SGO Meeting 10.29.17

by September Sky Porras

On October 29th, 2017, Swarthmore College’s Student Government Organization (SGO) board convened for their weekly meeting.

The meeting began with Dean Liz Braun and Professor Carol Nackenoff of the Political Science department distributing handouts of standards for the Middle States Process. This process, Professor Nackenoff explained, is one of accreditation for the college. It is a process all institutions have to go through to prove their quality and remain accountable to parents, students, and the wider public. Middle States is the accreditation group Swarthmore is using, and there are seven Standards-- which were handed out to all present-- which Swarthmore has to meet. Some are rather simple (example: having graduated at least one class), and others are more tricky (example: proof of adherence to ethical principles). For each of these Standards there are a number of people working on them, providing consultation, perspective, and participating in working groups. There is at least one student on every Standard working group. Professor Nackenoff also noted that there are goals and priorities the College has listed out that they hope to achieve. More information on Middle States can be found here. All of this, Liz Braun jumped in to explain, couldn’t happen without student input. She then wrapped up the section of the meeting by suggesting the idea of SGO hosting an event with one student representative from each working group in a sort of “speed-dating” style, so the wider campus would have an opportunity to engage. This concluded their section, and they thanked those present and left.

The next part of the agenda consisted of presenting the platform speeches for Speaker of the Senate. Nancy Yuan ‘20 went first, chronicling her experience as an SGO Senator last year and a member of the Student Organizations Committee. Yuan explained her reasons for running for Speaker: mainly that she wants to uplift and help voices of senators be heard and their views expressed. Next was Gilbert Orbea ‘19, who stated his experiences as current class of 2019 senator as well as having served on both the Student Life and Appointments Committees. His reasons for running consisted namely in an increase in communication between the Senate and the co-presidents and Executive Board. The platforms and voting will be sent out Tuesday morning.

The agenda continued with a request for volunteers for the SGO Halloween event. SGO will be hosting a trick-or-treating event on the day of Halloween from 8-10pm where different people will be stationed around campus with candy to hand out to students. Some people signed up for the different time slots.

An Appointments Committee member then brought up the need to spread the word about the RA Selection Committee and the Housing Committee. For the former about 5-7 people are needed, and for the latter 6-8 people are needed. These will be students who apply for the committees, which they will have a large say on RA criteria and selection as well as housing accommodations.

SGO will now be using the messaging application Slack for communication within their board.

Questions and concerns were addressed. One person asked if SGO had an overarching goal or agenda for the semester. Co-President Josie Hung ‘19 responded that there are some floating ideas about town halls and discussion dialogues, but that Fall Break really cut into time. Another member affirmed that yes, there is a longer agenda. Hung then moved to address Dean Braun’s idea about the Middle States event, to which there was expressed interest but an overall concern over campus lack of awareness on the topic. They decided advertising was needed before an event such as the one Dean Braun laid out could occur, and a point team for that was formed.

The meeting was promptly concluded.