Two CSM scholars, Orvell and Aquwon, saw the potential benefits of scholars participating in SGA and knew this organization was one they wanted to see represented at CSM.
“It started in Culture Club. We were talking about how students can speak up for themselves and we came up with the idea of proposing a student government at Collegiate.” CSM Junior Aquwon said.
To get their idea approved, Orvell and Aquwon created a proposal to be presented to the Collegiate Executive Committee - a committee consisting of the administrative leadership team for approving all school initiatives, activities, and events.
“We went in the first time, and we thought we had all the details. I personally think I went in a bit too overconfident and might have fumbled over a few things. We had to go back to the drawing board, and once we ironed out all of the fine details, we re-presented and we were able to get our ideas passed as the first, student-initiated SGA.” CSM senior Orvell said as he reflected on their attempts presenting the idea to the Executive Committee.
Student government at Collegiate will act as a liaison between the student body and the CSM leadership. SGA will be a part of the student life committee, serve as members of the Honor Council, pre-approve student-led initiatives, and have a say in policy decisions at CSM, all while participating in various leadership development exercises and retreats.
Orvell said, “I’m humbled and honored to be a part of such a significant project. Not only does it allow students to gain perspective on what leadership looks like, but it also allows students to be equipped with the fundamental tools to be a leader.”
The process for joining SGA will not be so different from what we see in political campaigning in our own communities. Scholars will apply to run for SGA offices as a team which consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Public Relations officer. The teams competing to be members of SGA will then debate questions created by faculty, staff, and students before the winning team is selected through a school-wide election.
Aquwon, who is planning on running for President, says he likes the idea of running as a team. “Running as a team holds the President more accountable because he or she has to show a lot more leadership. They have to make sure the whole team is ready and not just themselves.”
However, the work does not end after the election. Mr. Patterson, SGA’s faculty sponsor, shared, “I think for the student body it’s going to be challenging because they’re going to expect things to happen right away and not understand the process. I think it’s going to be a challenge for this SGA to learn that new proposals can’t be implemented overnight and some things are not worth changing.”
Even with its upcoming challenges, Aquwon, Orvell, and Mr. Patterson share a hope and excitement for the future of SGA at Collegiate.
Orvell stated, “If students feel like they have a voice and feel like they have a seat at the table, then they’ll be encouraged and they’ll be energized; ultimately, the student body will flourish.”
Mr. Patterson spoke on the importance of having an SGA at CSM. “It can be scary for some educators to have this sort of student representation and pushback, but I think it’s really important for the students to have that voice. I’m excited. I hope they’re pushing us and challenging us and our ideas...It’s also good for the school leaders to have this connection with the student body; you’re molding the next generation of leaders at the end of the day. I think SGA is something that’s going to be powerful and hopefully is something that shines and gets bigger and bigger and bigger."
SGA will hold a debate and election at Collegiate before the end of the 2020-2021 school year.