On February 10 in the Pinkard Room, Goucher Student Government (GSG), held its first retreat of the semester. In its current iteration, GSG is comprised of sixteen Senators, and two Co-Presidents (all listed at the end of this article). Their advisors are Stacy Cooper Patterson, Associate Dean of Students for Community Life, and Aisha Rivers, Director of Student Engagement. (Both of their offices are in the Office of Student Engagement, which is in the left side of the Mary Fisher lobby.)
GSG is in a transitional stage in terms of both structure and in creating institutional memory and continuity. An ongoing conversation throughout the retreat centered around the goals of GSG and how its members go about achieving those goals. Underpinning this conversation was a larger discussion about how GSG has been organized on an interior level in the past, and how to use that knowledge to create an institution that fulfills a need within the Goucher community. A key piece of this is that the GSG constitution now allows for two Co-Presidents to hold office, an amendment made last fall.
GSG Co-President, Samuel Anderson (‘21), explained that the reasoning for having two people hold this position model is to “ease the burden of one individual.” He added that both Co-Presidents are on the same level of the horizontal hierarchy as one another: there is no President or Vice President split. Co-President Noah Block (‘21), added that a key goal of this configuration is “collaboration.” As presented and discussed during the retreat, GSG in its current iteration seeks to model a horizontal leadership structure that shares power and responsibility evenly amongst its eighteen members.
Given this framework, a conversation that members of GSG began and returned to throughout the retreat centered around what the role of a Senator is right now, and to imagine what it can possibly look like. One senator mentioned that as a Senator, they are here “because we are all student leaders.” They discussed how horizontal structures allow individual senators to bring their personal passions to the group and work on them collaboratively, without taking orders or instructions from the top of the hierarchy. Senator Jibril Howard (‘22), spoke of Senators as visible connectors between students and each other or other members of the campus community. Senator Lilith Saylor, (‘20), raised concerns about this allowing GSG to be “too fluid,” and Senator Terrin Calder-Rosen (‘19), added that members of campus administration have questions about how Student Government functions and who to consult when seeking student feedback.
Other discussions that began at this retreat included ways to build on the record-setting 40% voter turnout for GSG elections last semester; ways to learn from previous leaders within GSG and its precursor, Student Government Association (SGA); and personal campaigns each senator was interested in taking on in order to build coalitions across campus with the common goal of improving Goucher, its climate, and how it functions as a whole. Senator Campbell Shepard (‘22), a member of the men’s soccer team, mentioned working with head men’s lacrosse coach Bryan Laut to generate continuing dialogue among athletes relating to toxic masculinity. Senator Em Lassen (‘21), proposed building on their role as secretary of Equal Access in order to work with student groups to improve accessibility across campus life.
The Quindecim will continue reporting onGSG meetings that are open to the student body as well as potentially reporting future retreats such as this one.
Goucher Student Government members:
- Samuel Anderson (Co-President), class of 2021
- Noah Block (Co-President), class of 2021
- Terrin Rosen, class of 2019
- Sarah Piohia, class of 2019
- Lilith Saylor, class of 2020
- Zac Kassay, class of 2020 (currently abroad)
- Marie Mokuba, class of 2021
- Claire Corliss, class of 2021
- Em Lassen, class of 2021
- Xavier Rivers, class of 2021
- Alexandra DiGiovanni, Class of 2022
- Yuchen Ding, Class of 2022
- Alistair Watson, Class of 2022
- Derrick Burnette, Class of 2022
- Ty’lor Schnella, Class of 2022
- Derek Borowsky, Class of 2022
- Campbell Shepard, Class of 2022
- Jibril Howard, Class of 2022