Hot Hot Hot! New SGA Bureau Chief attends the first meeting of Barnard’s Student Government Association. 

Hi, everyone! I’m super excited to be writing and recounting the events of the Student Government Association at Barnard in a condensed and entertaining way as this year’s Bureau Chief! Hopefully, through these weekly accounts, it’ll be easier to take part in SGA here at Barnard, and we can all get involved in these AWESOME events together.

I’ll do a quick synopsis of the events in chronological order and then go into deeper depth on some important announcements and events. 

This mysterious, moody Monday meeting was filled with tons of great information, and it kicked off with some music. After some chill lo-fi music to welcome us into the zen palace called Zoom, President Edidiong Emily Ndiokho (BC ’22) motioned to start the meeting and began introductions. There were some announcements made by members of the board which will be discussed later on and can be found in your emails. 

Some notable mentions were the finance council advisor meeting hosted by the senior class, as well as Homecoming announcements. The meeting then moved to a brief review of the Community Guidelines by Miso Kim (BC ’22), the Vice President of Campus Life, which highlights accountability and mutual respect. After that, the bulk of the meeting was spent on Indigenous People’s Day. 

Now going into deeper depth regarding announcements and Indigenous People’s Day: 

Athena Finance Council: As part of the senior class initiative, students will be taught all things finance regarding money in the workplace, taxes, investing, and much more answered by financial expert Galia Gichon. Finance is just one of many classes in the “Adulting” series. There are multiple sessions to RSVP to on Friday and Saturday. All sessions will be in the Athena Center, and it is open to students of all years. Audrey Pettit (BC ’22).

Beyond Barnard Career Skills Week: Occurring on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday there will be a career initiative open to all students seeking career insight. You can RSVP through handshake and these sessions will also be recorded! Melody Chen (BC ’23).

Food and Dining Committee Meeting: On October 17, students are invited to come to Lower Level 2 of Diana to share any thoughts on how to improve dining services. All your 10:55 am smoothie desires and swipe gripes will be acknowledged, so make sure you join! Bannon Beall (BC’22). 

The focus then shifted to the increasing awareness of Indigenous People’s Day and what we can do as Barnard students to honor the Indigenous land we reside on. This part of the meeting began with a quick video about the day and its meaning including information about the tribes whose land that Columbia University occupies and how that occupation affects so many lives. 

After watching the video, the meeting transformed into an open discussion regarding what Barnard should do to better acknowledge the lives of Indigenous people and how to make this a safer space. Below are some notable moments from the night: 

  • “Bringing in Native American speakers throughout the year and not just on Indigenous People’s Day,” – Kennedy Yeager (BC ’22).
  • “Barnard needs to have more of a contribution to the Native American community, it seems as if the majority of things are happening at Columbia, and we need to ensure that everything is getting translated across the road to here,” – Mariame Sissoko (BC ’24).
  • “Because Columbia University is named after Christopher Columbus, it is clear that there are some incredibly deep roots of racism at our school. To learn more, read Ebony and Ivy by Craig Steven Wilder,” – Parker Watts (BC ’22).
  • “Decolonizing in any sense is unsettling, so decolonizing our school and society is not going to be easy, and we need to start advocating for more relationships between our school and Native American communities,” – Edidiong Emily Ndiokho (BC ’22).
  • “We need to not only show our support but determine what the communities of local Indigenous people need and support them there,” – Avalon Fenster (BC ’24).

And that’s just about everything I have for this meeting! In around 45 minutes, there was a huge depth and breadth of topics, but overall a great experience to learn about the land we currently occupy and what steps Barnard SGA wants to take to recognize Indigenous peoples on our campus. 

Native American Council in 2015 via Facebook