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SGA Pres. reviews achievements, spring plans

On Tuesday evening in Lyle’s Pub, SGA President Opeyemi Awe ’15 gave the second State of the College address of the school year. In her address, Awe emphasized the collective responsibilities of self-governance and the need for students to turn ideas into actions.   

Awe began by having SGA cabinet members, all of whom were in attendance, introduce themselves.  Awe then reminded the crowd of SGA’s 2014 motto: “Engaged Self-Governance,” which emphasizes that the rights and responsibilities of self-gov must be balanced.

“This motto is a opportunity to remind us that the community that we want to create doesn’t magically happen, but we have to take part in creating it,” Awe said.

Attendee Shaquall Brown ’15 felt that SGA needs to do a better job of explaining what self-gov is. 

“Although I am a senior, I still don’t really know what self-gov is and I don’t think we have had campus discussion where we really fully talked about what it means to be a self [governing] society,” Brown said.

This reflected a concern raised by Hameed Weaver ’17, who felt the motto helps to make it clear that the community has to be actively participating in the creation of self-gov, something many students may not realize.

Awe then thanked the various committees and cabinet members for their work this semester. Treasurer Gargi Magar ’16 and Assistant Treasurer Ham Serunjogi ’16 were praised for their strategic and thoughtful allocation of funds, which has created a surplus that Awe urged students to use.

“A couple of years ago we didn’t have money, last year we stopped spending money and this year Ham and Gargi held down the fort and we got money,” she said.

Awe then discussed next semester, stating that SGA needs to engage the community in a conversation about students’ ability to make change.

“I have had many conversations lately about how smart Grinnell students are and how we have great ideas to change the world, but how do we translate those ideas into actual tangible things?” Awe asked. “We need to break down this idea, that it’s beyond our ability to make the change we want to see.”

Throughout her address, Awe stopped and asked the audience to discuss concerns.

“Overall it went pretty well I think,” said Corey Simmonds ’17. “I expected a bit more involvement with the people listening but I guess that’s a sign of things going well, when you don’t have that information going against what was being told.”

On the other hand, attendee Dan Davis ’16 expressed concern that SGA did not do enough with the National Week of Action.

“I think the National Week of Action could have been much better. I think there has been a lot of stuff that was kind of pushed over, and I think that sexual assault needs to be something that is talked about more,” David said.

Additionally, Davis liked the informal atmosphere of Lyle’s Pub, but took issue with the fact that there was a $200 tab.

“There shouldn’t have to be a tab to make students wonder what’s going on at their college. I think it’s a little upsetting that we have to use a tab to get people out there,” Davis said.

After the event, which Awe described as successful, she emphasized SGA’s role in being better connected to the student body, a concern raised by members in the audience.

“We’ve tried doing office hours, but they were not really effective, so maybe implementing new ideas like [online] videos might help,” Awe said.

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