Students, faculty and members of the community gathered in Randolph Hall on Feb. for the State of the Student Body Address. (Photo by Brennan Baylis)
On Feb. 6, students and faculty alike came together in Randolph Hall to hear Student Government Association speak and address the College’s accomplishments during the 2012-2013 school year thus far.
The atmosphere before the speeches began was upbeat. The hall filled with roughly 40 students and faculty, visiting with each other as they found their seats. Clyde the Cougar even made an appearance to visit with the students.
This year, SGA hosted a competition for the event. The on-campus group with the most members present would win $150, the second highest, $100, and the third, $50 for their organization. Phi Gamma Delta fraternity had the most people present at the address, followed by the Trippintones and the Political Economy Club, tying for second and third place.
Heather Rapachietta, Student Body Treasurer, was the first speaker of the night. She stated that SGA made approximately $105,000 in funds for this year.
“The 65 different organizations on campus that receive these funds will make for rich and full CofC semester,” she said. “There has definitely been an improvement in active clubs on campus… Everyone on the whole is accomplishing everything. Not everyone at other schools can say that.”
Rapachietta also named other ways that our school’s money has been invested. One student received a grant to go on an archeological dig in France. Other funds were put towards Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, either through direct financial assistance or by sending student volunteers.
“This semester, my goal is to have $0 left. What I mean is, I want everyone to be able to use this money to their advantage, and everyone that wants to start a club and a project, will be able to do so,” she said.
Student Body Secretary Jordan Hensley, first explained her job, which involves working closely with over 200 student run organizations, and helping to start new clubs to get as many people involved as possible, and serving as Chair of the Student Organizational Board. This year 10 bills were passed to bring 10 new organizations to campus, including Water Polo Club and Charleston Vibes, an a cappella club.
“Three clubs were passed just this semester, with many more to come,” she said. “We have no Pirate Club yet, but if anyone is interested in starting one, or anything else, please let me know how we can help.”
Eric Hellstrom, Vice President, spoke next. One of his main responsibilities in his post is to chair Senate meetings. He urged anyone who is interested to consider becoming an SGA Senator. “It’s a great way to get involved… we’ve already accomplished so much this year,” he said. “Or if you have any suggestions to make our campus even better, please email one of your senators about your ideas.”
Student Body President, Erica Arbetter, was the final speaker and opened by expressing what an “honor and privilege it was to serve CofC.”
She then asked to take a moment of silence to honor our recently passed President Emeritus Theodore Stern. “He was a person we could all ever hope to become,” she said.
Arbetter discussed the three goals that she and others in the SGA office had for this year. “We wanted to make students’ voices more prominent, strengthen the campus community, and improve the quality of life for our students through solidarity… I believe we reached these goals and more.”
The speakers touched on the many changes that have been occurring on campus. This year, we voted to become part of the Colonial Athletic Association, moving all of our intercollegiate sporting events out of the Southern Conference and into a northern arena. In the dining halls all salad bars now contain some form of protein to give vegetarian students even more options at meal times. SGA also tackled the smoking issue on campus, and voted in support of a smoke free campus.
“We are stronger than ever, but always we have room for improvement. Like Dr. Stern, ‘no problems, only challenges’… we take pride in the present and have hope for the future,” Arbetter said, “Thank you to all of the groups who have contributed to a successful year: each student in SGA, without efforts never have achieved our goals; our administration for its continuous support. There’s no better way to say it than you’re the pillars to our Randolph Hall. And finally, every member of our student body… The voice of the students is the driving force on our campus.”
The Trippintones, featuring solos by Ashley Sears, Chelsea Cummings and Sam Warnick, performed a medley of different songs, to close the address.