Minutes from SGA meeting on February 22, 2012

Eastern Mennonite University

Student Government Association Senate


22nd of February 2012

You may never know what results come of your action,

but if you do nothing there will be no result.-Mahatma Gandhi


  1. Call to Order


II.             Roll Call/Prayer

III.             Approval of Minutes passed unanimously.

IV.             Announcements

V.            Committee Reporting

a. Erika: Strategic Planning Council

  1. 1.    They approved items on the university’s strategic plan. The second half of the meeting luke Hartman presented his plan with enrollment/talked about retention (retention rate is about 78%/graduation rate is about 62%)—patterns, etc. IS also presented some new ideas.

b. Alli & Tyler: Cross Cultural Committee

  1. Members voted on the new proposals for fall 2014/spring 2015. Fall- phillipines and balkans. Spring- middle east and Guatemala. There were changes made to the Korea and Ecuador cross culturals for summer 2013. There are leadership changes that will happen for the Ecuador cross cultural, as the previous leader is no longer teaching at EMU, but right now they want to preserve the trip.

c. Katie: SLS

  1. Originally, we wanted to bring in local speakers for the SLS, but recently an idea was proposed to bring in Bell Hooks—an author/philosopher. Katie is in contact with Deanna, trying to get Bell to come to Harrisonburg—perhaps collaborate with JMU to bring her? If that works out, it will use all funds in the SLS fund.

d. Sam & Carissa: Transitions

  1. Carissa has been talking with Mark Sawin about including transfer students in the Honors Program. There are some issues with GPA’s that need to be worked out. They are talking about changing the program so that students can apply at the end of their freshman year to enter the Honors Program.

VI.            Old Business

VII.   New Business

a. Jim Yoder: Green Fatigue

  1. Jim is the chair of the Making Peace with Creation committee (known on campus as “QEP”). They want to get feedback from SGA to see how we think this is going/what students perceptions are of how well they think this theme is being integrated into the classroom. The freshman college writing course last year was centered on sustainability and they also added an outcome to one class in each discipline to have sustainability integrated into that course. Sam shared that he felt (as a computer science major) that sometimes sustainability is forced into the classroom in ways that are not helpful/relevant. Alli and Becca shared that because sometimes “sustainability” is forced into contexts where it is not natural or relevant, students have become tired of the concept and others have to apologize for talking about it. It has become overused, which is sad because it is such a critical concept/issue. Taylor shared that sometimes the word is used in shallow contexts and therefore students grow tired of it. James wished that there were other ways to create a practical application of “sustainability”—have it be more personally applied to each student, rather than a vague learning outcome. Alli shared that paper waste is really common—are there practical ways to cut down on consumption as part of our pledge to sustainability? Jim asked how students would define “sustainability”—many senators said that students primarily see it as solely environmental sustainability—i.e hand dryers, composting, recycling, etc. Jim asked if any of us have had professors address the issue of sustainability in any other context besides the environment. Alli said that in her linguistics class they discussed the sustainability of dying languages, Sam reminded us about the campus ministries theme “Sustain You”. Some senators shared that the word sustainability has lost its meaning to many—it just goes in one ear and out the other. The Peace With Creation team put together a framework for sustainability on campus, trying to convey that sustainability goes beyond the environment—making connections with social, economic, spiritual sustainability. Jim is concerned that students are not hearing that message. Carissa said that in Transitions class, they asked students to define “sustainability” but then didn’t address it after that, which seemed unhelpful. She said that freshmen need to be told why sustainability is important to EMU/they need some background. Jim asked juniors and seniors what their perceptions “sustainability” since they were around when the QEP campaign/implementation happened. Brandon shared that when the QEP implementation happened many students knew it went beyond environmental sustainability, but Katie disagreed. She said that because of the title (Making Peace with Creation) many students didn’t know. She shared Brandon’s sentiments, however, that the parts of sustainability that is about sustaining oneself and social sustainability, etc. are really important. Jim said that they had to be careful how they conveyed the “Sustainability” accreditation to students (especially freshmen and sophomores). Ken said that it was important that students know that sustainability affects their lives in whatever career they choose/it affects students in every academic context. Jim said that he would love to hear further feedback from students if they have more to share.

b. The Freethought Coalition Constitution

  1. Vi suggested that in Article II: Membership, they change the wording to “people of any religious affiliation are encouraged to come and” as opposed to “but”. Brandon suggested that they define “active member” under Article IX. They should change the spelling of “adviser” to “advisor.” James proposed that in Article III: Elections, they clarify how a president is voted in—i.e by a 2/3rds vote, etc. Carissa and Becca voiced concern about the wording of “should be prepared to potentially have their views respectfully challenged” in Article II: Membership. Elias said that he felt it should stay because they may expect members to have a more secular mindset. Vi suggested ending the sentence after “discussion”—“people of any religious affiliation are encouraged to come participate in the discussion.” Ken said that one question that would come up in the President’s Cabinet would be the nature of the Secular Student Alliance that they want to affiliate themselves with. He said that they should clarify what it means to be an affiliate of the Secular Student Alliance (what do they require? Will they have to pay dues?)—what do they stand for that makes it beneficial for EMU to be affiliated with them or would it be a risky organization to be connected to? Vi said they should change the wording of “between” in line two of Article 1 to “among.” Vi also suggested that they add in some more welcoming language.

            c. USO Meeting Summary

  1. Erika and Hannah met with the USO and talked a lot about budgeting—they told all club leaders what they need to turn in, in order to apply for funding for next year.

VIII.  Open Floor

  1. Carissa shared that it was difficult to hear each other in the President’s Room (where we met tonight). Tyler said that if we advertised the meetings and had a presence before the meeting (like a snack time outside the President’s Room) may welcome more students to sit in on the meeting. We will meet here again next week and may try the pre-meeting snack time.

IX.            Adjournment Tyler moved to adjourn. Taylor seconded.