By Andrew Lemon, Contributing Writer
Dear Gettysburg College,
As we are now nearing the end of our Fall 2023 term, I found this opportunity fitting to provide an update on the state of the Student Body.
First and foremost, thank you all for such a wonderful semester. I want to express, on a personal note, how much fun I have had leading our student body. The people, both students and faculty, are what make this institution extraordinary. Being your President has been an honor and privilege, and it continues to be the highlight of my time here at Gettysburg.
Reflecting on our goals before the start of Senate this year, my executive team and I set out clear parameters for how we can best achieve optimal senate experience, by 1) Increasing Transparency and 2) Enhancing the Student Experience. As we are now closing out the end of the first half of our year, I can confidently say that we have reached these objectives, with even more opportunities for growth ahead.
What We Achieved
Our organization has helped to enhance the Gettysburg community by reaching vastly different areas of student life. In terms of senate funding of club’s organizations and events, we have spent over $16,000 on activities, with over $45,000 remaining in our expense account. This spending has reached all different clubs and organizations, providing outlets for more student engagement and initiative. From guest speakers to off-campus competitions, and even trips, Senate continues to enhance our student life. These funds have also gone to support pinnacle events that serve as traditions of Gettysburg, like Burgburst, Diwali, and Relay for Life.
From our total spending, our team determined that we spent an average of $12 per attendee at different club events, with a $135 median budget request amount. Similarly, we have reached new highs in our support for more campus involvement, approving an average of over 86% of a budgets requested amount. While our support for club initiatives is strong, our spending is lower than the 2022-2023 academic year. We would continue to encourage clubs and organizations to seek funding for the Senate.
Regarding student concerns, we have addressed over 75 issues regarding student wellness. These concerns have all been the result of timely communication between the Senate and the administration. While we continue to better our community, it’s clear we still have opportunities to improve other areas of campus. If you continue to have student concerns, please bring them to my attention in any form, and I will work to ensure a solution.
Similarly, the Senate has helped to advise on important administrative matters. This past fall, the Senate worked with our college advancement staff to help facilitate our new strategic direction campaign, “The Summit on the Future.” This event, thanks to the efforts of the College Advancement Team, proved to be a monumental success. With the support of the student body, we were able to successfully host a weekend full of donor re-engagement activities, helping to garner support from our most supportive Gettysburgians from across the world while celebrating the college’s new strategic direction. This event was also coupled with successful discussions with our Trustees on how we can continue to enhance our student life on campus. We are also in the process of working with our trustees to determine what will be needed long-term to continue building Gettysburg as a premier liberal arts college among similar institutions.
Where We Can Improve
While we have seen positives, we have also weathered storms. This semester marked the announcement of major budget constraints and financial losses with the college. In the wake of these troubles, we experienced unfavorable circumstances like the closure of our renowned literary magazine, the Gettysburg Review. Considering these announcements, the Senate has hosted discussions with members of the President’s Council to garner a better understanding of these financial troubles, and what it means for our students and faculty long term. There is no such thing as too much communication. Your input and feedback are invaluable to us, and we will continue to host outlets for meaningful dialogue with our administration and staff to ensure students are kept in the decision-making process as the college navigates these challenges.
Where We Are Going
As we reflect on this past semester, there has been much good that has embraced our community. But we need to remember that next semester, regardless of what setbacks we face, we need to focus on how to keep our morale high. With a positive and thoughtful mindset behind our decisions, Gettysburg will continue to reach new achievements next term.
As I close, I want to take this opportunity to thank the entirety of the Student Senate Executive team for the work they do. Abby Ruggiero ’26, Alfredo Roman-Jordan ’26, Geoffrey Meadville ’25, Grace Nelson ’25 and Michael Woods ’25 are the reason why our Student Senate continues to be such a success. A special thank you to Executive Director of OSAGAL Jon Allen and Associate Vice President of College Life Jeff Foster, as you both garner such strong support in the senate’s efforts.
I am looking forward to continuing my role as your President next semester.
Andrew P. Lemon ’24
President, The Gettysburg College Student Senate