The Student Government Association is made up of a group of passionate and determined students who wish to improve the Castleton University campus. Because these students are put into a position of power, they are expected to be professionals.
Without communication and training with one another, however, members say they could fall short of their duties. During the weekend of March 3, SGA members attended a retreat in Lake George, New York to build a better connection with one another and to become better leaders.
The retreat consisted of presentations on ethics, building character, the difference between bias and hate crimes and leadership building. SGA President Tyler Anderson attended the retreat for a second time. The previous year, Anderson was just an attendee, but this year he was a presenter and organizer.
“This time it was nice because I was able to go and give knowledge as well as take some away. Overall it was very enriching,” Anderson said.
Dean of Students Dennis Proulx’s presentation on ethics struck well with Anderson.
“As a business major we have to deal with ethics a lot. So having Dennis speak on ethics and talk about them, giving us certain situations that we wouldn’t normally deal with, learning how to deal with them, and seeing things from both sides was really nice. I was able to connect that back to my education,” Anderson said.
Vice President of Campus Activities Bre Morse also attended the retreat.
“I presented on building character and finding out what’s important to people. A lot of people presented on that but I think it was needed because a lot of time we lose ourselves when we’re in a leadership role,” Morse said.
The favorite part for both Morse and Anderson was seeing the enthusiasm of the underclassman wanting to take on new SGA positions in the future. But Morse also realized something about herself and her fellow SGA members.
“It brought us a lot closer and made us and myself realize that we probably have been doing things that the student body doesn’t agree with like funding clubs. We made those decisions for a reason and we gotta support those decisions whether we voted for them or not,” Morse said.
Though SGA tries it’s best to make Castleton University the best is can be, students still don’t seem to see the good in SGA. People tend to think of them as a bank for clubs or some type of clique. It is this stigma that SGA members want to break.
“People see SGA as this cult-type thing which is a little weird, but we’re not a cult at all. Our meetings are completely open, anybody can attend and anybody can say anything. We literally love talking to students and hearing what they have to say,” Morse said.
Morse believes that the stigma of SGA being exclusive makes students feel like they can’t come to them. She wants students not only to reach out to SGA but to also come to meetings to learn who the members are and what they do.
Anderson shares similar thoughts and feeling with Morse.
“Yes we get flack for the money we spend. But something that is important to realize is that we are the representatives of the students and we can’t do our job efficiently if we don’t have training,” Anderson said.
Anderson continued, “At the table when we sit at congress, a lot of different things come up and difficult issues. Dealing with those is not always easy. So being able to take a step back and away from the table and reflect upon the experiences we’ve had and learn from them was really nice.”
However, he still feels discouraged that students get upset when SGA spends money on things like the retreat. Regardless, Anderson said he is pleased that everyone who attended the retreat was able to take something away from it and was able to bond with each other.
In other SGA news:
- The Cycling Team was approved a budget of $6,110 for a new bike trailer, pop up tent, table, rentals and race fees. The approval came with the stipulation that Chris Chapdelaine must insure and maintain the teams trailer and must show proof in writing. The team must also return the pop-up tent and table to SGA at the end of the year.
- The Disc Golf committee met and members decided that they want an 18-hole course with the best quality materials to reduce maintenance. Their next meeting will work out the fine details.
- Men’s Rugby was approved $2,250 for coaches, along with officials, an ambulance and a Porto Potty for Scorpion Bowl.
- Delegate Sarah Liell has resigned from SGA.
- The SGA elections will be held April 12.