SGO: WEEK OF 10/9/2017
It was SGO's first Senate meeting (after the 20 Senate members had gotten elected. Executive Board including the co-presidents and SBC were elected at the end of last year and had been doing weekly meetings on Sundays since school started).
As a walk in/warm up activity, people wrote on post it papers around the rooms labeled with large categories (academics, student life, student organizations, diversity, environmental, visual and performing arts, other) as they pertained to campus issues. People wrote the problems and their possible solutions under each of each category.
Once the meeting started, SGO went through introductions starting with the presidents and the executive board and then moving to the new senators.
The co-presidents then briefly went through a summary of actions that the exec board have made in their previous meetings. They introduced the accountability guidelines and told the Senate that they would share the document with them as well as encourage them to add to it. They told them to be mindful of group dynamics, for example, to notice how the room is majority male dominated and to acknowledge when to step back and give other people a chance to speak. We also spoke about the mission statement and initiatives email that we issued out over the weekend, the amendment to increase the senators number to 20 to create a better balance between exec and senate, and the voting to create a Constitutional Review Committee (to expedite processes and to create checks and balances for amendments to the SGO constitution).
SGO talked about how along with our mission to truly represent, listen to, and address the needs of the student body, they came up with the ideas of:
- Sharples Dinner (on Sundays 6:15-7pm Rm 4 where people can come eat and talk to SGO members)
- Town Hall (space for people to bring to light the issues they are facing and SGO could eventually relay to admin)
- Campus Dialogues (events they would host along with other groups/people on campus to bring people together in dialogue over specific issues and topics)
They also introduced the Speaker of the Senate position (who will work with co-presidents and help lead Senate meetings) and told them to send in platforms.
Afterwards, SGO opened it up to conversation over what issues people would like to see addressed or what ideas they have. Not too many people responded, although a person talked about alternative party spaces, another about the improving mental health resources, and a third about the lack of spaces to congregate with friends. David and Josie spoke of their own interests along with other people in executive board to do programming around addressing representation within academics at Swarthmore.
Towards the last half an hour, they broke up into groups where Senate members joined exec board chairs to hear about their positions and the committees that these chairs are leading. (Diversity, Environmental Affairs, Student Outreach, Student Life, Student Organizations, Academic Affairs, Visual and Performing Arts, Internal Affairs/Appointments) We had everyone rotate every so often to make sure chairs had a chance to speak to everyone. At the end, they told them they would send an application for them to apply to the committees they would like to join and they encouraged them to choose at least two.
The meeting closed with one last question of the Speaker of the Senate where some senate members expressed discontent with the fact that candidates have to at least serve in SGO for a year. As executive board, they said they would hold an emergency meeting to vote for an amendment. On Tuesday, this amendment did not pass.