By: Mira Costello
Kicking off the semester, the Student Government Association held their first two meetings of the new year on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21 to discuss COVID-19 updates, new member appointments and changes to the SGA Constitution.
Faculty adviser Scott Strittmatter reminded students that appointments for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available at the Health and Wellness Center on campus. COVID-19 testing is also available. In accordance with CDC guidelines, students who test positive will only be required to isolate for five days. Vaccinated individuals will not have to quarantine if they are listed as a close contact to a COVID-positive person.
Proper mask-wearing will still be enforced, and students are encouraged to choose effective masks. KN95-type masks, which are available at the Gateway in the Administration Building, provide the most protection, followed by surgical masks and fabric masks, respectively.
Adviser Strittmatter also mentioned that the Build a Critter event on Jan. 11, during which students were provided kits to make stuffed animals wearing IU South Bend t-shirts, was highly successful, with all 200 kits gone before the event ended. Due to the popularity of the initiative, Strittmatter may coordinate to repeat it in the future.
On Jan. 21, meeting via Zoom, the SGA appointed four new members.
Haley Hessey, a Resident Assistant and transfer student enjoying her first year in-person at IU South Bend, was appointed to the Housing Liaison position. Having worked with members of the SGA in other settings, she is enthusiastic about joining the association.
Shamiso Chigadza, also an RA, was appointed to one of the open Associate Justice positions. She emphasized her value of leadership and commitment, and looks forward to serving the SGA with creativity and responsibility.
Marcus Bailey was appointed to the developing position of Chief Diversity Officer. As a new U.S. citizen who came to IU South Bend from the Caribbean, he said he is passionate about diversity and looks forward to exploring it at IU South Bend.
SGA Associate Justice Torie Monahan was appointed to the position of Chief Justice, left open following the resignation of previous Chief Justice Amber Owens. Now a junior, Monahan was the first freshman to serve as a representative in the SGA, and said she is excited to advance her leadership position on campus as a small step toward her career goal of Supreme Court Justice.
The SGA also discussed multiple revisions to their Constitution, one of which included moving its elections to March. In the past, elections have been slated to occur during the second full week of February, but they have not followed this schedule for the past two years.
President Rana Hamad and SGA senators also discussed the speak-out held by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee on Jan. 18, which helped the association identify potential areas for improvement. Senator Ariel Watts of the Student Engagement Committee said she hopes to spur more initiatives that will raise student awareness of opportunities for involvement on campus.
The Student Government Association’s meetings are public, and students are encouraged to attend, whether they would like to present a funding request or simply observe. This semester, the SGA will meet every Friday from 5-7 p.m. in SAC 206.