By Hung Tran ’15, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus
A lot of students tend to think of our student government as a group of people who close themselves off in the insulated basement of Burton Morgan, proposing and debating about topics that do not affect student life in an otherwise tangible way.
Let me try entertaining two other perspectives. First, we are not a student body that is complacent with the status quo. A stagnant community is a deteriorating community, and is inherently a culture that is not ours. Each of us improve as individuals every day, and we come together to advance as a community.
Second, these students who choose to give as little as one or as many as three hours in that chamber every week are nobody unfamiliar. Outside of that debating chamber, they are the friends in one of your class, organizations, residential halls, etc. Each of us brings a little of our personal experience and interest to the chamber to work toward breaking the status quo and to move us forward, together.
Tonight will be our last “moving forward” session, the last Senate of the 2013-2014 school year. The year has come and gone, and we — as a student body — can now be proud to look back and say to ourselves, “Not bad, huh?” With a smile, of course.
Our community has been saddened with a most tragic event – the passing away of a fellow member. Only through such an event could we see the strength of our bonds: I still remember vividly the groups of students together going through the halls and forests, as well as the multitude present at Swasey Chapel. This collective sincerity spoke directly to our values as a community.
Although the problem of community marginalization has never stopped being an issue, we have seen the strengthening of means of campus discourse that seek to address these problems. We now have #WeTooAreDenison, a student initiative to empower others facing marginalization through social media. We see the flourishment of Sustained Dialogue, and each of us are a living account of discussion’s potential.
Also regarding the conversation aspect, the DCGA initiated meaningful forums and debates about its initiatives (smoking proposal, reserve fund proposal, campus security).Some argue that we are doing too much talking, but how else would problems be analyzed and addressed other than through vigorous dialogue?
This year we have achieved some unimaginables. In the big picture, we are most proud of two accomplishments. The reserve fund project and E.B. Mumford’s expansion of our language program will leave meaningful and long-lasting impacts on Denison and its people for years to come.
We finally chose to move forward with investment into capital renovation. Reconfiguring the Roost and other social spaces to improve student experience was also a success. Plaudits go to the innovative sponsors of the proposals and the Finance Committee with the unyielding leadership of Kiara Sim ‘14.
As soon as we come back this August, we very probably will have seen a great new improved Denison, more community-centered and exciting.