I want to use my last President’s Column to sincerely thank each person in this community for an incredible year. It’s been another year of progress, growth and gratitude! As I leave Principia and Student Government, I wanted to take this opportunity to look back on the last school year and some of the accomplishments that everyone in Student Government worked so hard to achieve.
We kicked off this school year with a bang: Board Games! The boards of each house competed against each other to see who could move a bucket from ten feet away, keep the most balloons in the air, keep an egg from breaking when it was dropped from a ladder, and competed in a number of other challenges that made for great memories and lots of laughs. The houses competed for a number of prizes, including a 50” TV and a new grill. Congratulations again to Buck and Brooks, our big winners!
As the quarter progressed, both Presidential Board and the Student Activities Board (SAB) worked together to host the evening program entitled “Uncovering Community.” This was a students-only community meeting that provided a forum for students to speak confidentially about the Code of Conduct and other policies in place. There was room for larger and smaller group discussions, and about 80 students participated.
Presidential Board undertook a new mission during Fall Quarter: having more fun on campus! Each house was given a portion of the Presidential Board budget that it could use to put on some activity that benefitted a larger group of students than simply their own house. Taking this spirit to heart, Howard, Joe and Brooks collectively pranked the campus by filling the Concourse with 3,000 balloons! Also, Buck began to make breakfast on Sunday mornings for other houses around campus in order to show off their gentlemanly spirit and to encourage church attendance.
Lastly, Fall Quarter saw the completion of one of the main ideas that Esto and I campaigned on: making it easier to get to the airport at the end of the quarter. Student Government provided free van rides to the airport at the end of Fall Quarter and almost 50 students utilized this service. We provided the same service Winter Quarter for a fee of $5 per student, and once again it was a popular program.
In continuation of the spirit of giving back to the students, during Winter Quarter you might have seen the SAB members in the Concourse providing free hot chocolate on snowy mornings. Scholastic Representative Amy Baldauf led this program that brought a smile to dozens of students’ faces who were heading off to early morning classes!
Perhaps the most significant event of Winter Quarter was the Community Meeting that was held in the Chapel during Quiet Time during week 5. This meeting was aimed at addressing the use of illegal drugs on campus, as well as the theft that had become more prevalent. There were comments by the Student Body Presidents, the Dean of Students, the College President and the Director of Campus Security. Each person presented his or her different take on the issues and how they were affecting the community. This event was incredibly well-attended; people had to sit on the floor because there was no room left! I am so grateful to each person who came that day and for the love of Principia and the wonderful community that we have here.
Our other, more internal, Student Government project for Winter Quarter was to hammer out the final details on the Student Senate model. This entity is replacing the current Student Activities Board, and it consists of seven Student Senators who each have individual goals and platforms. The Student Senate will be a more flexible and proactive body in Student Government and will take effect in the fall.
Spring Quarter saw big changes for Student Government. With Esteban and many of our other Presidents and SAB members on abroads, we’ve had a lot of new faces in our meetings, and their input has been extremely valuable. Senior Ron Meyer graciously stepped in as Student Body Vice President to help with our budget process and elections.
Ron also had a leadership role in our second Community meeting in the Chapel, which was in reaction to the higher number of disciplinary cases that have taken place over the last few weeks. The current and incoming Student Body Presidents spoke, and then Dr. Palmer gave his report of what has happened so far and shared some metaphysical inspiration on the topic. The sense of community was overwhelming, and once again I was so proud to be a part of the Principia community who all came together to reclaim our campus as the incredible place that it is.
Finally, we had our elections for the new Student Body Presidents and Student Senate–thanks to everyone who voted! We had a record 393 votes for Student Body President, and at the end of the day, Christian Richardson and Bekah Charlston emerged as the winners. We also had incredible turnout for our Student Senate elections with 309 votes cast. Congratulations to Greg Ball, Ifi Xifre, Maija Baldauf, Liza Hagerman, Fassio Elder, Sam Nickell and Christine Nacewicz for their election to the Student Senate for next school year!
I’m leaving Principia with a heart full of love and gratitude for everyone who makes this community so unique. It has truly been an honor to work with the amazing men and women who make up all of Student Government and the entire student body. I have learned so much from each of you. I have the utmost confidence in Christian and Bekah, as well as in our new Student Senate, who will be amazing next year! I wish them all the best.
Thank you for letting me work for and with you, Principia. It truly has been a pleasure.