Student Leadership in a Remote Environment: An Interview with SGA Co-Presidents

Bridget Flaherty ’21

Features Editor

This week I interviewed our SGA Co-Presidents Noah Sisk and Victoria Tara to see how some of our student leaders have adapted to this semester and its remote environment.

I. How has SGA adapted to the remote environment? 

Working remotely has created new challenges, but we’ve worked hard to adapt SGA to a virtual environment. Our main goal has been to continue serving the student body despite our physical distance, and open communication is more important than ever. We’ve received positive feedback on our active social media presence over the past few months, and we’ve been effective in summarizing the College’s information regarding the pandemic and changes to the fall semester. We’ve also appointed a Director of COVID-19 Response and Reopening to our Cabinet, a role that will continue to be relevant into the spring. While we might not be able to enact all of the policies we wanted because of the remote semester, providing transparency and clarity about the many changes taking place will continue to be one of our main priorities as Co-Presidents. 

II. How have your plans/policies changed as a result of remote learning/COVID? 

Even though we’ve had to adapt the work of SGA significantly this semester, we’ve used this time to make significant structural changes within it in order to better serve the entire student body and improve the organization for future students. We’re proud that we recently amended the SGA Constitution so that students are guaranteed a list of rights for the first time in writing. In addition, we’re also actively working to strengthen and formalize SGA’s relationships with other student groups on campus. Although we do not have access to our full SGA budget this semester to plan initiatives or host events in person, we’ll continue making important changes to the way SGA operates for future generations of Holy Cross students. 

III. How has your experience as Co-Presidents been so far, especially in regards to the changes on campus? 

Our priority from the very beginning as Co-Presidents (and the driving force behind our campaign) has been to solve the real problems that impact all students and make meaningful improvements for student life on campus. Something that we’ve learned throughout this experience is that we can make real, lasting changes by taking small, intentional steps. We’ve also learned how easily our plans might change and how important it is to remain flexible. While this isn’t the year we expected when we were first elected last February, we’ve kept an open mind and are continuing to look for ways in which we can accomplish our goal of improving the student experience regardless of the semester’s format. 

Graphic by Hui Li ’21. Photo from Noah and Victoria’s Campaign Poster.

IV. How does it feel to be leaders during such a precarious time? 

We’ve enjoyed connecting with the entire student body through various virtual engagement opportunities. In addition, we’ve particularly enjoyed meeting so many members of the Class of 2024 over Zoom, and we’re so humbled by the way the first-year class has made such a strong effort to get involved in SGA. However, Zoom calls and virtual chats aren’t a substitute for face-to-face interactions and we’re looking forward to being together in person again. We learned so much from students during our campaign and over these past few months, and the strength and support of the Holy Cross community inspires us every step of the way. 

V. What message do you have for students right now?

We wouldn’t be in this role without the students we serve, and we’re reminded every day of why we decided to run for Co-Presidents when we meet a new student at a Zoom event or help answer a direct message to our Instagram page. It’s an honor to serve the student body, and we’re so grateful for the faith placed in us to lead. While we might not have all the answers right away, we’ll always be here for and with you. Our role is fulfilled by responding to your feedback, so please continue reaching out to us with any questions, comments, or concerns you might have! 

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