SGA Fall 2016 Legislative Recap

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2 issue of The Collegian. 

EMILY KONDZIOLA – News Editor, Secretary of Public Relations

The 84th Student Government Association on November 20 officially went into recess until February. Although no legislation can be presented to the senate until this time, various members of the SGA will continue to think and reform ideas to better the student body.

In looking back on the semester the Student Senate passed 28 bills and resolutions, with one being vetoed by Student Body President Jacob Miller. At this time last year, the Student Senate had only passed 12 pieces of legislation with one being vetoed by then President Laird Goertzen. According to results from the SGA performance survey, the Student Senate had a 79.9% approval rating among students who responded. 

Notable legislation that was passed includes a bill that defunds the Thresher Yearbook. Traditionally, funding for the creation of the book fell under the SGA, but due to lack of interest in both creation and demand, SGA axed funding for the Thresher Yearbook permanently. All students who were set to receive a yearbook will have $30 refunded to their student account. 

The original bill to cut funding to the Thresher Yearbook was vetoed by President Miller, but the veto was overridden with a ⅔ majority vote of the senate on October 16, 2016. 

In addition, the SGA voted to change the name of the Student Activity Fee to the Student Government Fee, increase the fee by 15%, and change the fee to be a one-time charge in the Fall semester. Despite all of these proposals being approved by the senate to be implemented, the measures failed to pass when presented to the Bethel Board of Directors in October. 

Also in October the Student Senate voted to commend Lucas DuPriest, senior from Sweden, on being the male recipient of the NAIA 2016 A.O. Duer Scholarship. The scholarship, which has been awarded to one male and one female athlete since 1967, recognizes academics, character, and citizenship. The Student Senate voted unanimously to commend DuPriest on a job well done.  

In November, junior senator Ryne Preheim from Reedley Calif., and senior senator Isaac Dunn from Fresno Calif., presented the Preheim-Dunn Constituency Accountability Act that requires each senator to hold two discussion sessions a semester with their class. The measure was voted on and passed unanimously. 

In their last meeting of the Fall semester, the SGA responded to a student petition by passing a resolution denouncing the Dakota Access Pipeline as a violation of Native American rights.  

Over the course of the semester, the SGA had to replace three commuter senators and one junior senator who had stepped down from their position in the SGA. Once the senate reconvenes in the spring, the organization will have to replace one senior senator spot. 

Additional work done by the senate can be found under the Bills & Minutes tab. 

Bethel College Student Government Denounces Dakota Access Pipeline

This past Sunday, November 20, the Student Government unanimously passed Resolution #84-028 to denounce the Dakota Access Pipeline as a violation of Native American rights.

The vote comes after the Environmental Action Club (EAC) submitted a petition calling for the SGA to denounce the pipeline due to its violation of Native American waters. The petition had 143 signatures, which represents 30% of the student body.

Westen Gesell, senior from Winnipeg and member of the EAC, said in a statement to the SGA:

“I am excited to hear that the petition for SGA to denounce the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as the treatment of protectors at Standing Rock, went through. I feel that such action from the Student Government Association is in accordance with the values that are at the heart of the Bethel College community. I also recognize that there is much more that can be done by those who Stand with Standing Rock, including donating, being there ourselves, and calling/mailing governmental representatives calling on them to support the actions of the protectors. There is an opportunity for members of the student body to take further action this coming Monday evening (the 28th of November) when the Environmental Action Committee will be hosting a letter-signing event, with letters being sent to [state] government representatives.”

 

Any further questions can be sent to the Student Government at sga@bethelks.edu.

Articles of Impeachment against Student Body President Jacob Miller Fail

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Jacob Miller – Student Body President

On Monday, October 30, seven members of the Student Government co-created a Letter of Impeachment against Student Body President Jacob Miller. The letter cited Misfeasance, the illegal or improper performance of a legal and proper act or duty, Malfeasance, or misconduct or wrongful act, especially by an elected or appointed official, and Nonfeasance, or failure to perform an act that is either an official duty or a legal requirement.

The co-authors of the letter are as follows:

Speaker of the Senate and Junior Senator Cayla Lawless

Secretary of Diversity Zachary Preheim

Secretary of Student Activities Mareike Bergen

Chief of Staff Alec Loganbill

Secretary of the Senate and Senior Senator Grace Bradfield

At-Large Senator Lara Scott

Sophomore Senator Mallory Case

In a soon to be released vote, the senate gained at least 2/3 majority on Wednesday, November 2, to enact Articles of Impeachment against President Miller. Miller was then suspended from his role as Student Body President and Student Body Vice-President Kiley Varney assumed his spot as Acting President.

The articles were then presented to the judicial council for a 3/4 vote to impeach President Miller. The judicial council ruled on Sunday, November 6, that there were not sufficient grounds for impeachment and reversed the Articles of Impeachment. Miller is scheduled to re-take office soon.

In an email to the student body, Miller was optimistic about the incident, saying: “Let’s move forward together as a student body. I still love Bethel, and [I] am proud to be your President.”

Further questions or concerns about the impeachment trial or President Miller can be sent to sga@bethelks.edu.

President White offers Entrepreneurial Grants

This article originally appeared in issue one of The Collegian. Applications for the grant can be found on the SGA website under the finance tab.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-4-08-19-pm    Written by Cameron Pickens

Starting this fall, Bethel College will be offering grants to entrepreneurial members of the Bethel College community who want to make change. The purpose of the Bethel College Entrepreneurial Grants is a broadening of the learning experience of the entire Bethel community, which means that all students, faculty and staff can apply.

“Colleges and universities like Bethel College struggle to remain relevant,” said President Perry White. “Our hope is to build a greater entrepreneurial mindset. As an industry, higher education needs to be more innovative than we [the Bethel community] have been.” Rosa Barrera, assistant to the president, is accepting proposals for these grants now. The deadline for submission is Nov. 1, 2016. Three $3,000 grants will be available to the Bethel community members who apply.

The Proposal Selection Committee will award the grants by voting. Two of the eight members of the committee are students on the Student Government Strategic Planning Committee: JDaijon Sumpter, junior from Bonsall, Calif. and Meredith Stone, junior from Clovis, Calif. The two will have 25% of the voting power in awarding these grants. The proposals, according to the Proposal Selection Committee, will be judged and chosen on three areas: adherence to the objectives outlined on the “Extending our Heritage, Expanding our Impact” Strategic Plan, potential for return on investment for Bethel College, and potential for replication by others on our campus.

Student Body President Jacob Miller, senior from Westmoreland, said, “President White aims to be entrepreneurial motivated and these three grants satisfy that innovation. I hope everyone who has an entrepreneurial idea will attempt the application.” White explained that the committee would determine the appropriate return for each specific investment. The determined return may not always be monetary, but will somehow benefit Bethel College. “I would love to see a new wave of higher education and to see some of the creativity and fun come out,” White said.

Proposal Selection Committee Member and student Meredith Stone said that students, faculty and staff should think out of the box when creating innovative ideas for the proposals. According to Stone, the application and Strategic Plan documents will be posted on the Student Government Association’s website for easy access for students, and on Thresher Connect for faculty and staff. The steps for applying are simple.

First, create an innovative, repeatable self-sustainable proposal. Second, fill out the application. Stone recommends on the application, “Give as much information about your idea as possible, but be direct.” The application has six questions. Each question pertains to aspects of the proposal and requires a maximum word count of 250 words.

Once the application is done, send it to Rosa Barrera, assistant to president. The Proposal Selection Committee plans to have a decision made for each of the three grants as soon as possible, once all of the applications are submitted by Nov. 1, 2016. Stone, White, Miller and members of the Proposal Selection Committee will be available for questions. A list of the committee members can be found on the bottom of the application sheet.

Mid-Summer Executive Update

The Executive Council has been hard at work this summer preparing for the upcoming school year. Here is a brief look at what they have been up to:

Jacob Miller, President

  • Appointed students to serve on board committees
  • Wrote welcome letters and speeches for the Fall
  • Started working to create the first-ever Bethel College undergraduate research journal.

Kiley Varney, Vice President

  • Gave suggestions for board committees
  • Added goals to the SGA goal sheet
  • Began research into Bethel’s time sheet system

Mareike Bergen, Secretary of Student Activities

  • Attended the S.P.I.R.I.T Conference in South Carolina
  • Finalized activities for Welcome Week in August
  • Scheduled student activities for the entire Fall semester

Alec Loganbill, Chief of Staff

  • Reviewed the financial status of the school newspaper, The Collegian, and the Bethel yearbook, The Thresher
  • Began gathering information on Student Policies
  • Gave suggestions for board committees

Zachary Preheim, Secretary of Diversity Affairs

  • Evaluated other Diversity Councils for ideas to improve Bethel’s
  • Planned diversity convocations
  • Kept contact with current Diversity Council members

Emily Kondziola, Secretary of Public Relations

  • Organized the Fall SGA photo shoot
  • Created a plan to increase student access to SGA social media
  • Began collaboration to connect an online version of the Collegian to the SGA website

The 84th SGA is now in session.

On Friday, May 13th, the 84th session of SGA began as newly elected and appointed officers took their oath of office at Convocation.  

Chief Justice Kelsey Peterson recognized and thanked those who served in the 83rd session of the Student Government Association.  

Some of the highlights of the work done by the members of the 83rd session are: 

  • restructuring of the Student Activities Council
  • creation of a Diversity Council and new executive position to head up the council
  • a very successful first year for the Judicial Council who heard many cases and received much positive feedback
  • launch of the SGA website
  • 2 public forums to gather student ideas, answer questions, and hear concerns
  • an investigation of the housing policy, including a student survey
  • installation of the Student Activity Fee
  • approval of Senator stipends beginning in the fall of 2016
  • continued work by student representatives on the college’s Strategic Planning Task Force

After the 83rd SGA was recognized and thanked, the members of the 84th SGA were then introduced and asked to take their oath of office, and the 84th SGA was called to session.  

It’s been a successful year to say the least.  There has been a lot of quality, determination, and passion that has gone in to the work that has been done by everyone in SGA.  Thanks again to everyone who has served and will serve our organization, school, and community.  We look forward to continuing the work that has been started as well as initiating new projects and conversations in this new session!

SGA doesn’t just write bills…

…we cook, too!

Last night, the Student Activities Council hosted an Iron Chef competition as part of Spring Fling week.  Prizes were awarded to the top three finishing teams, and a team of SGA officers took first!

ironchef

The team consisted of President-elect Jacob Miller, Chief Justice Kelsey Peterson, Senator Serena Wong, Associate Justice Daniel Ratzlaff, and Vice-President-elect Kiley Varney.

Each team consisted of a handful of people.  Teams were given access to various foods, spices, utensils, and tools, and were given 45 minutes to create a delectable entreé.  Everyone participating also had to incorporate 3 secret ingredients into their dish: chicken, pineapple, and avocado.

The SGA team ended up making an Asian-Pacific Teriyaki Grilled Chicken dish on a bed of sauteèd green with a side of avocado pepper salsa in a pineapple bowl.  That dish won the most favor with the judges and took first place!

 

Election Season is Upon Us!

No, not the Presidential Election season.  Although that too is just around the corner.

We are talking about SGA Election Season!  It’s that time of year when petitions become available and students can run for office.  Every person in the Student Government Association holds his or her seat for only one year.  Current SGA officers will have to run for a spot again, and new members can be elected into office.

We heard a lot of really great feedback during our convocation a couple of weeks ago.  We want to continue to hear your voices, opinions, and ideas.  The best way to help create positive change is to get involved — so run for office!

The President/Vice President petition deadline has already passed, but the positions below are still up for grabs!  

  • At-Large Senator
  • Commuter Senator
  • Senior Senator (3 seats)
  • Junior Senator (3 seats)
  • Sophomore Senator (3 seats)

Senate petitions will be available starting March 29th, and they are due by April 4th.  These can be found on our website or in the Office of Student Life.

Freshman Senator elections will be held in the fall after incoming freshmen arrive.

Interested in getting even more involved?  Consider an Executive Council position.  These positions are appointed by the newly elected Student Body President, unlike the rest of the seats in SGA.  Contact an SGA member or Gabriel Fonseca (gfonseca@bethelks.edu) if you are interested in serving on the Executive Council.

Being on SGA means getting leadership experience, seeing firsthand how government works, and getting to be a part of new and exciting initiatives on campus.  

Check out the link below to find out more!

Get Involved with SGA

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week

March 15 – 19 is Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week at Bethel!  SGA is putting on the event and offering all faculty and staff of Bethel College a free 12 oz. Mojo’s drink during the rest of this week.

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Faculty and staff should receive coupons in their campus boxes that they can present at Mojo’s for a free drink.

This is our way of saying thank you to the faculty and staff for all that you do for us every single day.  It’s because of them that we are able to learn, grow, and thrive in this community.  We appreciate everything that they do for us and we hope that they enjoy their Mojo’s!

 

 

Voter Registration: a Success!

Last Sunday and Monday evenings, the Will Academic Center computer labs were filled with students from 7-9pm.  These students weren’t using the computers to write papers or create graphs or make presentations, though.  They were getting registered to vote! 

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Students get registered to vote at the SGA Voter Registration Event (Photo credit: Aida Martinez and the other SGA volunteers at the event)

This is the second year that SGA has hosted a Voter Registration event.  Several volunteers from SGA were available to help students get registered online.

The Voter Registration event was set up to help get students registered to vote in all kinds of elections — local, state, and national.  Even for students who are from out of state, SGA provided instructions and resources to aid in getting them registered.  

The event had a very large turnout and helped dozens of students get registered to vote.  Pizza, drinks, and snacks were available to students who came to the event as well.

Thanks to everyone who helped in the event and to everyone who showed up!  SGA plans to continue this tradition in the years to come.