In a series of sessions on Wednesday February 17 and Thursday February 18, Assistant Dean of Students Brian Dietz and Chris Cribbs K’18 informed Kalamazoo College students of immediate opportunities to participate in the restructuring of Student Government.
The primary purpose for Student Government representatives, explained Dietz and Cribbs, will be to establish a new system in which students can have a voice in important decisions about the college. This system will essentially replace the old Student Commission, which has been mainly inactive since its indefinite suspension in 2015.
In this remodeled system, student representatives will serve on a range of committees. These committees fall into the two categories of Faculty & College Committees and Board of Trustee Committees where students can offer committee members insight into the thoughts of the student body regarding the topic of discussion. Student representatives should not worry about being experts on the committee’s topic. Dietz assured prospective applicants, “You’ll be well prepared to fulfill your role…. On the Board of Trustees Committees, your expertise is to be a student.”
Cribbs, an avid participant in the program and its remodeling, discussed differences between the new and old system. He explained that the previous system was quite broad, which made it difficult to implement real change. “When people are met with a whole range of options, there’s a tendency to do nothing,” said Cribbs.
Cribbs explained that the new Student Government is based on members holding specific committee spots, which allow for a more defined role, commenting, “That definition is what the old structure really lacked.”
Accepted applicants will attend an orientation on Thursday, February 25. There, they will receive further information on topics including procedures, expectations, and schedules. This orientation will be followed by regular meetings in which representatives can communicate across committees and discuss Student Government’s success as a whole.
Representatives will serve in their roles solely during the current and upcoming quarters. The hastiness of application process is due to the immediate restructuring that Student Government requires. As Cribbs said, “the longer that we wait, the more of a voice we lose.” Spring applicants for the 2016-2017 school year will be elected by the student body.
Prospective applicant Sarah Hannah K‘19 commented, “I feel like we’re going to set the stage for what comes next.”