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Feven Getachew
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SGA Cabinet and Senators discuss new plans


Cabinet members and the newly-elected senators of the Student Government Association (SGA) are evaluating their duties and responsibilities to the student body. Members on all fronts have expressed desires to focus on accessibility, visibility and collaboration.

As an example, Myles Becker ’19, SGA president, cited the Student Initiatives Committee.

According to the SGA website, student initiatives are “a means for the student body to express its collective opinion on campus, state, national or international issues.” Currently, a student that submits an initiative is largely responsible for its implementation, in addition to collecting the necessary 100 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Becker is concerned that students with little institutional experience might be daunted by a project like an initiative, which requires a lot of energy and commitment, and therefore might be reluctant to speak up. Nonetheless, Becker believes that students with suggestions about improving the campus should make an initiative, no matter how big their idea is.

“If it’s a small deal to everyone, then that’s a huge deal on campus,” Becker said. He hopes to make it so that “once [an initiative] is voted on, if it passes, it’s up to the [Student Initiatives Fund] Committee chair and the Committee to follow through on that.”

On the dynamic between senators and the cabinet, Ryuta Kure ’21, an East Campus senator, said that “the bonding has been stronger and stronger during Campus Council. … The SGA members guide the senators.”

This mirrors Becker’s hope to build on “that sense of collaboration between senators and Cabinet. …We’re all here because we were appointed by [the] students.”

Non-cabinet members, however, might not always realize the impact of SGA, which is part of the reason why Becker wants to improve SGA transparency. “The effort in transparency is … more like, ‘Hey, here’s what we do, come be involved with us.’”

Quinn Ercolani ’20, SGA treasurer, also hopes for more transparency from SGA. “I feel like that is something that we can really do better, is just making ourselves more visible on campus in terms of what we actually do,” he said.

SGA hopes that moving the location of campus council to JRC 101 can begin their goal of increased transparency.

Formerly, SGA held meetings in Harris Cinema Center, a location that lacks a hearing loop. A vote in campus council designated JRC 101, a location equipped with a hearing loop, an assistive listening technology for people who are hard of hearing, as the new meeting place on Sunday nights.

“[JRC] is centrally located to campus, a lot of students are already there, it’s by the Grill. I think we’ll get a lot more drop in opportunities,” Becker said.

There has also been discussion around changing the name of Campus Council to imply a more specific group of students.

“[Campus Council] sounds relatively informal, and it sounds as though it includes the entirety of campus when, in reality, we have senators. … It’s students and not necessarily faculty or staff who are represented,” Becker said.

For SGA, accessibility means increasing both the students’ involvement in government and students’ opportunities on campus. Kure’s senator project addresses the lack of adequate kitchen facilities on upper floors in East Campus. He hopes that, in doing so, there will be more use of kitchens by residents that live on those floors.

Kure and the other senators also seek to work with their CAs and RLCs to plan bigger events and increase communication with their constituents.

Kure ran for senator on the encouragement from a current member of SGA. Kure feels that by developing more personal connections as a senator, more people will become involved in student government.

Ercolani also wants more student engagement. Formerly assistant treasurer, he has recently been promoted to the treasurer position. One of his goals as the new treasurer is to “make it more open and accessible to the student body. I don’t want them to see us as a hurdle.”

He noted that “the overall aim of the student government, other than to be a voice for the student body, is to make the student experience as good as it possibly can be, and a huge part of that is student programming.”

Cabinet members such as Ercolani have taken on mentorship roles for senators, with the intention that a more collaborative government will lead to a better student experience.

“I hope that over the next year or two — in my time left at Grinnell — that … people can really see what SGA can do for them,” Ercolani said.

Editor’s note: Ryuta Kure is the graphics editor of The S&B.

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