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Is SGA still an appropriate platform?

Is SGA still an appropriate platform?

Sunshine's picture



Like in the “Report from the Bahamas” reading, I recognize that relationships are complex. June did not quite know how she should interact with the maid. The “administration” is June. I am not saying that the administration is thinking pensively about how to interact with us, because I do not know, and cannot claim to know their intentions. They could be trying really hard to be relatable and understanding, or they could be purposefully antagonistic in their greed and pursuance of money. However, the relationship is complex because we are giving them money. But we are also in a vulnerable state because we are relying on getting a degree in order to get a job. So we are working for them, and they are working for us, but they still seem to have all the power.


Sophia brought up SGA. As a tour guide, I know I have to carefully frame SGA to prospective students. I have to say how it is a platform for student voices, and way to make change. I tell them about SGA meetings, which is when the student body comes together to talk about what’s going on around campus (Although only a minuscule portion of the student body attends). And then I talk about Plenary, which is a space to pass resolutions written by students to be presented to the administration (Also an event that had poor turnout in that last year). Theoretically, the administration takes us seriously when we pass a resolution.  We talk about all the passed resolutions that made visible changes on campus in order to say specifically how we, as students, have power to make a difference. I am writing this post sitting in the library that has natural light. Carpenter library has natural light because of a plenary resolution. There are posters all around campus  describing all the changes made because of plenary. The owl is our official mascot. The campus center is open 24 hours. Canaday is open until 2am. We have composting in the dining halls. These are all things I boast proudly about to prospective students. But in light of our discussion about agency, I’d be interested to learn about the resolutions that were ignored. Was there ever a resolution about Perry house? Who cares about being in the campus center at 3 am when a historical building used by students of color is condemned? Something I’ve been thinking a lot about is, would Kim Cassidy have had the same response to the petition about transgender students if she was presented with a passed Plenary resolution? Should it matter? I love Plenary, but it takes time out of students’ days that they could be using to nap or study or make money. Is it really necessary to use Plenary to get our voices heard? I DO think it is a form of transculturation. But I think the question is, should we conform to the administration or should the administration conform to us? To what extent should the administration respect the voices of students in a different context, such as an online petition? Does it not hold the same meaning as a plenary resolution, but without the jargon?

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A quick clarification/answer/support to Sunshine's questions re: plenary resolution about Perry House: YES. The year before you arrived, Sunshine, just after it was announced that Perry House would be closed, students on campus put together a plenary resolution about Perry House. The resolution can be found here (thank goodness past plenary packets are archived on the SGA blog!).








I was interested to hear a tour guide's perspective in terms of the marketing of SGA to prospective students and their parents. I remember going through the process of taking tours myself, and hearing numerous schools focus on this aspect of their community, seemingly very proud to have such a forum in which students could discuss and change policies of the school. When I first arrived at Bryn Mawr, already knowing a number of people from high school, I was launched into a community of friends who took SGA as seriously as these tour guides did.