This past Tuesday, the Student Government Association (SGA) welcomed the Freshmen Class President Jonathan Loewenberg, and Senators Opeoluwa Olukorede, Adelaide Morphett, Jonathan (JB) Brown, Gaurav Verma, Matthew Brown and Nick McCormack in the fifth student government meeting of the year.
“I was on Student Council in high school, but it’s a lot more organized here,” Opeluwa Olukorede, one of six newly elected freshmen class senators, said.
The meeting, led by Janice Bonsu, executive vice president of SGA, kicked off with ice-breaking introductions to help the freshmen and upperclassmen get to know one another. The group even heard Senior Class Senator Alex Pressman perform his impression of Stewie from Family Guy.
The reports of the executive SGA members followed as usual. Notably, Executive Treasurer Dylan Gorman announced a bill to award the Movember initiative $650, with $500 in reserve for the cause if necessary. In senior Katie Brooks’s proposal last week, she asked for about double this funding for four Movember events in order to raise awareness and money for prostate and testicular cancer research. The bill will go to a vote in the SGA’s next meeting on Oct. 8.
Gorman also updated the group that SGA has sponsored the purchase of laptop chargers for the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. The five SGA committees also gave their reports and introduced themselves to the freshmen representatives, all of whom will be joining a committee in the near future.
Student Services, led by Sean Glass, senior class president, is working toward putting a J-Card deposit machine in Charles Commons. The committee may face opposition, though, since an online deposit system was put in place last spring, and the University is resistant to invest in a physical ATM as well.
Academic Affairs, led by Senior Class Senator Zoe Cohen, plans to use past student exit interviews to improve the advising system.
“Our goal this year is to increase student-faculty interaction,” Cohen said.
Appointments and Evaluations, led by Junior Class Senator, Mahzi Malcolm, facilitated the approval of three new student groups that were proposed in last week’s meeting. The Thai Students’ Association has been approved as a cultural club. After some debate over liability and cost issues, the Scuba Club was approved as a special interest or hobby. The Wading Team was also approved under the same category.
“This team is moving toward exactly what we want as a school. I don’t think that there’s anything negative about them,” Kyra Toomre, executive secretary of SGA, said.
All clubs were approved by unanimous consent.
Rodolfo Finocchi spoke for his committee, Security, Sustainability and Development (SSD). The committee has been looking into a bike-share program for the Homewood Campus, and a progress report is soon to follow.
SSD has been making strides with Project Lever, an organization that sets up academic research boards on college campuses. The committee has obtained approval to run a trial of these research boards in select Hopkins academic departments.
The Finance Committee, led by Pressman, announced that it has spent $330 since the last meeting of SGA. The money went toward the library chargers as well as baked goods for SGA’s Oct. 2 event “What Do You Want Wednesdays,” an initiative for student involvement in SGA spearheaded by Toomre.
Executive President Alex Schupper proposed a bill he is sponsoring for the Senior Leadership Consultants (SLC). The bill creates a link between SGA and SLC so that newly approved clubs are better prepared to navigate their first few years.
“It’s shocking that we didn’t have this earlier,” Pressman said.
The bill stipulates that once the Appointments and Evaluations Committee of SGA approves a club, the club can only receive startup funding once it begins working with SLC, which is dedicated to helping student leaders run their clubs smoothly. SLC helps clubs learn how to work diplomatically with Hopkins officials as well as how to complete basic club functions like reserving campus space for meetings. The bill will go to a vote next Tuesday.
After two hours, the SGA’s first meeting with its freshmen constituents ended. In the next few meetings, freshmen will find their places in the various SGA committees and complete their integration into student government.
“I had no idea what was going to happen. I went in with an open mind. I think I got a real introduction to student government and I’m looking forward to a good year,” Verma said.