Allegheny Student Government participates in the energy challenge, returns to conversations about sexual assault

It was Tuesday night and the lights were low.

Allegheny Student Government took part in the annual October campus-wide energy challenge by turning off the lights to conserve electricity during its weekly general assembly meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Each year, ASG holds one of its October meetings in the dark in an attempt to help reach Allegheny’s sustainability goal.

ASG President Camila Gomez, ’19, asked members to refrain from using electronics during the meeting.

From water bottle refill stations to reusable to-go boxes, ASG has helped instrument a number of sustainable services around campus, so Cat Lord, ’20, director of sustainability and environmental affairs said turning the lights off was ASG’s attempt to support the ongoing challenge.

“Thank you for tolerating the dark,” Lord said. “We are doing this to support the energy challenge for all of October, so where you can, try to cut down on your energy. It will help with new projects.”

After Chief of Staff John Fazio, ’19, announced ASG is still looking for people to fill the academic standards and awards committee, two constitutions were presented for the assembly to consider from Amnesty International and Egg Detectives.

Amnesty International was represented by Mia Rossi, ’21. This organization used to be active on Allegheny’s campus about 10 years ago, according to Rossi; however, current students were looking to revive the club’s presence at Allegheny.

Simon Brown, ’19, told ASG members that Egg Detectives, formerly known as Comedy Council, split from Student Experimental Theater (S.E.T.). Club members wanted to become a separate club, recognized by ASG. Brown explained that the club will continue to perform in improv shows.

“We just wanted to rebrand ourselves, you know, new face, new name,” Brown said.

After taking a vote, both constitutions were approved by ASG.

During the class reports, ASG members discussed plans for Blue and Gold Weekend, ongoing event plans for the year and the annual Meadville Halloween Parade.

Gomez recounted her meetings with the Allegheny College Board of Trustees. She said they discussed student wellness and brainstormed ways to support students who are struggling in and outside of the classroom. In addition to student wellness, Gomez said there is talk for a new building for students to go to, specifically for wellness services.

ASG Adviser Gretchen Beck said members of the campus master plan committee have been meeting with architects to think about the next steps for facilities on Allegheny’s campus.

“…Putting the wellness center in Schultz (has been considered), but that has been put on pause for the moment,” Beck said.

Gomez said the trustees want to find a way to help students who may be faced with hardships and additional stress — outside of academics.

“(To foster resilience) we are talking about things like students who struggle,” Gomez said. “ … Like maybe there is an incident or there is a death in your family … basically having the appropriate support from the college … The support systems and just being able to help students get through those difficult moments that may arise.”

After Gomez’s report, Peyton Britt, ’22, spoke about her frustrations surrounding campus rape and sexual assault, asking for action from ASG to make a plan to address the issue.

“The administration that required us to attend bystander training is the same administration that is ignoring these situations,” Britt said. “There is no point of having a student government that is standing on the right side of history and not taking radical action and doing things that are actually going to make positive changes on our campus.”

Asking for a discussion, Britt said she knows action is key in order to find a way to fix this problem.

“We don’t have the power to change college policies,” Jason Ferrante, ’20, said. “I can’t write up a proposal that says we want to do x, y, z, but we can call on administrators to do things. I think what’s really important is that we have students that we trust on the college committees council, and on the campus life and community standards committee, so I think that’s why it’s important to have the students on those committees.”

Gomez said she would bring the issue to college administrators, and the class of 2022 plans to have videos shared on social media platforms to help educate students on who their ASG senators are. The class also wants to create a video to let students know how ASG can play a role in addressing the issue at hand.

“There are a lot of problems including this one on campus, and they are very difficult problems to solve,” John Seiber, ’19, said. “We also need to put a voice to the issues we see because it’s going to take more than the student government to bring about change.”

After several ASG members shared their opinions and input, Gomez said the conversation will continue with Kristen Dukes, dean for institutional diversity, and Gilly Ford, Title IX coordinator, during general assembly meetings.

The meeting concluded with the ASG adviser report from Beck. During her report, Beck spoke about candidates coming to campus who are being considered for the college’s new public safety director.

“There will be new candidates coming in for the director,” Beck said. “There’s a candidate coming in tomorrow, there will be an open presentation, so please pay attention to any more announcements, and look out for anything more that you guys should be involved in.”