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SGA Retreat Inspires Leadership and Emotion

During this year’s Student Government Association (SGA) retreat members discussed more student involvement on campus and focused on providing service to the local community.

Alex Gibson speaking to the SGA bodies during the Hunger Hurts banquet

SGA President Alex Gibson was elected during the spring term of 2007. Gibson’s campaign focused on a new student government devoted to action instead of apathy. During the weekend of September 14, Gibson took the first steps in delivering what he had promised by holding the annual SGA retreat.

The SGA retreat is a weekend long event that trains incoming officers and sets a tone for the direction the organization wants to pursue for the year. This year’s retreat was unlike any other in SGA history. Officer training, elections of leaders for various branches, and individual bonding were still at a forefront but there were also new activities not seen in past retreats.

Some components of this year’s retreat included documentaries about Fair Trade, an Oxfam University activity game, and a “Hunger Hurts” banquet. The banquet was given to show people the effects of hunger and economical status. Students were randomly divided into three groups. The smallest group sat at an opulent table and was served a fine dining meal. The next largest group was seated along the wall and was served rice and beans and water. The largest group, which was to represent the lowest economic class, was served plain rice and dirty water. Students went into the room not knowing what to expect, or what the random seating meant, and were surprised to find out what was going on. While the students ate, Gibson explained the effect that hunger has around the world. Danielle King, Former BOR chair, was brought to tears by Gibson’s demonstration. “I was crying,” she said, “because every three seconds when he snapped his fingers, a child was dying.”

When asked why he was refocusing the retreat Gibson responded, “We refocused the scope of the retreat because we are refocusing the scope of the SGA. We cannot tolerate some of the old mentalities that existed in past administrations. We are trying to make people become agents of change.”

Gibson explained that the service aspect of this retreat was not to make people want to join a hunger drive, or fight for any of the causes he presented. “This would be great” he said, “but I did this because when people are passionate about one thing it will make them passionate about others as well.”

The weekend retreat also gave birth to new leadership. Junior Terri Daugherty was elected the Board of Residents Chair (BOR), and Junior Class President Beth Coleman was elected Speaker of the House.

Gibson indicated that he wants the SGA to be more accountable this year, stating, “It is my goal to have a student government that works hard and cares about changing Berea’s campus and the world, and to challenge everyone to be more committed to our words.”

Every BC student who pays an activity fee is a member of the SGA and is invited to sit in on meetings and voice their opinion. Some of the topics the SGA plans on tackling in the coming months are issues with parking, printers, visitation, and global injustice. Any questions, ideas, or goals can be directed to any SGA officer, or by coming to a meeting. The BOR will be meeting Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. and the Senate meetings are to be announced.

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