The St. Olaf Student Government Association (SGA) is a student-run group that represents the student body and aims to engage the community through student-led programming. SGA also aims to tackle student concerns ranging from mental health, sexual assault and racism on campus through student senate meetings and various initiatives.
SGA is led by a pair of executives, a President and a Vice-President. Currently, the Vice-President position sits vacant. However, this year’s President, Melie Ekunno ’21, is still determined to strengthen the campus community despite the challenge COVID-19 presents.
The Ekunno’s eight part platform ranges from issues surrounding environmental sustainability, first year engagement and indigenious people restitution.
Ekunno was busy this summer preparing for fall 2020, meeting with branch coordinators to create a healthy and engaging year while advocating for change.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the departure of Professor Michelle Gibbs, alumni groups and students used social media to discuss racial injustices on campus. Students voiced concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy threatening international students.
In an attempt to seek action, Ekunno and prior Vice-President Leander Krawinkel ’21, along with the rest of SGA’s Executive team, released a list of demands that pertains to COVID concerns, racial injustice and international student concerns.
“This is nationwide, and global concerns that affect students here. And we are elected to be representatives of everyone on campus, we are here for everyone. SGA is about advocating for students, something that needs to be heard or amplified, we are here for them,” Ekunno said. “Know that I won’t give up, I will be tireless in advocating for concerns of students on campus.”
Students can find Ekunno in the Office of Student Activities (OSA) and are encouraged to stop by during her office hours to bring ideas, concerns or just to chat.
The entire Student Government Association is made up of nine branches that cover different aspects of student life on campus, providing support and outlets for the student body’s interest. Events on campus may look a little different this year due to COVID policies limiting group gatherings.
The Political Awareness Committee (PAC) seeks to engage the student body in political dialogue, often bringing in high profile speakers in the Fall and the Spring. In the past, PAC has brought in Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, as well as renowned sociologist Patrica Hill Collins. The Board Of Regents Student Committee (BoRSC) facilitates communication between students and the College’s Board of Regents, bringing concerns and interests to the governing body of St. Olaf. The Student Organizations Committee (SOC) approves, funds and creates Official Student Organizations, and offers support for students who are interested in creating a new club. The Diversity Initiative Support Committee (DISC) focuses on supporting, and funding organizations created by historically marginalized groups. The Volunteer Network (VN) is committed to providing students with opportunities to volunteer both on campus and in the larger community.
Student Activities Committee (SAC), Music Entertainment Committee (MEC) and After Dark Committee (ADC)are the primary organizations that provide students with a range of fun events. Concerts, game nights and dances are just a few of the events these committees organize. As well, after attending any of these events, the Lion’s Pause will be there with pizza and ice cream waiting.
All students are encouraged to be a part of any of these committees and will have booths available at the activities fair.
Another vital part of SGA are the student led initiatives focused on a variety of areas that seek to increase the health and safety of students. The Greater than Campaign is dedicated to advocating for mental health resources on campus. The SGA Task Force Against Racism (STAR) seeks institutional change on campus with the goal over overcoming racism, in and out of the classroom. SGA, the Wellness Center and Sexual Assault Resource Network (SARN) partned together for the It’s On Us initative aiming to prevent sexual assault on campus. And the most recent SGA initiative, the Textbook Project, seeks to provide affordable and accessible textbooks and other academic resources for students.
SGA Student Senate is made up of elected student representatives alongside the SGA President and Vice President, ensuring each group of students is represented. Positions include class year, multicultural, international, student life, curriculum, gender and sexuality and environmental senators. Senate meets every Tuesday at 6:30. Location is TBD due to COVID-19, where in the past meetings have been live streamed via social media and archived onto the Oleville website. Senate meetings are a place for students to advocate for change or bring new ideas forward.
Senators and various SGA positions are elected in both spring and fall elections. All students including first years are encouraged to be involved in the senate or any of SGA’s branches. Not all positions are elected—go to https://oleville.com/ or stop by the OSA for more information on how to get involved.