The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student Government introduces hours system to foster accountability

Photo by Thania Hernandez for The Lafayette
Trebor Maitin ’24 and Emma Chen ’24 hope that their resolution will increase engagement within Student Government.

Last week, Student Government passed a resolution calling for the enactment of an hours system in which General Body members would be required to complete five hours of work towards Student Government initiatives outside of the work they complete for their committees and the General Body. Executive Board members would have to complete 10 hours of this work.

Some examples of these activities that would fulfill these hours, as stated in the resolution, “include tabling, voter mobilization [and] Student Government errands.”

The resolution was passed with 13 yeas, three nays and three abstentions. 

The resolution was created by Equity and Inclusion Representative Emma Chen ‘24. Director of Public Relations and Marketing Trebor Maitin ‘24, who is also Parlimentarian-elect, contributed to the drafting of the resolution.

Chen, who is not reapplying for Student Government for the next term, wanted to leave an impact before she departed and “[leave] the organization better than [she] found it.”

“During my time in Student Government the past two years, it’s become very clear that all members of Student Government have very little motivation to participate in Student Government outside of their committees,” Chen said of her reasoning for proposing the resolution. 

Public Relations and Marketing Representative and Vice President-elect Thania Hernandez ‘25 agreed with Chen’s observations.

“I’ve only been on Student Government for a semester and that was enough to notice that there wasn’t enough engagement with some committees,” she said. 

Hernandez supported the resolution, saying that it will encourage more teamwork and transparency.

The new system is meant to encourage members of the general body to engage more in Student Government activities and to make the organization a more active presence on campus in completing these hours. These hours must be logged and sent to the Vice President and Parliamentarian by the end of the semester. 

If students do not follow through with this requirement, it is taken into consideration upon their reapplication the next year.

“My role as Parliamentarian … [is] to make sure the members of Student Government are holding up their end of the bargain,” Maitin said. “While this hours system isn’t necessarily something that can be enforced, it can be used when reviewing whether a member of Student Government wants to reapply.”

Some Student Government members expressed doubts about the proposal.   

“I think that currently, with the current system in Student Government, there aren’t enough hours to go around for people to actually log in 10 hours a semester,” Treasurer Areeb Atheeque ‘25, who abstained from the vote, said. “I think that if we implemented the system right now, people will actually be competing for hours, and that’s not the culture you want to have in Student Government.”

Student Organizations representative Jada Peters ‘24 shared similar concerns. 

“The reason [there are] not enough hours is because Student Government doesn’t invest in things that they should invest in,” Peters said. “If they’re going to implement something like this, they should take a step back to try and figure out what they can do within Student Government to allow more people to have things they can take initiative [with].”

Peters also said there are larger changes that ought to be addressed within Student Government before focusing on this system. 

“Yes, it’s a smart idea,” Peters said of the resolution, “I just don’t feel that’s the first step that we should be doing. I think that we should figure out what we as Student Government want to present to the people. You want people to table, you want people to do this, but there’s so much more that Student Government can do.” 

Atheeque believes that this system will be more effective in the future. 

“There are changes to the Constitution, and maybe the new revamp in Student Government, with new leaders as well, will make sure that [there are] more hours to go around and there’s more work to be done,” he said. 

This year already marks a new engagement in Student Government. Executive Board elections have received over triple the voter turnout as last year, and the organization received almost double the number of applications than it received in the last two years combined. 

“I think Student government is really trying to trend in a direction of more buy-in from the members … and I think that everything that is being done right now is trying to achieve that end,” Chen said.

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

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About the Contributor
Selma O'Malley, News Editor
Waiting for someone to write a sitcom about a college newspaper.

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