New Semester and New Goals for SGA
It seems like the Student Government Association has a new vibe. So far this semester, they have sent out emails with quirky subject lines — think “Don't call your ex at 2am. Call your elected representatives!” and “Hey Skidmore! U up?;)” — and even featured the way to Skidmore student’s hearts: memes. In congruence with this change, SGA was also gearing up for their elections, which typically occur at the beginning of the school year.
This year the elections began on Sept. 10, and concluded on Sept. 23. Skidmore News contacted Rachael Borthwick ’21, Sophomore Class President and SGA Election Commissioner, and Max Fleischman ’19, SGA President, to get inside the election process, and their personal SGA stories.
“At the start of the semester, we do self-nominations for open positions on campus,” Borthwick explained. “We have a mandatory meeting and then we give out more information about the whole process. There are a video and platform due, which includes the candidates’ names and aspirations. We also require a different number of signatures for different positions in SGA.”
As for Fleischman, joining SGA was a given. When asked, he said he had “[gotten] involved in SGA originally with some work I had done on the ‘It’s on Us’ campaign led by Joe Biden to combat sexual assault on college campuses, and I wanted to have a larger impact on the community as a whole.
He explained that “SGA has a direct link to the administration; we are like the voice for the students towards the administration.”
This semester, his main focus within the association lies in ensuring greater voter registration. On Sept. 25, Fleischman and other SGA representatives set up a table at Case Center and registered over 100 students to vote.
“I want to get more students involved in voter registration and politics,” Fleischman said. “I think that if our generation comes out to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, this will make a very big impact on the way politicians and leaders see us”.
Senior Class President Nigel Smith ’19 has held the position of Class President since his freshman year. For him, the upcoming semester will bring the start of a new initiative “State of the Students (SOSA),” a forum where students can interact not only with Nigel and other members of SGA, but also with local chamber members and officials of the town.
Smith initially joined SGA for a sense of community. He explained that “When I first entered Skidmore, there was an encounter in Saratoga Springs that wasn’t the best and at first, I was worried that I didn’t make the right decision in picking a school.” The only way he could shake off that feeling, was “by immersing myself in the school and the community. And that’s what I did by running for the position of Class President”.
Since then, Smith has kept running. Right now his position requires more a lot more responsibility than in past years.
“My main duty is to make sure that I am catering first and foremost to my class year,” explained Smith. “I’m also the Chair of the ICC (Inter Council Class). I have a big mentoring responsibility serving on the Executive Committee and on Senate, so that is another huge priority of mine."
He had three crucial pieces of advice for any student looking to be involved in SGA:
“First, it’s all about being the student of the students and understanding first how you fit into the student body population,” Smith said. “I am a student, and I am also my class’s voice. Secondly, make sure that you are able to balance your time well; SGA-related things are going to take time and need your attention. Thirdly, be willing to collaborate, not only with faculty and staff, but with other students in executing events or certain goals for the school.”
There are currently around thirty students in SGA, but that number will grow with the new wave of first-years joining. While the elections may be over, that was not the last opportunity for interested students to participate in SGA.
“If someone decides that they want to be involved in SGA but didn’t run in elections at the start of the year, they can do so by applying for a position under the category of ‘Willingness to Serve,” Borthwick said.
It is never too late for passionate, interested students to make their voices heard on this campus. All someone needs is fifty signatures, and an idea.