The Voice of Students

On Tuesday evenings during the academic year, Colby-Sawyer’s Student Government Association (SGA) gathered in Ware 005 to discuss the latest happenings on campus. As president, senior Amira Eid led the weekly meetings, listening to reports from senators in the group.

As the end of the year drew closer, Amira reflected on her time with SGA. “I got elected my junior year. It was something that I was so proud of, but I didn’t realize it was going to be an insane amount of work and just juggling being an athlete here on campus, in SGA and involved in other clubs and organizations. I prioritized student government, but I didn’t realize how much of a time commitment it was going to be.”

Amira started as a senator in SGA her first and sophomore years, but the change to a leadership role came with some struggles. She said, “Being president, you take more of a role, and a lead, and are more in charge of a whole group — and that I had to kind of learn. Navigating was probably the hardest thing for me to do.” Her junior year proved to have even more challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I was overwhelmed,” she remembered. “There was a lot more that I felt like I had to do in order to be a good representation for the student body. I was always in communication with the senior leadership team. It was just a lot more to keep up with. I absolutely loved it, but it was also very hectic and stressful at times.”

As for the future of SGA, Amira hopes that it will remain mostly the same, but she also wishes for some changes. “I think there’s a lot that goes on behind, it’s not necessarily closed doors, but we don’t really publish our minutes or kind of talk about what we do or what we’ve accomplished. I mean, I write them in my Board of Trustees reports and everything, but they’re not publicized, so a lot of the students don’t see that. In the future, I hope that they do so students can see that physical change and have that physical copy of change, but I do hope that they continue a strong relationship between faculty and staff because at a small school like Colby-Sawyer that’s what we thrive on.”

SGA senator Meredith Ellis, who serves as a student representative for the SAVE and Safety Committees on campus, sees this lack of connection between students and the group manifest itself in the way organization is perceived. She said, “A lot of people complain that SGA doesn’t do anything, and they complain that SGA doesn’t listen to students or that it’s just a private little group. Except all of our meetings are completely open and students are always allowed to step in and hear. We have an open floor at the end that if someone has a complaint they want to talk about, we try to address it. SGA does stuff kind of behind the scenes. At one point, students wanted more lights on the quad, so we put lights on the trees and stuff and most students probably didn’t know that it was SGA. It’s kind of like those small things. Or scheduling the town meetings, like the ones that we had during COVID, that was SGA scheduling it and saying, ‘hey we need to bring attention to this, so let’s get everyone open to this.’ The one after the majors got changed, so many students were complaining to SGA — which is great, we want to hear the complaints. We do want to hear complaints because we do want to make a difference.”

Meredith, a junior biology major, saw an opportunity with SGA. She said, “I wanted to be involved more on campus. I’m already involved in clubs and everything, but I always know that if there’s the right people in an organization like SGA, they can get the right things done.”

Much like Meredith, Amira sees her role in SGAas rewarding because they created change through the communication between the faculty and staff and students on campus. Amira said, “I think that’s been the best experience that I’ve had — just knowing that I’ve listened to the students and went forward and tried to make changes as much as I can.”