By Davis Metzger ’19
Two weeks ago, the GCSA Student Government passed several milestones. The Forum of November the 16th contained, what is to my knowledge, the longest debate over a single issue the Student Government has ever had (over four and a half hours). It was also the first time in at least a decade that the Student Government has passed a resolution anything like the one crafted that night. It will be one for the books.
Let me begin by thanking all the students who participated in the conversation and process surrounding the resolution. Governments of all sizes are only legitimate and effective when the citizenry participates. The students of Gordon College deserve a compliment for performing this civic duty.
With that being said, I am not (in this Op-Ed) interested in re-hashing the content of the resolution itself. I have spilt considerable ink elsewhere on that subject already and ultimately prefer face-to-face communication for ideological discussions anyway. Instead, I would like to take a chance to extol the influence and scope of our Student Government.
The incoming and outgoing Student Body Presidents and Vice Presidents of CCCU schools (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) gather once a year to exchange ideas and discuss the different structures and functions of our respective institutions. I have been to two such summits and can say with certainty that the Student Government at Gordon is far and away one of the most powerful and autonomous student governments among our peer institutions. We have one of the highest per capita budgets, and have a much wider scope of influence than most other student governments.
Many students are admittedly unaware of all that the GCSA Student Government does. I don’t begrudge the students for this. Most of you are nearly constantly knee deep in school work and extracurriculars of your own while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. I get it. That being said, these past weeks may be an effective reminder or awakening to the size and scope of the Student Government’s jurisdiction.
The GCSA Student Government manages a budget well over a quarter million dollars. We charter and maintain the vast majority of all on-campus organizations. We fund research trips, we bring speakers to campus, we finance school dances and events like Globes and Goose. These are functions of the student government with which many of you were already familiar.
What may be less known to many students is that we serve as the chief liaisons to the members of the Administration. What is more, they listen when we speak.
The Student Government is the primary touchstone for staff and faculty to interact with the sentiment of the campus on the whole. The vast majority of this expression occurs not in publicly drafted resolutions by the Forum, but rather in regular meetings between members of the Student Body President’s Cabinet and members of the College President’s Cabinet.
But a resolution expressing campus sentiment to the members of the Administration is well within the purview of the Forum of Students. It is not an action to be used lightly, but it is a tool in our belt. Beyond the execution of the express content of the resolution passed by the Forum, my hope is that these last few weeks may serve for students as a reminder of the power and prerogative of the student government.
So how do I land this plane of an Op-Ed? You, O reader, have an opportunity available to you this coming spring. Serving as a member of the Student Government is in my confident opinion the premier leadership opportunity afforded to students at Gordon College.
There are elections and applications for all the Student Government positions. Christmas will come faster than we think, and the elections soon after that. If you participated in the conversation earlier this month (or if you wish you had), consider a position next year.
The Representatives and the members of the Cabinet have real influence on campus. The resolution we passed is a testament to that. The Gordon College Student Association is comprised of students and exists for the benefit of students. We would love to have you on the team.