State of Sewanee: the need for strengthening trust in our community

unnamed

By Mac Bouldin

President of the Student Government Association

I would like to welcome everyone to what promises to be an exciting and meaningful year here on the Mountain. I am happy to announce that we have elected an executive cabinet, and I encourage you to visit our website where you can find their names as well as the other dedicated students who will represent the student body on SGA this year. Soon the class of 2022 will elect an additional five students to join us, each will play an important role in the work to come. However,  it will take participation from all members of the Sewanee community to overcome the obstacles ahead.

This year, the Student Government Association will be working with students, faculty and the administration to address a broad range of issues in our community. While the scope of our work is wide-ranging, I believe there are three issues in particular that we should work to improve as a community.

These “Big Three” goals are: reducing the prevalence of sexual assault, promoting diversity and inclusion at every level, and curbing substance abuse. While none of these issues can be solved in a year, we hope to generate dialogue and foster cooperation that will allow the work to continue well past our time here. One of the greatest obstacles we must overcome in our pursuit of these goals is reestablishing a foundation of trust between all members of our community.

It seems that this trust has eroded in recent years in several ways. Some students have grown frustrated with the administration. This frustration stems from a perceived inequality and inconsistency in the treatment of various forms of misconduct. Part of the problem is a lack of transparency and communication. For students it can seem like the rules change without warning, or are enforced arbitrarily, which fuels mistrust. SGA will increase its role as an intermediary, and will work to get students and the administration back on the same page.

However, improving dialogue with administrators alone is not enough. Each of us must do a greater job at engaging one another—as students, peers, and neighbors. If we really want to improve our campus and our community then we must do so together. Throughout the year SGA will work to help facilitate this process, but it will take everyone.

As part of this initiative, SGA will be making a greater effort to incorporate more students from across campus in SGA initiatives, as well as getting SGA more involved with some wonderful projects already being pioneered by other student groups. Some of these include working with the Dance Marathon and St. Jude to help raise money for worthy charities, working with the CEEP Fellows and Center for Civic Engagement to help register students to vote in the upcoming elections, and with Intergroup Dialogue classes to host a community discussion tentatively scheduled for November 14th.

Never hesitate to reach out to myself or one of your Senators for help along the way. We are always looking for new ways to help strengthen and improve the Sewanee community.

 

EQB, YSR,
Mac Bouldin

Leave a Reply