The new Student Government Association (SGA) administration held its first weekly meeting on Tuesday, April 27 to discuss standard SGA procedures and its organizational structure.
At the meeting, new SGA members underwent a training session led by Executive President Mehak Ali. Topics included parliamentary procedure, the process of introducing legislation, types of SGA committees and networking with administration to advocate for policies.
Ali encouraged SGA members to brainstorm ideas for in-person activities next semester beyond events like Wellness Week, Sex Week and the Garden Party of previous years.
“Having events boosts student morale and spirit, so this is something we should really push because of how COVID-19 has negatively impacted our student population,” she said.
Ali and Executive Vice President Breanna Soldatelli presented the Rules Bill, which laid out all SGA procedures. While for the most part unchanged from last year’s bill, Soldatelli explained that this year’s bill includes a change in attendance tracking. Under the new rules, meetings will be added to Hopkins Groups and will have a separate QR code to scan for attendance.
Ali explained the rationale behind the change.
“Just so we can standardize SGA operations and practices, all of our GBMs [General Body Meetings] are on Hopkins Groups,” she said. “It is more transparent, and people will know what is happening.”
Senior Class Senator Talal Widatalla proposed a friendly amendment to strike the section, noting the inconvenience of the added procedures.
“With Senior Class Council, we have quick meetings if there’s something pressing,” he said. “Having to register the meeting, print out a QR code and have everyone scan it means there will be meetings that won’t happen with this process if [they are] spur-of-the-moment.”
Carolyn Harris, associate director for leadership development and SGA advisor, stressed the importance of keeping a record through Hopkins Groups.
“What you do in Hopkins Groups keeps a record, so if anyone is keeping track of their engagement at Hopkins, they would want to show their attendance through [Hopkins Groups],“ she said.
According to Harris, the Hopkins Groups system would be independent of SGA’s internal attendance tracking, which would serve specifically to log absences for SGA members.
Soldatelli expressed support for the change, arguing that it is not a drastic departure from the current protocol.
“Events are already in Hopkins Groups,“ she said. “And you don’t have to print [the QR code] out. You can have the QR code on your phone or you can send a link and [SGA members] can register that way.”
Widatalla withdrew his amendment but noted that he still disagreed with the attendance procedure.
The Rules Bill passed unanimously.
Finally, members discussed scheduling for SGA meetings for the 2021-22 academic year. Though SGA met at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesdays for the 2020-21 academic year, SGA has historically held its meetings at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesdays.
Though a few members pointed to personal scheduling conflicts, SGA members largely agreed to meet at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesdays.