First SGA Meeting Introduces Some Changes

PARKER FISKE ’18
STAFF WRITER
The Student Government Association (SGA) met for the first time on Sunday, October 1st, since the election of 19 new members the week before. SGA president, Emily Claytor ’18, began the meeting by foregrounding the goals for the school year. She focused on the success of the restructured Freshman Year Orientation program, specifically the warm reception of the Bantam Walk that brought freshman into downtown Hartford to learn about the city. Claytor stressed the importance of an orientation program. “[I want freshmen to have a] greater knowledge of themselves, the Trinity Community, and the local Hartford community,” said Claytor. The second pillar of her three-pronged-agenda is promoting Trinity pride through a collection of community events. And, her third and most ambitious goal is to increase student interest in engaging in the larger Hartford area. After a formal call to order the group proceeded with introductions, and each member said a fun fact about him or herself.
Freshman Senator Brendan Clark ’21 was met with a mix of gasps and applause when he told the body about his collection of 57 suits; he wears one of the 57 on a daily basis. The body then broke into sections based on class year. Senior Class President Austin Lamothe ‘18, although starting her first semester as class president, lead the senior representatives in an extensive conversation about the agenda for the calendar year. The group began a preliminary conversation about the specifics of Senior Snowball. Lamothe’s main initiative is to change the event to a Saturday so athletes can attend. The organization of senior week events, such as Senior Week in 100 Days will also be on the agenda for the coming months.
Dean Joe DiChristina then addressed the body to discuss his initiative to craft a formal off-campus living policy. He prefaced the statement by saying Trinity lacks a written off-campus living policy. In 2008, the school encouraged 200 students to live off campus while the reconstruction of the long walk took place, and the policy never adapted to the changing times. Trinity currently has 10% of students living off campus in places on Allen or Broad Street, although any building that the college does not own, including some fraternity houses, count as off-campus. While his initiative is tentative and in the early stages, the measures would likely barr first and second year students from living off campus. In an email to the SGA and IDC, Dean Joe enumerated his rationale for the policy, writing, “ Residing in college housing is an integral part of the Trinity educational experience that will be further enhanced through the forthcoming strategic plan.” Many in SGA expressed concerns about the plan, like recently elected Senator Sherri Liao 18’, who feared that a conversation about living off campus must be met with a correlated talk about housing lottery reform. She articulated that many students live off campus either because of their poor lottery number or desire to preserve it for later years. Freshman Senator Brendan Clark ’21 feared that the proposal might disenfranchise those who live off campus for financial reasons, and undermine more economical options than campus housing.

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