SGA “We Love This Place” takes new form amidst remote setting

By Alaina Perdon

Elm Staff Writer

“We Love This Place,” the Student Government Association’s service event within the Chestertown community, will be conducted in a remote form this semester. 

Previously a one-day event during first-year student orientation, the program will now begin in September and run until the end of the semester. It is also open to all students and faculty members rather than to only first-year students and peer mentors. 

Each month carries a different theme with both a service and outreach component. 

The theme for September is community engagement, October is activism, and November is environmental stewardship. 

“Service goes beyond manual labor,” SGA Secretary of Service and Community Relations, sophomore Maegan White said. “There are many meaningful impacts of community building, activism, and respect for nature that we hope to explore.”

White is coordinating the semester’s events in collaboration with other SGA members and leaders throughout Chestertown.

Service projects based in Chestertown include a mentorship program in partnership with the Horizons program of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties. 

The Horizons program is an organization that provides children from predominantly low-income families with resources and opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. WC students can contribute to the program’s online curriculum by creating advice videos responding to Horizons high schoolers’ questions about the college application process.

White hopes this partnership will continue to grow after WC students return to campus.

Service projects also include simple actions which students can take regardless of where they are currently living. With election season approaching, students are encouraged to register to vote and contact their local representatives this October.

“Voting is one of the simplest things someone can do to make a difference,” College Democrats Vice President and sophomore Dylan Snow said. “Voting impacts everything in our society, from the roads we drive on to the basic human rights of some people in our country. Voting is a small way to make your voice heard and show that you want change.”

As part of the activism element featured in October, SGA will host a voter registration event, “Flock to the Polls,” to help students understand the registration and mail-in voting process.

White cites SGA Parliamentarian, junior Kat DeSantis, and Secretary of Diversity and Inclusion, junior Jada Aristilde, as critical figures in organizing this portion of We Love This Place.

“Maegan [White], Jada [Aristilde], and I worked together to create the Political Atlas, which is a Google Sheet designed to help students easily find their state’s legislators [and] their contact information, as well as a list of organizations that support the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ organizations, environmental organizations, and a list of social justice events for the remainder of the year,” DeSantis said. 

The outreach component includes opportunities to speak with Chestertown community representatives, like the Sept. 28 We Love This Place: Chestertown Leadership Panel, which was hosted on Zoom. 

According to SGA’s Sept. 22 email, “panelists for this event include Mayor [Chris] Cerino, members of the Chestertown Town Council, Kay MacIntosh [Chestertown economic development and marketing coordinator], and [Jennifer Laucik-Baker].”

SGA intends for the panelists to serve as informants for WC students, updating them on the ongoing initiatives in Chestertown and Kent County, while also finding ways they may support the student body, according to White. 

“I hope that students realize how many residents and leaders in Chestertown support them, our college, and the initiatives we put forward,” White said. “Students should know they are not alone in their fight for social justice. The community wants to help.”

Through these series of projects and panels, White seeks to forge a closer relationship between WC students and the surrounding community, as well as inspire an interest in service.

“The goal is for students to recognize what ‘service’ really means,” White said. “Service is ingrained in everything we do and goes beyond the restrictions we tend to place on it. I hope students will try to keep the mentality of service in mind throughout their four years at WC.”

Featured Photo caption: The Student Government Association restructured their “We Love This Place” Service project to include all students in a new digital format. The new projects widened their view from Chestertown to include Queen Anne’s County as well as national initiatives through their partnership with the Horizons Project and their voter registration drive. Elm File Photo.

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