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The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Future SGA Cabinet begins laying its foundation

There are fewer than 50 days left until the end of the school year, and the future members of next year’s SGA cabinet have begun to wet their feet in the often complex game of Grinnell student governance.

With the positions of President, Vice President of Student Affairs and Vice President Academic Affairs filled by Harry Krejsa ’10, Ben Offenberg ’11 and Joanna Demars ’10 respectively in last month’s election, and current Assistant Treasurer Cyrus Witthaus ’10 in place to take on the position of Treasurer, next year’s Cabinet has begun to sift through the applications for the remaining six positions.

The remaining spots on cabinet are Administrative Coordinator (AC), Films Chair, Concerts Chair, Service Coordinator, Assistant Treasurer, and All Campus Events Coordinator.

In a departure from previous years’ processes, the position of AC, who is responsible for drafting agendas for meetings, serving on election board and other administrative duties, will be filled before the other applications are looked at. This move was made so that the AC would have a voice in the formation of the cabinet it will oversee, Krejsa said.

In addition, those who apply for AC are often interested in other, more specific cabinet positions, such as Films or Concerts. Under the new process, Krejsa said that the applicants who are not nominated for AC will likely apply for other positions.
Krejsa said the decision for who will be AC would likely be made today, in order to fully involve the student in the cabinet selection process, which will begin this Sunday.

“Previously people have wanted to apply for both AC and something else, because AC is a more overarching kind of job, and the other Cabinet positions are a narrow kind of job,” Krejsa said. “They might want to apply for that first, before they apply for another. So we wanted to give them that option.”

While Cabinet positions are being filled, Krejsa said he is thinking about a new technology position, which will cover areas regarding SGA’s implementation and maintenance of tools such as GoogleDocs and instituting the organization’s website. Offenberg compared the position to the current role of the SGA posterer, who receives an hourly compensation from SGA but is not considered a full Cabinet member.

“We’ve been tossing around the idea of a sort of ‘SGA tech advisor’ whose position in SGA would be like the Presiding Officer,” Krejsa said. “They would have very distinct and narrow duties, such as managing the website, helping us better use PioneerWeb—if you think it’s confusing now, try running an election through it—and things like that.”

Beyond simply changing the process of applying to Cabinet and SGA positions, Krejsa and his team have already begun to incorporate notions of a government “philosophy” into discussion of their future plans.

“The four of us and [Assistant Director of Residence Life, Loosehead RLC and SGA Advisor] Kim Hinds-Brush locked ourselves
away in the JRC for seven or eight hours on the Tuesday of the second week of break and basically plotted out what kind of Cabinet we wanted to have,” Krejsa said.

Talk has largely centered around the idea of striking a balance between student perceptions of 07-08’s former SGA President Megan Goering’s ’08 cabinet and this year’s cabinet under President Neo Morake ’09.

The administrations of Goering and Morake have often been contrasted insofar as their method of governance, and have been referenced as aggressive and passive, respectively. In an S&B article from January 23, 2009, Former Loosehead Senator Phil Hagen ’10 said, “a lot of people really didn’t like last year—they thought it was too aggressive and too contentious. The cabinet came in saying they were going to be a different SGA than last year.”

The Cabinet-elect has talked to previous members stretching back to former SGA President Chris Hall ’07 in hopes of assembling a cabinet of students that have a balance of experience and an appropriate “demeanor,” according to Krejsa.

Hinds-Brush will also play an important role in acclimating the new Cabinet to their positions. “She’s seen three Cabinets and has a pretty good idea of what kind of approaches have worked in the past and what kinds of approaches have not worked in the past,” Krejsa said.

The upcoming Cabinet has said they have dedicated a large amount of time to observing and interacting with current SGA members and the administration in an attempt to minimize the time it takes to adapt to SGA demands next year.

“I’ve been shadowing [current VPAA] Julie Hoye ’09 all year,” Demars said. “So I am on all the committees that I’m allowed to be on with her, and I’ve scheduled private committee meetings with her and some academic officials.”

The process of acclimating themselves for their duties as cabinet members, coupled with sifting through applications and interviews from potential cabinet members, has been a bigger time commitment than expected, Demars said.

“I’m a little overwhelmed, I’m going to be honest with you. The interview process and the application process is a lot bigger of a time commitment than I thought it would be,” Demars said. “But I’m not worried at all about next year.”

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