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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

SGA Senators to take on projects for the semester

The SGA Cabinet will assign each of the newly elected senators a project for the semester. These projects range in scope and complexity, from adding Boca burgers to the Spencer Grill menu to reforming and reducing campus fees.

“We wanted to find a way to utilize senators better, give them more of a purpose than just intermediaries between the student body and SGA,” said SGA President Ben Offenberg ’11. “So we thought, ‘let’s let them help be more of the advocacy for SGA.’”

Joint Board
Members of Joint Board talk in JRC 101 on Wednesday night as senators become acclimated to their new positions - Abraham Kohrman

It is a bold, yet not unprecedented step toward expanding the role of senators. The previous two cabinets proposed optimistic plans for Project Joint Board, but saw no tangible results.

However, Offenberg has confidence that the latest incarnation of the program will succeed.

“This is a trial year for it,” Offenberg said. “I hope they go over well, and I think they will. And at the end of the year we’re going to get a lot of feedback from senators and go from there.”

The senators chose projects at the Joint Board meeting Wednesday night from a list compiled by the cabinet. In essence, the list was a catalog of past student initiatives and senators’ ideas for the college.

Projects include making sure there are no printing fees for students in the future, getting student art into residence halls, eliminating dorm phones, creating more self-service stations in the dining hall, improving campus wheelchair accessibility, expanding the Student Health and Counseling Services hours, installing light boxes to fight Seasonal Affective Disorder and many others.

“I like the idea of them,” Jamaland senator Christian Loggins ’12 said. “Usually, senators don’t really do that much, and it’s good to know that this year they’re trying to change that, and really trying to make this position more worthwhile and more useful in affecting change on campus.”

Despite the overall sense of optimism, some senators question whether anything positive will come of the projects.

“Some of these projects are definitely doable,” Smounker senator Alex White ’12 said. “I just don’t know if a lot of them are going to make a lot of people’s lives a whole lot better, and a lot of these things—just in my experience—are somewhat optimistic. I don’t mean to sound terribly jaded, but this is my fourth time being a senator, and the beginning of the year always starts off like, ‘we’re going to get a lot done,’ but you get busy. You don’t have time. We’re students too, and there’s only so much you can do.”

Regardless, Offenberg and his cabinet maintain the senator projects are necessary and worthwhile.

“Some of them are similar to what student initiatives could be,” Offenberg said. “But I think they’re really expanding our advocacy. The biggest advocacy part of SGA is Cabinet. What this is doing is recognizing that the cabinet can’t do it all alone. We’re only ten people and there is a lot of stuff that should be done.”

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