Fall 2022 Student Government Highlights: What to Expect for Next Semester

By Angelina Persaud, Asst. News Editor

Manhattan College’s Student Government Association (SGA) is putting mental health at the top of their upcoming agenda, alongside initiatives focused on uniting and supporting the college’s community. 

SGA’s executive board expressed much enthusiasm regarding campus life and the potential plans they have in store for students. Alixandria James, a senior public health major with a concentration in healthcare administration, serves as the vice president for academic affairs of SGA. 

James told The Quadrangle that the communication between students and the SGA serves a vital role in ensuring that everyone’s needs are heard and addressed down the line. 

“ If I ever hear anything from other students, I always do my best to figure out who we can go to,” James said. “If we get an email from students on campus who want to do something or change something… within a couple days, they have a response about when they can come and meet with us. We’re very open to new ideas I’d say.” 

James also emphasized the importance of the mental health campaign and the ongoing plan to initiate the Jasper Day of Wellness for the Spring 2023 semester. 

“My big project this year has actually been working to get classes canceled so that it can really be a day of wellness,” James said. “So far, the president and the provost have been very receptive. We already have picked a date in the spring. We have been able to cancel classes that fall within a suitable [time range].”

The ‘Day of Wellness’ will include a variety of panels and activities throughout the day that will encourage students and faculty to prioritize their mental health throughout the semester. 

James also spoke about the importance these initiatives will hold in the future and how it can instill a healthy, clear pathway between administration and meeting the needs of the students.

“We all come here to get an education, but for a lot of us, we live here, this is our home,” James said. “We leave our families and we come here, so I feel that it’s really important to see that not just students care about their mental health, but to see that our faculty and our administrators care about our mental health.” 

Calissa McNeely, a senior international studies major and SGA president, told The Quadrangle about the achievements the organization has gathered over the semester. Namely, she emphasized the increase in communication between administration and SGA, Manhattan Madness and other annual events that have been successful so far. 

“Something student government’s done internally, is we have now fostered a better line of communication between the VP of our schools and their deans,” McNeely said. “We’re now regularly meeting with each other. Manhattan madness was one where we worked collaboratively with the athletics department, recreation and had gotten student input on the T shirt designs.”

McNeely highlighted the need for access to various offices and faculty members to ensure student needs are thoroughly addressed. 

“Having more accessible communication to different offices, different administrators, and also not letting that access to be cherry picked,” McNeely said. “It would be nice for students to know all the access they have…and to make sure they leave here feeling well prepared, and they’ve utilized all the resources they could here.” 

John Bennett, the assistant vice president of student life, spoke about the effort SGA has put into planning events post-COVID and how event planning has shifted following the pandemic. 

“I think SGA has been given a harder task that people realize this year, in the fact that while their budgets have been cut since the pre-COVID days, the number of groups have only expanded since then,” Bennett wrote in an email to the Quadrangle. “Taking care of their already existing groups and clubs and initiatives, helping support the new ones, all with a smaller budget…but being fully operational, in person, running all these great events on and off campus, it’s a balancing act that I don’t think SGA gets enough credit for.”

Bennett also emphasized the upcoming events planned between Student Engagement and SGA and the hopes he has to see the MC community come together and participate in. 

“Just like Madness is the highest attended event of the fall semester, we know Springfest will be for the spring, but by the time students come back from winter break, it seems nonstop to that point,” Bennett wrote. “The Senior Class Reps, VP of Social Life, and Executive Board have also been spending a lot of time advocating for students and the graduating class to have a great set of senior class events.”

Jasper Angels, Student Government Executive board. @JASPERSANGELS/ COURTESY

Michael Steele, the assistant director of student engagement, told The Quadrangle that the connection between student engagement and SGA has been impactful in ensuring all activities are carried out to full potential for students. 

“I’m proud of how our student groups are collaborating with each other and with various offices across campus. I would like that to continue for next semester,” Steele wrote in an email to the Quadrangle. 

Members of SGA and Student Engagement encourage students and members of the MC community to participate in upcoming events and delve into the realm of student life. Leaders told The Quadrangle they also encourage community members and students to be vocal about the types of events they want to attend so that everyone can have a holistic and enjoyable experience at MC. 

“Our office is here to serve our students and give them a good experience, so it’s important that there’s communication with our office, and usually that comes in the form of Student Government, to make sure students are having the events they want on campus,” Bennett wrote. 

“Our one goal of student government is to make sure that students have points of access and resources so that we can advocate for them,” McNeely said. “And if my student ever has an initiative that they would want to see the campus, they’re always more than welcome to come to our meetings.” 

Student Government meetings are held every other Wednesday at noon and are open to anyone in the MC community to attend.