For a moment, I wished I were giving birth to a baby instead of assuming my role as the incoming vice president for the Center for Continuing Education Student Government Association.
While I’ve never been a socially active member of the CCE SGA community, for years now I’ve served as a representative, most notably attempting to close the perceived divide between CCE and traditional students. “Wow, you don’t look like a CCE student,” is often the comment I get.
By running for the position of vice president, I wished to continue closing this divide in a greater capacity during this upcoming academic year.
The elections were challenging, as there was some “othering” of individuals during and following campaigns which bred contempt and ultimately confusion, which is the third cousin of what I felt: hurt.
There were rumors of alleged vote-stacking and campaign violations. Though those allegations were never completely substantiated, the complaint was certainly lodged.
When I could finally take no more email battles CC’d for the world to see, the conflicts based in anger landed me sitting across from a mediator to smooth over some communication issues with another party.
The uninterested third party said, “I’ve never seen anything like this,” and though I wasn’t sure if he was speaking about my angry reactions or the miscommunications as a whole, I agreed on both fronts.
I joined the student government because of my passion for my school, my love of the Quaker process and my drive to learn.
Though two weeks have passed since the conflict and those wounds have healed, the CCE SGA has a long way to go to prove that it is an association that does more than dole out money for social events and that it serves some civic good.
While the CCE SGA has given a lot of service to the community, like providing emergency scholarship aid and other assistance to needy students and families in the community, we’ve a long way to go to actually represent our constituents.
It means nothing if, on issues like opposing hateful legislation, we can’t come to timely decisions free of power struggles and prejudice — for example, deciding whether to back the traditional students and the faculty by opposing Amendment One, which is being voted on across N.C. next month.
As CCE students, we have a long way to go. Every “adult” student has a unique story to share and accomplishments to earn in the face of some students who think we don’t belong on this campus at all.
“(CCE students) slow down our classes and should just go to a community college,” an anonymous pollster said in a survey done by The Guilfordian.
Regardless of the divide, it is the student government’s job to serve the community they represent and bring those voices to the college administration at the appropriate times.
Perhaps my notions connected to the role I play in the coming year as a member of the executive board of the CCE SGA are merely romantic, but I truly want to see the CCE SGA become a conduit through which we can build greater bonds between CCE students and our traditional peers.
I want to know that I left a legacy of creating a culture of care amongst the students of Guilford College, forging bonds with the traditional students, faculty and administration. This goes beyond having ice cream socials and welcome back celebrations that are convenient and tasty.
I hunger for something more than food. The substance I need is change.
Linda Catoe contributed to this article