By Gabriella Lucci
Social Media Editor
Student Government held their first meeting of the semester on Sept. 2 via Zoom, where they welcomed back their general body and introduced their newly-elected officers and class presidents.
Executive President Suchir Govindarajan opened the meeting by explaining how meetings throughout the fall semester will be more engaging for all members.
According to Govindarajan, a big focus for the year will be to revise, restructure and review the organization to make it more effective for students.
Cabinet members sat on the Readiness Task Forces this summer that helped determine what the College would look like this semester, which included academic experience, health and safety, operational functions, external relations and student experience.
Govindarajan said that College President Kathryn Foster invited two students, three staff representatives, and two faculty members to be a part of her expanded Cabinet over the summer.
As a part of the expanded Cabinet, they met with the College’s Cabinet to provide extra feedback and input on different things that are affecting the campus.
Govindarajan and Bryanna O'Keefe, the executive vice president of Student Government, are the two students to sit on the expanded Cabinet, and they plan to continue to do so throughout the year.
O’Keefe met with the group of professors over the summer who are working on excavating the William Green Plantation, which was discovered to house indentured servants at the end of last semester, and learned more about the site.
Together they drafted a memo to send to Foster. The committee hopes to make the site educational and has been asked to put their work online.
Roshni Raji, the vice president for governmental affairs, announced that she is working on reconstructing the lobbying committee to make it broader for more people to get involved with lobbying both on and off-campus. Applications are due Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Raji reported a new petition process that allows SG to easily keep track of and sponsor petitions that students create. The constituent input form will be located on the Student Government website for students to fill out.
If the general body sees fit, Raji will reach out to the original creators of future petitions and give them further information, which will then allow the student government to decide if they will sponsor the petition or not.
The new process will be a formal way to both update petition creators on what is happening as a result and have on file which issues were brought up and how they addressed it.
Student Government Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Alekhya Madiraju, said that this past summer she and her committee have reenvisioned the Bias Response Team to become the Bias Educational Support Team.
“We are shifting our focus from reporting bias incidents to ways to educate people about what bias incidents are and why they happen,” Madiraju said. “As well as what the consequences are when you are either a victim or perpetrator of a bias incident.”
To sustain their commitment to Black Lives Matter, Madiraju has been working with the presidents of NAACP and the Black Student Union to create an Instagram campaign.
“We are hoping to post bi-weekly to make sure our students have a little bit more of a handle on anti-racism and are staying in touch during this semester,” Madiraju said.
They will also be looking at the Instagram accounts that over the summer emerged in an effort to collect information that is being reported and then present it to the Campus Diversity Council and Bias Educational Support Team.
Madiraju also worked on reforming Greek Life and the athletics department over the summer. She sent out feedback forms to members of Greek Life and is working on sending out feedback forms to members of the latter. She has received information back and will be putting together a report of recommendations in the near future.
Alternate student trustee Nicollette Simon announced that the Student Government Fall 2020 election day will be held on Thursday, Sept. 17, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Campaigning begins Thursday, Sept. 10 at 8 a.m.
Senior Class President Kenu Ogbevire announced that there will be a few upcoming campaigns for the senior class, like the “We Are Stronger” campaign, which is about how the College community will fight against and rise above Covid-19.
Another campaign, titled “My Color Means,” will be about fighting against racial injustice. There will be a “Meet the Officers” event along with a survey for the Class of 2021’s feedback.
Members that were appointed into SG leadership positions over the summer will be sworn in with the fall elected members within two weeks.