By ABBY SHEGELMAN
For The News-Letter
The Student Government Association (SGA) gathered in Charles Commons on Tuesday for an untraditional meeting that aimed to increase bonding.
Tiffany Sanchez, associate dean of student life for student engagement, said this meeting was essential for building a stronger SGA because the organization is constantly under pressure to represent students and comply with University policy. Junior Class Senator Andrew Phipps agreed with Sanchez.
“It was an exercise performed to reinforce the relationships amongst the different class councils involved in the Student Government,” Phipps wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “Creating strong relationships between all the students involved in the SGA will undoubtedly help us work more efficiently, and effectively as a unit.”
The SGA broke up into small groups, and the members discussed their personal goals for the SGA and goals for the SGA as a whole. Executive Vice President Charlie Green was the spokesperson for her group. She stated that their group had focused on the importance of mental health on campus.
“We want to make it as big a deal as the issue of sexual assault. It should be addressed just as strongly,” Green said.
She stated that one of her goals is to help the incoming freshman class and other members of the SGA construct new bills, since it can be an intimidating process. They discussed the growing dissatisfaction with the stressful nature of academics at Hopkins. One group stated that a goal of some upperclassmen senators is to help the freshman class mold themselves into a class that appreciates Hopkins and its opportunities.
Phipps also shed light on whether the meeting could have been a response to former Executive President Jason Plush stepping down.
“After Plush stepped down, no stressful environment ensued. Rather, we supported his decision whole-heartedly, as it was the necessary measure for him to take. He is surely missed; his ideas and presence were invaluable,” Phipps wrote. “This exercise could have been a reminder to the SGA that we are a team.”
The group of senators and class councils sat in a circle as Sanchez distributed index cards to each member, asking each person to write their first impressions and things they appreciate about one another. This team-building exercise was meant to bring the SGA closer together as the student body approaches finals and holiday events.
During the exchange of first impressions and future goals, each member was given a random name to write about. Senior Class Senator Nadine Abdullat showed her appreciation for Freshman Class Senator Jennifer Baron by stating that she was excited to work on bridging the gap between the freshman and senior class.