Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 9, 2022

SGA discusses measures to improve transportation and Thanksgiving Break for students

By YANA MULANI | November 12, 2021

bus-file-photo

FILE PHOTO

Some SGA members claimed the city's public transportation is insufficient for students' needs.

The Student Government Association (SGA) held its weekly meeting on Nov. 9 in order to discuss measures to improve transportation for students, ensure Thanksgiving Break gives students a reprieve and how to improve public participation in their meetings.

Blue Jay Joy Rides Bill

Junior Class Senator Peter Huang presented the Blue Jay Joy Rides Bill as “offering another student service when it comes to transportation” that would be especially useful for grocery shopping. 

  • Huang contended that “the existing free public transportation services... don't really stop by any major shopping complexes or grocery stores for students.”
  • This bill sought funding for one trial run, scheduled for Dec. 4, to gauge student interest before possibly making it a regular service.
  • With this bill, Huang hopes to reduce transportation costs, offer regular and credible timetables, allow for large purchases of goods at once and deliver greater freedom of mobility to students.
  • Several senators questioned certain aspects of the bill, such as mode of transportation, locations on the route and the minimum number of students.
  • The bill passed unanimously.

Post-Thanksgiving Break Resolution

Senior Class Senator Subha Bhatta presented the Post-Thanksgiving Break Resolution as a temporary solution to ensure that students actually get a break.

  • The bill would designate the two-day period following Thanksgiving break as “no-deadline or no-assignments” as well as require all courses on those days to be held virtually.
  • This semester, students have not received a break since Labor Day. Bhatta says the purpose of this bill is to “try to make Thanksgiving Break an actual break, at least as much as possible.”
  • Freshman Class Senator Jackson Morris said he agreed with the overall goal but not with moving classes for the first two days to an online modality, given that online classes too can contribute to burnout.
  • Senior Director of Leadership, Engagement & Experiential Development Calvin Smith Jr. argued that fall 2021 fall break days have been added to Thanksgiving Break days, though in recent years the University provided a week-long break for Thanksgiving in addition to the fall break. 
  • Bhatta reinforced the point that “this is not a replacement for mental health days” but rather a way to ensure that Thanksgiving Break is a break.
  • The resolution passed with only Morris abstaining from voting.

Long-Term Ad Hoc Committee on Open Input Period Bill

Executive President Mehak Ali introduced the Long-Term Ad Hoc Committee on Open Input Bill. This bill was presented as a way to improve public communication with SGA.

  • Often when general body meetings (GBMs) get too long, members of the public will not stay for the whole meeting to give public input.
  • This committee will take applications for members of the public to speak at the beginning of meetings.
  • The bill passed unanimously.

Lottery for Diverse Perspectives Bill

Ali presented the Lottery for Diverse Perspectives Bill to supplement the Long-Term Ad Hoc Committee on Open Input Period Bill. The bill aims to improve and motivate participation in the open-input period by giving a $20 plushie to each member of the public who attends the GBM.

  • Sophomore Class President Kobi Khong raised a question on why the ad hoc committees would have to be renewed yearly. Ali responded that she would “like to turn this into an official committee but we would need to change our bylaws, which is a matter related to Internal Affairs.” She said that it would be possible for the Senate to work on that next semester.
  • Senior Class Senator Pritika Parmar asked for clarification on how the plushies will be distributed. Junior Class President Nathan Mudrak clarified that it is “three plushies a week for 16 weeks,” one for each person who shows up.
  • The bill passed unanimously.

SGA Goals Discussion

Ali opened the floor for discussion on improving SGA.

  • Senators discussed implementing a more formal process to follow up with the University on the timeline and implementation of bills.
  • A key idea was raised by Ali, who said “SGA has been a very reactive body and I think what we need to do is change our mindset and our goals moving forward to be more proactive.”
  • The possibility of changing the location of office hours, either closer to campus or on Zoom to make it more accessible for students to attend, was also raised.

November Tabling Funding Bill

Members also discussed a tabling event to be held Nov. 29 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

  • The tabling event will give away SGA mugs, candy canes, hot chocolate packets and blankets. The total cost is expected to be $2400.
  • The bill passed unanimously.

Committee Confirmations

SGA unanimously confirmed four new members to the Communications and Marketing Commission.

  • Junior Daniel Ong was confirmed as marketing head.
  • Sophomore Xinyue Gu was confirmed as social media manager. 
  • Freshman Dalia Shawgi was confirmed as graphic designer. 
  • Sophomore Cameron Dong was confirmed as cinematographer.
  • Ali also nominated Sophomore Class Senator Harvey McGuinness to be placed on the Finance Committee and Civic Engagement Committee. The motion to confirm him passed unanimously.
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