Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 25, 2021

SGA encourages Baltimore-themed freshman seminars

By MOLLY GAHAGEN | September 26, 2020

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The Student Advisory Committee presented a student compact to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

The Student Government Association (SGA) discussed the undergraduate academic experience and coronavirus (COVID-19) safety at its weekly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Junior Class President Nathan Mudrak introduced the Second Commission on Undergraduate Education (CUE2) Resolution. The resolution included recommendations to expand the seminars available to first-year students while not making them mandatory and to incorporate an emphasis on the Baltimore community.

“There’s a pretty strong sentiment that our education about the affairs of the city, generally speaking, is lacking,” Mudrak said. “[We would be] trying to integrate that a little bit more into how we welcome freshmen to our campus.”

CUE2 was formed in 2017 by University President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar as part of the University’s “Ten by Twenty” plan. In February, CUE2 released a draft report of various initiatives meant to improve the undergraduate academic experience, including a first-year seminar, which would allow students to collaborate closely with faculty.  

Mudrak explained that while Baltimore would not have to be the focus of such courses, first-year seminars would have to relate their topics to the city in some respect.

“[This would allow us to] have that common thread where people can talk and come from different perspectives because they each know something unique about the city they are spending the next four years in,” he said.

The resolution passed.

In addition, the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) held a discussion on COVID-19 headed by SGA Executive President Sam Mollin, who is on the committee.

Composed of graduate and undergraduate students from across the University, SAC was formed over the summer to enable students to provide guidance and feedback to the administration regarding the resumption of in-person activities and COVID-19 safety measures. 

SAC presented a student compact, which will encourage the students who sign it to follow various health and safety guidelines to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and foster a culture of acceptance. The compact’s recommendations include wearing facial coverings, following social distancing protocols, avoiding social gatherings, monitoring personal symptoms, washing and sanitizing hands frequently, protecting those with pre-existing conditions and discouraging discrimination. 

Mollin endorsed the initiative during a brief moderated caucus.

“It is really meant to be from students, for students, for us all to be committed to each other to take the public health measures we need to protect all of our lives,” he said.

SGA members considered endorsing the compact and promoting it through social media  and student organization group chats.

According to Mollin, it is important to keep students at the core of these campaigns.

“This is something that is completely created by students across all nine academic divisions for students,” he said. “The idea is essentially for this to be a grassroots thing.”

No formal resolution was voted on.

SGA also witnessed the confirmation of Student Activity Committee (SAC) Officers Mia Grahn, Jeremy Gu, Nandit Gurtu, Sujai Jaipalli, Jillian Ngo and Estelle Yeung. SAC is SGA’s funding board.

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