SGA engagement and the health of the student body


Applications for Student Government Association (SGA) positions for the 2022-2023 academic year were due on March 30. In fact, the deadline was extended by senior Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh, president of SGA, from the original date of March 25 due to both technical issues and a lack of interest. Specifically, more senator applications were needed for the class of 2023, who will be seniors next year.

Throughout this year, SGA has had turnover in senate positions, sometimes having positions unfilled for multiple meetings. In an ideal world, interest in serving as an SGA senator would abound, but Trinity students often have a hard time taking their representative government seriously. However, if we want a campus environment where we feel SGA truly represents and makes change on behalf of students, the students need to be involved — from running for office, to voting, to providing feedback and engaging with SGA initiatives.

While SGA is ultimately responsible for the initiatives they do propose, many of them rely upon student involvement outside the student government. For example, at SGA’s meeting on Feb. 2, multiple senators brought up possibilities for making professors more aware of the high cost of textbooks they assign as well as creating avenues for students to access class materials in a more affordable manner. To clarify the problem of costly materials, SGA released a survey for students to submit how much they spent on textbooks at the beginning of the spring semester. Ultimately, this data would be helpful in formulating solutions to the problem. It’s data that can only be collected if students actually fill out the survey, which they could find if they follow SGA on social media. If they open SGA emails. If they read Trinitonian’s SGA briefs. The hope is that all students would be engaged in these ways, but the reality is that not all students are.

As Trinity enters a new era as an institution following a pandemic and with a new president for next academic year, a strong student government will make or break the student experience as a whole. SGA officers can only represent a student body that makes their desires known by providing feedback, keeping up with SGA initiatives and voting in elections. This engagement includes holding SGA accountable; if students are unhappy with their representatives, they have the right to express it and set higher standards the next time they vote. But apathy toward the student government is worse than displeasure. All students should care about who represents them and should contribute to a governing body that, if carried out properly, makes tangible progress on their behalf.