The Colgate Scene
January 2006

A message from SGA President Amy Dudley '06
Relationship-building and empowerment

Amy Dudley '06 talks with Colgate President Rebecca S. Chopp in her office. As Student Government Association president, Dudley works closely with President Chopp on a variety of issues. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
SGA alumni
The SGA wants to hear from you! If you are interested in sharing your experiences or perspective on student government at Colgate, as well as any memories of Colgate athletic traditions that could help the Student Athletics Task Force, send an e-mail to sga@mail.colgate.edu.

I am honored to be writing in place of President Chopp as a guest columnist. As this year's Student Government Association president, I've had the pleasure of working closely with our university's president on numerous occasions, building one of the most valuable relationships I have had in my years of leadership on this campus. Whether catching up on Colgate issues that make it onto both of our desks, or serving on the Dean of the College Search Committee, President Chopp has provided much kind encouragement and evenhanded support.

Amy G. Dudley

Student Government Association President

Hometown: Brookfield, Conn.

Majors: political science, peace and conflict studies

Other activities:
Office of Admission senior intern
Dean of the College Search Committee
Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority
Colgate Geneva Study Group (spring '05)
Breast Cancer Awareness Coalition
Pi Alpha Sigma national political science honor society
Gamma Sigma Alpha national Greek honor society
varsity field hockey (fall '02 - spring '04)
Dean's Award for Academic Excellence (fall '03 - spring '05)
George W. Cobb Fellowship (spring '03)

I've been asked to share a bit about this year's SGA initiatives and goals, as well as our accomplishments thus far. With the first semester of our tenure complete, it is clear to both Preston Burnes (SGA vice president) and me that the simple philosophy of relationship-building has led us to where we are today. Relationships with our peers, faculty, administrators, and staff have led to new levels of accessibility for the SGA. Colgate has taught us that courage and persistence can go a long way and ultimately lead you toward your desired goal. As well, SGA's alumni network is a relationship that we would like to expand upon. I'll say more about that later.

This year, we approached our term in office with the philosophy of relationship-building in mind, and a desire to instill this philosophy within our senators. We sought to tweak the process by which we work so as to make the SGA's structure more effective and efficient for our larger student body, while helping to instill critical leadership skills within our senators. Rather than enacting an executively led agenda, we chose to shift toward a committee-based structure that would empower the senators to work on the issues that are important to them and delegate more responsibility and accountability to individuals. To do so, we shifted our meeting schedule from the large-scale debates normally held by the entire senate every Tuesday evening, to every other week, with bi-monthly committee meetings in between. Such a significant change has yielded advantages as well as disadvantages that have taught us even more in the process.

Senators have embraced the opportunity to spend more time in their individual committees, where they've cultivated their own initiatives, including constitutional and student organization reform, town-gown relations and new initiatives in downtown Hamilton, issues arising during the Case Library renovation, and protocols for campus e-mail communication. They've had the opportunity to more closely engage with students, and to meet with administrators and other necessary actors.

To highlight a few endeavors, the academic affairs committee has worked with the university library staff to respond to requests for additional student services such as expanded study space, hours of operation, and wireless Internet access during the current renovation project. A subcommittee has also been created to assist in gathering student feedback for Sodexho, Colgate's dining services provider. The committee plans to survey students, as well as work with Sodexho representatives to identify opportunities to make changes or improvements that students may be interested in based on the surveys. These committees illustrate our new grassroots approach to enacting positive change for the student body.

Internal change has also been a focus. Last spring, a constitutional revision committee was established to evaluate and propose recommendations for the SGA constitution. Eight senators worked hard last semester to prepare a revised constitution, with reform focused on representation and elections processes, as well as the makeup of the Budget Allocations Committee, which maintains and evaluates new, as well as established, SGA-recognized student organizations that are eligible for Budget Allocations Committee (BAC) funding. The group has worked to establish more stringent protocols in order to ensure continued success and legitimacy for the future of Colgate student government.

We hope that as elected leaders of the student body we've given our senators the freedom to spread their wings across campus, with the goal of strengthening the role of SGA senator and granting well-deserved prestige.

Preston and I also formed a new relationship between the SGA and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) late last semester to establish the Student Athletics Task Force. A select group of student-athletes as well as non-athletes is exchanging dialogue about what we perceive as an overall lack of excitement toward our competitive Division I athletic teams, which has shown itself through decreased game attendance by students. In addition to productive brainstorming and receiving strong support from President Chopp and athletics director David Roach on this new initiative, we hope to solicit other perspectives on Colgate's athletic tradition and help in addressing the current state of 'gate athletics. For example, we've heard of more than a few quirky Colgate traditions from the past, and we hope to tap that vibrant athletic spirit to bring back the "roar" of the Chenango Valley.

Of course, there is much more concrete work to be done, and with the spring semester upon us, we are anxious for the momentum created through the committee initiatives last fall to pick up speed. As our dear friend and mentor, Dean Raj Bellani, recently said, "You laid the track for your executive board and senators to embark on. Now it's your job to steer them in the right direction." For both Preston and myself, every role we have played at Colgate has been a positive learning experience in civic education, and as the leaders of the SGA, the case has been no different.

I want to emphasize how much we would also like to build new relationships with alumni of Colgate's SGA. For one, establishing a historical record of goals and accomplishments, failures and successes, of past SGA administrations could offer valuable insight for current and future leaders of student government. With that in mind, we'd love to hear from you, and we'd also be happy to offer our perspective to keep you informed of issues pertaining to the interests of students, from the perspective of students.

Top of page
Table of contents
<< Previous: Facilitators and mentors Next: ...the treasure hunters >>