Hi, my name is Lanie Schlessinger, and I’m running for a second term as Student Groups Advisor.
Throughout the past year of experience as Student Groups Advisor, I learned many necessary skills that will enable me to be a more effective SGA in my second term, if elected. The role of an SGA is to facilitate the chartering and maintenance of student groups on campus, which requires a great deal of administrative effort. I learned to be proactive about chartering groups, to efficiently schedule chartering meetings, and to make myself completeyavailable to interested students. But the most important lesson I learned from my year as the head of the chartering committee is that there is plenty of room for improvement in the chartering process.
Last year, student council passed a chartering referendum that I drafted to help improve some of the more major issues. A copy of the referendum is available on the StuCo website if you are interested in the details, but the general idea was to make the chartering meetings more meaningful. Previously, these meetings mostly consisted of groups coming before the committee, briefly presenting the group idea, answering a few questions, and leaving with a charter in less than five minutes. The referendum moves to transform that meeting time into an informational session for group leaders to learn all about starting a new group on campus. Adding a guidance component to the meetings has proven to be a useful, even necessary measure.
But there is more work to be done. Last semester, I began to compile a Student Groups Master List – you may recall receiving an email about it. Having open dialogue among groups is vital to forging a vibrant extracurricular atmosphere at Swarthmore. Since many students dabble in different groups, they are already naturally brought together. Creating additional forums in which like groups can communicate, as well as increasingly publicizing the groups that already exist on campus so interested students can get involved, are important initiatives to undertake. This is the work I would continue to forge ahead with if elected for a second term as SGA.
My final goal as an SGA would be to work to improve StuCo as a whole. Last semester, under the effective leadership of Co-President Gabby Capone and with the collaborative efforts of many qualified and dedicated leaders, StuCo made enormous strides toward this end. With the creation of the online suggestion box, we were able to easily and constantly poll the student body, and we fought hard to accomplish the tasks the student body asked that we pursue. This was an enormous step for StuCo, and there are more, similar steps to be taken in that direction.
A few of the major changes I would like to work towards implementing in StuCo are:
1) Holding a training day for new members. As an incoming SGA, I knew little to nothing about the chartering process. I received some guidance, but no formal training, and I found that this made me a predictably less effective groups advisor.
2) Increasing dialogue among Student Council members. If StuCo members know what other members are doing, we are more prepared to help them accomplish the bigger tasks. Each member should share a brief update at each meeting.
3) Establishing a general council at large to provide a greater resource base for StuCo. These changes, if implemented, would certainly help StuCo run smoother and more effectively.