By Alyssa Sanford
The Student Government general body session on Wednesday, Sept. 2, marked the beginning of a new year of governance. It was replete with the passage of two bills, a presentation on the new Lion’s House and introductions between cabinet and prospective members.
President Casey Dowling and Executive Vice President Javier Nicasio welcomed all prospective members, seated on the right side of the room. After elected officials voted on B-F2015-01, revisions to SG’s constitution, and B-F2015-02, an overhaul of their bylaws, Nicasio turned to the group.
“Don’t let what we just did scare you,” Nicasio said to the seemingly bewildered faces in the crowd.
Prior to the voting process, Nicasio introduced Christopher Freeman, the supervisor of the College’s new Collegiate Recovery Community, to the general body for a presentation on Lion’s House and late night activities geared toward those in recovery from substance abuse.
Freeman, who was recently hired by the College, began his presentation by asking the general body members if they could guess what percentage of college students abuse alcohol and other substances.
“It’s about 30 percent,” said Freeman, after a wide range of percentages were thrown out. “On a campus this size, that’s about 2,000 students.”
Freeman referenced Cop Shop, the campus police blotter that appears in The Signal, highlighting an incident last semester where a highly intoxicated student was discovered in the Spiritual Center by campus police. It’s an incident that exemplifies “the negative consequences (associated with) drugs and alcohol.”
For most students, drinking is simply a hallmark of the typical college experience, but for “about six percent” of the student body — approximately 200 students on a campus this size — it becomes a “substance dependence” issue, according to Freeman.
That’s why the College created the Collegiate Recovery Community, so that students who require counseling, or a housing option that is free of potential temptations, can thrive in a “supportive community,” Freeman said.
The Collegiate Recovery Community also strives to provide students in recovery with programming on designated party nights at the College. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the community holds events like life-sized board games, trivia nights and DIY craft nights.
“We’re trying to create a culture in which those who do struggle with drugs and alcohol” can have a safe outlet, Freeman said.
The difference between the activities planned by the College Union Board and the Collegiate Recovery Committee, for example, is active participation. Instead of watching a musician play a set or enjoying a movie out on the lawn, the activities are engaging enough to provide a distraction on nights when a large percentage of the student body goes out.
After Freeman’s presentation, newly-elected cabinet members introduced themselves and explained their positions to both returning and prospective members.
Amanda Williams, vice president of Advancement, and Ryan Molicki, alternate student trustee, both discussed the upcoming fall elections for SG, which will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 8. For the first time, the online election system will run through Lion’s Gate. Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“I highly encourage (anyone who is not elected) to join the general member program,” Molicki said.
Next, class council presidents addressed the general body. First, senior class President Emily Montagna announced the year’s first Senior Night, which will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Later, junior class President Robert Kinloch announced that a Chipotle fundraiser is in the works. Kinloch also mentioned plans for a Junior Night fundraising event at Colonial Bowling which would be open to everyone on campus. Finally, sophomore class President Kelsey Capestro announced tentative plans for a moonlight cruise fundraiser in the upcoming months.