Garrett Barlow

Staff Writer

This semester, the Student Government Association (SGA) launched a program called SGA Collaborative in an effort to encourage conversation and build relationships on campus.

The first of many SGA collaboratives is set to occur this Thursday during common hour. Hailey Klabo ’16 will be hosting “Empowering First Year Women” in room 209 in the Alvarez Union. The talk will focus on ways in which first year women can live a healthy and successful life at Davidson College.

According to Madi Driscoll ‘17 and Emily Rapport ‘16, SGA Co-Directors of Special Projects, SGA Collaborative is designed to be student-led discussions on contemporary campus issues. Students can offer ideas for issues they want to be discussed, and based on the clarity or relevance of the idea, SGA may then schedule a collaborative. Unlike previous workshops, students themselves are responsible for the content of the collaboratives.

The new program is an effort to create a “space to bring any issues or conversations to the forefront,” Driscoll said. Through democratization of conversation, new viewpoints can be introduced into the sphere of public debate, which before was dominated by the school administration and student leaders.

In addition, the program also aims to make current democratized discussion more productive. Rapport lamented the current poor reputation of campus talks, and hoped that through the Collaborative program, informal discussion could be made formal.

Both co-directors expressed their belief that building relationships was the primary goal of the Collaborative. Driscoll stated that the program would help students “build relationships based on interests or solutions.”

Rapport continued, “I hope the program will foster regular dialogue between students.”

SGA has pledged to take a hands-off role in the creation of these collaboratives. Rapport described her role as a “facilitator.” The intent of SGA is to navigate the logistics of the events, such as scheduling and advertising, as well as to bring together like-minded students. However, the collaboratives themselves are to be student driven.

There are currently no future planned collaboratives beyond the upcoming “Empowering First Year Women” workshop. Nonetheless, Driscoll and Rapport are in discussion about hosting collaboratives on party culture, race, coed spaces, and political climate. More specifically, SGA hopes to conduct a collaborative as a follow-up to writer and Atlantic Magazine correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates’ upcoming Reynolds Lecture this November. President Quillen has expressed interest at attending several collaboratives.

SGA collaboratives are set to occur every Thursday at the Alvarez Union in room 209 during common hour. Location and time may change based on the circumstances. To propose a topic for a Collaborative, feel free contact Driscoll or Rapport at madriscoll@davidson.edu or emrapport@davidson.edu.