What does leadership at a women’s college look like going forward?

Despite it being midterm season and everyone struggling with exams, SGA doesn’t quit. This week’s meeting started with open external announcements, the most important (and unanimous) being a reminder to vote in Barnard’s Constitutional Review. 

Myesha Choudhury (BC ‘23): The Senior Thesis Tips and Tricks seminar is happening on March 24! Keep an eye out on the events calendar for more information. 

Avalon Fenster (BC ‘24): Sophomores, be on the lookout for a mental health survey headed your way. If you have any questions or concerns, please email atz2106@barnard.edu.

Audrey Pettit (BC ‘22) had quite a few announcements: Barnard’s Broadway show event Wicked is this Thursday, March 10. Come down to the Diana Center Oval for a chance to win tickets! Next, Pettit sent out a series of reminders for seniors: Class rings are going to be sold in Diana Center from March 22-24, March 25 will be the Bold Beautiful Gowns for Bold Beautiful Grads campaign (where seniors will pick up their caps, gowns, and class pennants), and the final round of senior portraits will be offered on March 26 and March 27. Lastly, Pettit reminded us that there is an open Community Integration Workshop on March 23 at 7 pm in Milstein seminar room 113. 

Next, SGA heard from former SGA members and Barnard alumnae Emma Wolfe (Barnard’s current Senior Advisor to the President for External Relations and Leadership Development) and Umbreen Bhatti (Athena Center’s current Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director). 

Emma Wolfe (BC ‘01) started by commending Barnard students on where they’ve taken Barnard since the time of her graduation—specifically noting the perseverance it takes for students to work and make change actively during a pandemic. Wolfe discussed her work as a former advisor to former  NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, a position in which she helped fight to establish universal pre-k and focused on community organizing and other event planning. Wolfe remarked that she intends to foster relationships and get the most out of engaging with the Uptown, Harlem, East Harlem, and Morningside Heights communities by offering resources, maximizing student participation, and respecting their priorities.  She also noted that SGA can and should play into the larger picture of connecting with those communities. 

Umbreen Bhatti (BC ‘00) focused on what the Athena Center for Leadership does and how its mission has changed over the years. She noted that Athena Center, like Barnard College as a whole, is a work in progress—changing with time and new students. Athena has recently gone beyond reflecting on the student body to analyze what leadership really is and how to engage with it. When asked about Athena Center’s “girl boss” attitude towards leadership, Bhatti noted that the term “girl boss” is inherently exclusive as it mainly refers to white women in power. In contrast, Athena is looking to empower all marginalized people against capitalism. 

Both Bhatti and Wolfe noted that in order for Athena Center and CEI to function, a working relationship with SGA and the student body is pivotal, as both programs need student participation and feedback to function. 

That’s all for this week’s SGA coverage! Make sure to check your emails for more information on SGA, and check back after spring break for more SGA coverage from Tara! 

Header via Bwillustrator Ava Morouse