Student Government leaders discuss fall semester plans


Student Government meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. (Photo by Trebor Maitin ’24 for Lafayette College Student Government)

The Student Government Executive Board hopes to implement several projects this semester that will streamline the operations of their organization and enhance the student experience on campus.  

According to Student Government President Matwos “Matt” Tadesse ‘24, a main goal is rewriting the Student Government constitution, a project that began last year when the number of members on Student Government as well as the number of committees was slashed. The new constitution, if passed, will formalize many of these changes with the intention of ensuring maximum efficiency.

“We have less members now than we did last year. But the good thing is everything seems to be more efficient now,” Tadesse said. “People are maybe more engaged, everybody knows what everybody else is doing.” 

The Student Government hopes to vote on these proposed changes by next week and then present them to the Board of Trustees for final approval by October, Tadesse said.  

In line with this large structural change, the Budget Committee plans to spend much of this semester evaluating how effectively the new budget request process has run before preparing for the spring semester. Budget Committee Director Jordan Shaibani ‘24 explained that her committee is also considering alternative funding options for clubs. 

“We’re taking the time to sit and talk [with clubs],” she said. “And if we haven’t gotten to talk to them yet, we have meetings already scheduled … We want to take into account [concerns] for next semester, or even this current semester.” 

To further ensure that club operations run smoothly, Olivia Puzio ‘25, director of Student Organizations, said that her committee plans to hold “club chats” once a semester in which club members can meet and discuss any questions they may have. The Committee also plans to update OurCampus to ensure that contact information is accurate, and the possibility of bringing back the club magazine — a feature of all the clubs on campus — for the spring semester is not out of the question. 

Another main goal of the executive board is to support the Pard Pantry, the free food pantry in the basement of Farinon. Student Government Vice President Fatimata Cham ‘23, who directed the Pard Pantry last year, said that she is considering expanding it so that it is available for the entirety of the school year instead of just during breaks. Before Student Government asks the college for more funding, however, it must determine the number of people who use the Pard Pantry.

Cham is also leading the menstrual equity initiative on campus. This project, which began last school year, places free menstrual products in campus bathrooms. With 18 dispensers currently in academic buildings around campus, Cham is considering the possibility of expansion.  

“At the moment, we’re … going through each building, seeing what the current status of it is and if the school has been filling dispensers,” she said. “[We’re] also trying to gauge the community’s response to having the dispensers on campus.” 

In the shorter run, the Equity and Inclusion Committee is working with OUT to plan the LGBTQ+ Formal for Oct. 14. While details including the location of the formal are yet to be determined, Equity and Inclusion Committee Director Shreya Raizada ‘25 said that the event will offer an opportunity for everyone on campus to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, which is in October.  

On the Academic Affairs Committee, Director Olivia Lattanzi ‘23 is planning several projects.

In addition to solidifying a textbook buyback program and working with the Gateway Career Center on offering more networking opportunities, Lattanzi says the main goal of this semester is to compile a mental health guide for students that will supplement the resources offered by the Counseling Center. The guide, which should be completed by the midpoint of the semester, will offer advice and suggestions for students on how to talk with professors about mental health crises.  

The Sustainability Committee is working on four main initiatives. First, it hopes to continue the work to ensure that the investments in the college’s endowment align with the college’s mission statement. Second, it plans to pioneer a composting program. Third, it will be revisiting and reviewing the pouring rights contract that brought aluminum cans to campus in an effort to replace plastic. Lastly, it will work with dining halls and enhance the work of the Food Recovery Network to prevent food waste and feed people in the Easton community.

“I think we’re at a window of opportunity. So I definitely encourage anyone who’s interested in partaking to reach out because we’ll be needing support,” Remy Oktay ’24, director of the Sustainability Committee, said.

It is crucial that, amid all of these projects, the student body stays informed about Student Government and its operations, according to Trebor Maitin ’24, director of the Public Relations and Marketing Committee.

Transparency and connecting with everyone on campus will remain a priority going forward.

“We’re really, really excited to work with everybody on campus. And we really want to build relationships. That’s something that I feel like we were missing in the past and I’m really excited to be able to do that,” Tadesse said.  

Kelsey Wong ‘25, director of the Student Services Committee, and Jonathan Pursell ‘23, director of Greek Life Committee, could not be reached for comment.

Disclaimer: News Editor Emma Chen ’24 is a representative on the Equity and Inclusion Committee and Managing Editor Trebor Maitin ’24 is the PR and Marketing director for Student Government. Neither contributed writing or reporting to this story.