By Erin Dickinson ’24, Staff Writer
The 2020 fall semester has brought many changes to the St. John Fisher College community, affecting students of all majors, classes, and backgrounds. With many of these changes being handed down from the college administration, it can be difficult for students to feel like their concerns are being heard and represented. One group on campus is hoping to change that.
The St. John Fisher Student Government Association (SGA), is an organization whose role on campus has shifted over the years.
“The SGA used to be very well-known for giving back to the community”, said SGA President Michael Lilholt. “Now, we are looking for SGA to represent the needs of the student body.”
In order to achieve this representation, a young SGA executive board has spent the semester laying the groundwork for change. According to Lilholt, the E-Board is currently working to rewrite its constitution and bylaws, a step he hopes will guide the organization into a new chapter.
Along with a rewritten constitution, the organization has started work on a variety of new goals.
“We have been meeting with directors from various groups on campus,” said Lilholt. “We want to work on building the relationship between faculty and students, and give the student body more representation.”
When asked about areas that need improvement on campus, Lilholt referenced a desire to grow a more robust campus culture.
“[St. John Fisher] is a very young college, which is something that not a lot of people may realize. Because of that, we have an opportunity to be a part of shaping the culture on campus and starting traditions.”
In order to facilitate this campus culture, the SGA is looking towards the weekends. In early October, the organization sent out a survey to the student body and used the results to set goals that represented the wants and needs of the students. Of the 480 students who responded, over half expressed a wish for more in-person weekend activities on campus. Lilholt acknowledged this, saying “Most colleges define nightlife as activities occurring between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m, and by that definition, Fisher has no nightlife. We are hoping to change this… we don’t want students to go home on the weekends.”
Work has already begun to address these issues. After analyzing responses to the survey, committees have been formed to work towards improving student life. For weekend activities, the Vice President of Clubs and Organizations, Emily King, is chairing a committee specifically aimed towards increasing on-campus weekend participation. Committees such as this one depend on participation from the SGA Senate, which has grown into a group of 38 students from its previous count of just 11.
One unique characteristic of the 2020-21 SGA executive board is the relative young age of the group. All seven members of the board are underclassmen, to include six sophomores and one freshman. This is also true of the SGA senate; while some upperclassmen are involved, the organization is currently dominated by underclassmen.
Lilholt sees this as a great asset. “We see our young age as a positive thing… We’re seeing great results very early on. We’ve put in the time so far, and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we have a long way to go.”