SGO Senate Discusses Middle States Accreditation Process, Trick-or-Treat, and More

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

On Sunday, October 29th, the Student Government Organization (SGO) convened for a full general meeting in Kohlberg 116. In attendance were SGO Executive Board members, Class Senators, At-Large Senators, as well as Haverford College Students’ Council Co-President Julia Blake ‘19. Dean of Students Liz Braun and Richter Professor of Political Science Carol Nackenoff also attended the first half of the meeting.

Nackenoff and Braun initiated the meeting with a 30 minute presentation on the Middle States Accreditation Process, by which U.S. institutions of higher education such as Swarthmore undergo peer review to assess and certify that they are eligible to receive federal funds through financial aid and research grants. Nackenoff, alongside Director of Institutional Research and Assessment Robin Huntington Shores, is co-chair of the Steering Committee, which will guide the College through the entire process.

SGO has been heavily involved with recruiting Student Members to seven of the eight Steering Committee working groups, serving as a conduit between the student body and the Steering Committee. As such, Nackenoff and Braun aimed to use the opportunity of the SGO general meeting to relay information to the student body and answer any concerns and questions.

“What we’re doing here is part of a process of consulting with all members [of the College],” Nackenoff explained. “Students are an important part of this process, because for many purposes, it’s you who can tell us whether we are meeting our goals.”

At the end of the presentation and discussion, Braun suggested that SGO co-host a “speed dating-type event,” in which student representatives would get to talk to students interested in their respective working groups. Each working group tackles a specific “standard of quality,” such as ‘Ethics and Integrity,’ ‘Support of the Student Experience,’ and ‘Educational Effectiveness Assessment.’ The event would most likely occur before Thanksgiving Break, and definitely during the Fall 2017 semester.

After answering several questions from the Senate, Nackenoff and Braun left the meeting.

SGO proceeded to hear platform speeches for the Speaker of the Senate position from At-Large Senator Nancy Yuan ’20 and Class Senator Gilbert Orbea ’19. The Speaker is internally elected by members of the Senate to represent their interests at Executive Board meetings. Voting begins on Tuesday, October 31st, and the election results will be announced on Friday, November 3rd.

Chair of Visual and Performing Arts Umi Keezing ’19 spoke next, asking Senate members  to volunteer for the upcoming SGO ‘Trick-or-Treat’ event. At this event, SGO members will be posted at specific hotspots around campus, such as Shane Lounge and the Kohlberg Coffee Bar, and give out candy, as well as meet-and-greet students interested in SGO activities.

“This is a good chance for you to start talking to people and introducing yourself as SGO, as well as what your goals are, especially for senators who are new,” SGO Co-President Josie Hung ‘19 added.

After a brief discussion about committee appointments, SGO using Slack, and the Middle States Accreditation Process, the meeting was adjourned.

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