Final Field Project: SGA Inclusivity
Something that I personally had been grappling with since I became a Dorm President in my sophomore year (officially becoming a part of the sga assembly), is how SGA promotes itself as an inclusive group on campus to focus on democratical partcipation within the college. SGA has always had a tension between allowing students to explore what self governance mean to them (for example, getting students to want to come to plenary) vs pushing the idea of self governance on to the students (for example, closing the dining halls and library during plenary).
Personally, I've found that the majority of people who become involved with SGA are consistent, meaning the same people run for different SGA positions and the same people become elected, every year. Something that we talk about in our group today was the fact that SGA meeting and the assembly (who are supposed to come to the SGA meetings) are not representative of the campus (ethnicially, socio-economically, etc.) to the point where any people from particular affinity groups or other area of campus feel they are not welcomed to SGA meeting and that they are forced to come to plenary out of guilt.
Our idea for this project would be to have some outlet to practice multicultural education with students on campus to dscuss the following (but not limited to) questions:
- Considering the latest campaign efforts ("I am SGA. I am Empowered"), what aspects of our identity (individually and as a group within/outside of SGA) contribute to ourselves feeling "empowered"?
- How do we acknowledge difference between people (within SGA and outside of SGA) and how do we unite in this difference?
- How can we make SGA more inclusive to people of diverse backgrounds (eg. Sisterhood, BaCaSo, Interenational Students)?
- How do we make this space a safe space for people to express their opinions?
We've run into the issue of who would participate in this; who would be willing to talk about this and who we'd like to ask to talk about this. How would we present these ideas? What format would this take? Here are some ideas.
Regarding getting the SGA assembly to become involved in the project:
- SGA Meeting Take-Over: Asking for about 20 (preferably more) minutes in the agenda for one of the meetings on Sundays to dicuss these questions. Possibly breaking the assembly into group, starting a dialogue, etc.
Regarding getting students or group who feel uncomfortable at SGA to become involved in the project:
- Sending a survey through Res-co (through the Dorms): What format would the survey take and what questions would also be something to think about...
- Going to affinity group meetings: For example, going to a Sisterhood meeting and dicussing. This would be very tedious andthere are many groups on campus so it would be hard.
- Hosting workshops to invite students to discuss: Might run into the issue of population representation.
Any feed back would be great. If you are interested in participating in this, please comment!