I am a Senator elected by the Class of 2021 to serve as a representative in Goucher Student Government (GSG) Senate. I recently sat down with with Sam Anderson ‘21 to talk about his resignation as Co-President of GSG on September 15. The goal of this article is to update the community on structural changes GSG has undergone in the past few weeks, why these changes occurred, and give some clarity as to what Goucher can expect from GSG moving forwards.
My tenure in GSG began in November of 2018. Before then, I read my email to stay updated on GSG goings-on, but was otherwise uninvolved with the organization. I don’t know if I even voted during elections my first year. I began to know more about GSG when I heard my friends in Senate talk about some of the issues present in the structure of the organization. I was asked to run for Senate by Noah Block in November 2018. I decided to run in the uncontested race, and was elected by my peers. From then on, I have been extremely engaged with Student Government. I have worked alongside my fellow representatives and was just as surprised as others when Sam Anderson resigned as Co-President of GSG.
On September 24 I asked Sam some questions about his time in GSG, as a Senator, President, and Co-President. I started the conversation by asking him to tell me why he wanted to be in GSG and why he wanted to lead. His response was at once enlightening and familiar to me. His early misconceptions of GSG and how that was so different from the reality were extremely similar to what I felt when I ran and began my time in GSG:
“As soon as I got into GSG I had a wake up call as to really what the group was doing or what we were going to be able to accomplish because I really didn’t know what GSG was,” Sam began. “Or what it was about.”
The reality of GSG has changed over my time as a Senator, and this was true for Sam possibly more than anyone else in the Senate. This changed the way Sam experienced his role in Senate and contributed to his departure from GSG. Later in our conversation, Sam told me why he decided to step back from Student Government while maintaining his other advocacy roles within the Goucher community:
“I’ve dealt with periods of stress and the burden of a ton of work coming at me because of student government in the past but what was different…from what happened in this past semester it… was really exciting work and it was fun and then at this point it has just been the negative stress and negative work and so I decided to not force myself to keep doing that and to instead shift to organizing work and definitely not step back at all from the things I’m passionate about but do it on my own terms.”
Sam recently organized The Exchange, on Wednesday, September 25 during Common Hour (1:15-2:30pm) on Van Meter Highway. It was an opportunity for organizations on campus to exchange ideas and information with the Goucher community.
When I asked him what he wanted other students to know about GSG or other organizing efforts on campus, Sam wanted his peers to know their importance.
“Students, and my friends and my peers should really recognize the importance of students and being a student on a college campus…we don’t have to just let things happen, if we disagree with something, we really have power to make a change, but it takes collective action and it takes talking to each other and working together to make that change.”
Sam ended by saying,
“Students know the most about what it means to be a student right now…We can best speak to that notion of what it means to be here right now.”
I cannot overstate the importance of collaboration and collective action. One way members of the Goucher community have been trying to make change using collective action is through Goucher Student Government.
There have been some recent structural changes in the way GSG functions. With Sam Anderson resigning from his position as Co-President, Noah Block has become the sole occupant of the GSG Presidential Office. As President, Noah has made a shift in the direction of reintroducing an Executive Board to assist the Presidential Office in the management of GSG. This shift aims to create a more horizontal distribution of power, as opposed to a traditional vertical hierarchy of power. Equitable distribution of power through this change to an Executive Board mean some of the responsibilities of the Presidential Office are shared among multiple members of GSG and not everything will be the President’s responsibility. This change will most likely go into effect by the next meeting of GSG, on Tuesday, October 1st 2019. To hear more about this change, come to the meeting at 7 PM in ATH 125, also known as Old OSE, between Alice’s Patio and the Student Store. Another way to keep updated regarding these changes is to read your emails from GSG, follow @goucherstugov on Instagram and Facebook and check out our website: https://blogs.goucher.edu/gsg/
Note: My experiences and opinions are my own and do not represent Goucher Student Government as a whole. I believe it is important to have a framing of my individuality within the context of a larger organization. I cannot speak to other Senators’ or community members’ personal experiences. I can only speak to my own and what I have gathered in my role as a student and representative.
By: Em Lassen