3. Staff Appreciation Day is April 30! There will be many ways to get involved including thank you video submissions, poster notes and more. Check your emails for more information from SGA and get involved at go/thankyoustaff. And remember to thank staff everyday, not just on Staff Appreciation Day; they do so much for us.

4. “Student–Trustees Representation and Engagement Bill”: This bill was passed in the Senate on Sunday. The bill seeks to expand the Student Constituent Overseer position from one student representative to two student representatives with overlapping terms, and from one year terms to two year terms with voting power. Further, the bill asks for a student representative per Trustee Committee, essentially taking the only current SLSEA position for the Resources Committee and replicating it for all the other Trustee Standing Committees including Prudential, Programs, Risk, Strategy, and Trusteeship and Governance. Lastly, the bill calls for a revamping of the Middlebury College Trustees website to better explain the current structure and goals of the Trustees. Next, this bill will be passed to the Trusteeship and Governance Committee for discussion and implementation. We are hoping to engage more students with the Trustees in the month of May with their final meeting for the 2017–2018 academic year. There will be more information to come on this!

5. “Resolution in Support of Action Against Systematic, Institutional Racism Resulting in Gun Violence” and “Resolution in Support of Middlebury Students Against Gun Violence” were discussed in tandem. The SGA is hoping to find ways to provide support beyond statements and toward action. There are many things that both resolutions recommend, but a bulk of the Senate conversation revolved around the first resolution mentioned above. This resolution proposes donating leftover funds from the SGA budget at the end of the 2017–2018 academic year to local and national organizations that are working for this cause. Unfortunately, this goes against college policy; student organizations aren’t allowed to use their funds to directly donate to outside organizations. The SGA is looking at other options, such as creating fundraising avenues for individual donations, and would love to hear other ideas from you. An ad-hoc committee was created at the Senate meeting, and the SGA will continue to work on this moving forward. For more information, the main contact for this initiative is SGA Deputy Chief of Staff, Annie Cowan.

6. “Academic Credit for Summer Unpaid Internships”: This bill was introduced to the Senate this past Sunday. The bill seeks to address international students’ current situation with internship opportunities. Members of the international student community attended the meeting to share their personal stories and support for the bill. The SGA will continue working on this initiative next week. For more information, the main contact for this initiative is SGA junior senator Kailash Pandey.

7. “Terms of Commons Senators”

This bylaws amendment resolution was also introduced in the Senate this past Sunday and proposed a change to the terms of Commons Senators from a yearly basis to a semesterly basis. The amendment was passed by a majority, but as per the SGA Constitution, bylaws amendments require a two-week process so the vote was void. The SGA is hoping to return to the bylaws amendment next week, but won’t be able to put this into effect for the upcoming election. For more information the main contacts for this initiative are SGA Sophomore Senator Varsha Vijayakumar and Wonnacott Senator Anthony Salas.

8. Spring Finals Week Library 24/7 Hours: For this upcoming spring semester finals week, the Davis Family Library is not able to financially fund the library for 24/7 hours. The library collected data that shows only a small percentage of the student body used the 24/7 library hours during late nights and early mornings (1 a.m. – 7 a.m.) of the fall semester finals week. We need your help in providing student sentiments and student-driven data about library 24/7 hours during finals week. So please fill out the survey at go/library24/7 to voice your opinions!

As always, all past and current bills (even the ones mentioned above) can be accessed at go/sga under Weekly Updates and/or Archives. Please continue to reach out to your respective Senators or to SGA with any questions, concerns, or comments. Thanks for staying engaged!

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