During a meeting on Tuesday, the Student Government Association (SGA) discussed a range of topics, such as improving the Blue Jay Shuttle; providing funding for an a cappella workshop; filling open positions on the SGA Judiciary Board and bringing a mental health advocacy group to campus.
The meeting was led by Executive Vice President Janice Bonsu, as is prescribed by its constitution.
Greg Smith, an associate director of the Office of Facilities Management, topped the priority list with a presentation about improving the Blue Jay Shuttle service following complaints by students of long wait times for the shuttles.
Smith said that because most requests are called in around the same time — on weekend evenings and in bad weather — the shuttle service has trouble keeping up with the sudden increases in demand.
“When it rains, it pours. Quite literally, since we tend to get more calls in rain and other poor weather conditions,” Smith said.
SGA also heard from Duncan Crystal, the business manager for the Octopodes, which is one of the University’s co-ed a cappella groups. The group is planning to host a workshop with Musae, a professional, all-female a cappella group based in Boston, on Oct. 25. Crystal asked SGA for $500 to go toward sound production equipment and labor because the workshop will result in a concert for students.
SGA appears likely to approve the grant at its next session.
“We don’t need to pass a bill for that because it’s really not that much money,” Dylan Gorman, executive treasurer of the SGA, said.
“It’s little things like taco night at the president’s house that give SGA such a strong stance on campus,” Schupper said.
The SGA members had convened earlier in the week, on Monday night to dine with President Ronald J. Daniels at his residence on campus.
Schupper also announced that he has received 11 applications to fill the six positions on SGA’s judicial board. Schupper will be conducting interviews for the SGA Judiciary through the beginning of next week.
The Finance Committee announced that it is planning a competitive grant offering of $1000 from the SGA and the Student Activities Commission (SAC).
The Academic Affairs Committee also held a meeting with the Curriculum Committee, which has several more meetings lined up with advising officials in order to improve that system as well as the PILOT program. In addition, the committee plans to meet with the SGA’s freshman class council to gauge the advising experience from their perspective.
The Security, Sustainability and Development Committee (SSD) is looking to set up a chapter of Harvard Speaks Up, a mental health advocacy group, at Hopkins. SGA watched one of the many videos produced by Harvard students and faculty on the Harvard Speaks Up website. The videos trace each contributor’s mental health journey, particularly in college, so that viewers with similar issues and insecurities can understand that they are not alone. Several members of the committee also met with Seth Cassel, the founder and former president of the organization at Harvard.
“Harvard Speaks Up is telling the world that they’re not afraid of talking about their struggles,” Destiny Bailey, junior class president, said.
The proposal garnered a positive response from SGA’s members.
“We could use this campaign to advertise for other [mental health] groups on campus, like A Place to Talk,” Parth Patel, a junior class senator, said.
SGA agreed that the faculty’s input to Harvard Speaks Up is part of what makes the program so striking and effective. It’s not just the students but also the faculty who are sharing their struggles and reaching out.
“The faculty are excited about having the program come to Hopkins. We need to have the faculty on board,” Patel said.
Senior class president Sean Glass reminded the committee that tonight at 9 p.m. SGA will be hosting a senior class happy hour at Mother’s Federal Hill Grille. He encouraged seniors to stop by.
Sophomore class president Alex Koren and freshman class president Jonathan Loewenberg are working on a joint Trivia Night for the two classes. Koren also announced that apples and granola will soon be available at no cost to sophomores in the lobby of Charles Commons.
The meeting concluded with the passage of two bills. The SGA approved the allocation of $650 to senior Katie Brooks’s Movember initiative through the American Marketing Association to raise funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer.
SGA also approved the Student Leadership Council (SLC) bill introduced last week. The bill is intended to help student clubs, particularly new ones, run more efficiently.
“Getting SLC involved takes some pressure off of Appointments and Evaluations and SAC,” Schupper, who sponsored the bill, said.