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November 29, 2022

SGA votes to extend application period for new student organizations

By EMILY MCDONALD | January 30, 2020

Two new sophomore class senators were sworn in at the SGA meeting on Tuesday.

The Student Government Association (SGA) voted to open and extend the application period for new student organizations at their first weekly meeting of the semester this Tuesday. 

In addition, two new sophomore class senators were sworn in and they discussed future collaborations with the Office of Alumni Affairs.

SGA also voted to pass a bill which will open the application period for new student organizations from Feb. 1 to April 30 on a trial basis.

Applications are typically reviewed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year. This fall, SGA’s Committee on Student Organizations (CSO) Chair Chase McAdams disclosed that  SGA would not be accepting applications for new student groups in an email to the student body on Sept. 16.

McAdams, who introduced the bill, said that this change will give student organizations more time to complete their applications. 

“A basic complaint that we had is that it’s such a short application period,” he said. 

CSO will now be responsible for overseeing the application period. Previously, the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement (SLI) supervised this process. 

One member of the SGA expressed their concern that the bill would place too much of a burden on CSO. 

McAdams agreed, but explained that if SGA made the decision to extend the application period, they could not expect SLI to oversee the process.

“It wouldn’t be right for SGA to make this decision and basically cause [SLI] to require their staff to have a ton more work because we want to change something like this,” he said. “That’s why I put it as a bylaw, because it could be too much for CSO to handle.”

SGA voted unanimously to pass the bill. 

In addition, Jillian Ngo and Megan Chien were elected to fill two vacancies on the Sophomore Class Council, one left by Mehak Ali, who became Executive Vice President on Nov. 21.

Ali succeeded Dean Chien, who became executive president following Aspen Williams’ resignation. 

In an interview with The News-Letter, Chien explained that although she was hesitant about joining SGA at first, she ultimately decided to apply because she wants to help the Hopkins student body.

“The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was just about helping students, and you didn’t necessarily need to have any political background or leadership background,” she said.

As a class senator, Chien plans to open discussions about changing the application process for new student organizations. 

“[Student organization applications] really help you in terms of real-life practice, in terms of writing applications and then doing interviews,” she said. 

In addition, Chien noted that the process can be difficult for students who have applications that are rejected.

“I can also see how after the fifth rejection it can get really discouraging, because you’re getting rejected by your peers so it feels a little more personal, and so that’s why I want to help remedy what the situation is at the moment.”

Ngo previously served as a member of SGA’s funding board, the Student Activities Commission (SAC). 

As a class senator, she plans to improve SGA’s transparency, especially in terms of being more inclusive of student groups.

“I’m excited to play a bigger role as a member of the class council,” Ngo wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “I’m definitely interested in improving the transparency of SGA. When I was on SAC, I feel as if student groups were left out of the conversation most of the time. I also believe there is too much difficulty accessing information such as meeting minutes and policy that has been passed, and I hope to help fix this.”

After Ngo and Chien were sworn in, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations Susan deMuth addressed SGA members. 

deMuth explained that in the future, the Office of Alumni Affairs will be making a concentrated effort to connect undergraduate students with alumni. 

According to deMuth, 60 percent of participants in a 2019 survey of Hopkins alumni expressed interest in mentoring current students. She hopes to help students take advantage of this resource.

“We are 225,000 alums. That’s 225,000 people that you can become connected to,” deMuth said. 

She explained that with this extensive network, undergraduate students have a great opportunity to make connections, especially because alums have expressed a keen interest in helping.

“Our alums want to be involved in talking to prospective students. They want to be involved in job shadowing. They want to be involved in internships with you all,” she said.

Casey Miller, the director of Hopkins Connect, a new initiative by the Office of Integrative Learning and Life Design that provides mentorship to students, discussed his specific plans to foster connections between students and alumni.

Miller explained that on Feb. 3, a mentoring platform called PeopleGrove will be available to all Hopkins students. 

PeopleGrove, Miller stressed, will primarily be a way for students to interact with alumni and learn from their experiences. 

“We’re not expecting it to be transactional. It’s not a place where you would go and say, ‘Hey, can you get me a job, can you get me an internship, can you connect me to someone who can?,’ but rather, a place where you can say, ‘How did you get your first job, how did you get an internship?’” Miller said.

Senior Associate Director of Alumni Relations Pat Conklin also hopes to foster relationships between students and alumni by getting more students to participate in Alumni Weekend, which will be held April 24-26. 

She outlined her plans for an event tailored to current students that would take place on the Friday before Alumni Weekend. 

Conklin asked for two members from each class council to form a committee to help plan the event. 

“We want you all to kick off the weekend, and we’re not sure how we’re going to do this. So we’ve… asked for a committee,” Conklin said.

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