An Interview with SGA Co-Presidents Anna Parker ‘23 and Erin Reinhart ‘23

Michael O’Brien ‘23

Editor in Chief

Student Government Association, or better known around campus as SGA, is one of the most sprawling and active student organizations at Holy Cross, with three distinct areas of operation not unlike the United States government– The Executive Branch, The Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch. Within the executive branch is the Cabinet, fronted by two Co-Presidents: Anna Parker ‘23 and Erin Reinhart ‘23.

Both Parker and Reinhart began with SGA their freshman year at Holy Cross, and all of their hard work has now culminated in heading the organization themselves. I caught up with both of them to check in on how SGA has been operating this year and what they have planned in the months ahead.

To begin, I wanted to give them a self assessment of something they thought went well in the first semester and what they think they can improve upon in the semester ahead. “One thing we want to work on is that we both are very passionate about mental health initiatives and really making sure that mental health is a priority at the College,” Parker said. “People always talk about it and say that’s a very important thing, but there’s little action. It’s obviously a very large topic, so we want to start that conversation and start to do little things that will make an impact for students. Even if it’s only one student that utilizes resources, that makes a difference in someone’s life.”

“As for last semester, we tried to do a lot of internal SGA work, and one of those things was being able to put together a retreat on a Sunday; all of the branches of SGA got together and we did some team building,” Reinhart said. “We all left feeling energized; people got to learn more about their roles, and I think it was something that existed in some form pre-COVID, but it hasn’t really happened since. So we were really glad to bring that back in some fashion and really unite everyone in SGA.” 

After learning about their achievements and goals from this year, I wanted them to highlight one piece of recent legislation that they wanted to get the word out about, since oftentimes non-SGA students can miss out on what bills are being passed in the SGA Senate. “There’s been some newly passed legislation about club budgets which I think will be really helpful,” Reinhart said. “We’ve had to do a little bit of restructuring and figure out what works best budget wise. This includes planning to communicate how to go about requesting more money and explain how the whole budget process works for RSOs. So we’re really trying to streamline that and make that as efficient as possible.” 

Beyond behind the scenes SGA business, I wanted to move onto big picture things from this year, including the fact that Parker and Reinhart are the first pair of female co-presidents since the 2000s; it’s an especially remarkable achievement as the College is also celebrating its 50th year of co-education on campus. Asking them to reflect on what this means to them, Parker stated “I think for me, a big part of it is that we are a Jesuit institution which means we are inherently led by men. Even with these last two years with President Rougeau, although he’s not a priest, we still have a male president. This is also the first year the Board of Trustees chair has ever been a woman, but for all of our history most of the administration has been composed of men. Slowly we’ve had more and more female representation within the administration, and so for the first time to have it be more female than male is really exciting. We’ve had underclassmen within SGA come up and tell us they didn’t even know two women could be President and tell us that it’s really cool to see two women in positions of power. And so I think seeing Holy Cross transition to be more inclusive of everyone here is exciting.”

The final part of Parker’s quote was a perfect segway into my next question; it’s apparent the Co-Presidents have placed lots of importance on ensuring that historically marginalized voices are heard on campus, and this is further evident in the Black History Month events being put on by SGA. Asking them why it’s so important to continue to uplift people of all backgrounds on campus, Reinhart answered “One thing that we came into the year with the knowledge with was that SGA hasn’t always been uplifting of all voices on campus, and that the structure of SGA hasn’t always been conducive to hearing marginalized voices. We’ve had a lot of different conversations with people inside and outside of SGA, whether it be leaders of MSOs or people in the office of DEI, and try to learn how we can go about making Holy Cross as inclusive of a space as possible. 

And a lot of that is simply getting the word out about a lot of different events; even if it’s just a lobby table or speaker series, those are all really important ways that people can learn from and meet each other, so we’ve really tried to place emphasis on that this year.”

Wrapping up, I wanted to return to the fact that both Parker and Reinhart have been a part of SGA since freshman year. As a member of The Spire since freshman year, I know how much it means to be a part of a student organization for so long, and asked them if they could describe what their four-year journey with SGA has been like for their overall college experience. Parker replied “I could not say what my college experience would be like without SGA. I joined freshman year as a clerk because I shared a high school with the last Co-President of SGA right before we got to Holy Cross. She reached out to me and told me ‘You are absolutely going to run for the clerk position, and you’re going to be great at it.’

I was super glad that she did because I actually lost my first election freshman year, and she helped me figure out where to go from there, and it led me to meet all the people from SGA that have shaped me into who I am. Through SGA I’ve gained immeasurable skills, knowledge, and the ability to communicate with people and work with anyone, all the way from administration to first years. Last year Erin and I did the D.C. semester together working in a senator’s office and the amount of little things I already knew how to do I can owe to SGA.”

A special thanks to Parker and Reinhart for their time, and be on the lookout for SGA’S Sexual Respect Week coming up next week and Unity Week kicking off in March.

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