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College president, SGA ratify ‘inclusive housing’ proposal

After three months of collaborative work, the leaders of Pennsylvania College of Technology and its Student Government Association have ratified joint recommendations for the implementation of a gender-inclusive housing option beginning this fall.

During a brief ceremony Friday afternoon in the Student & Administrative Services Center, college President Davie Jane Gilmour and SGA President Ethan M. McKenzie signed a resolution to designate a gender-inclusive community within Campus View Apartments.

McKenzie thanks President Gilmour for the administration's integral role in SGA's campaign for inclusive housing at Penn College.
McKenzie thanks President Gilmour for the administration’s integral role in SGA’s campaign for inclusive housing at Penn College.

Student government was approached in September by Kailan K. Marshall, a human services and restorative justice major from Pottsville and SGA’s senator-at-large for diversity, equity and inclusion, who aspired to create gender-inclusive housing at Penn College to strengthen the “community of respect” that is among the institution’s foundational values.

Data collected from a variety of campus and academic sources in the weeks that followed was synthesized into a comprehensive proposal that was submitted to the administration, along with a unanimously approved SGA resolution.

“This campaign was successful, in large part, to the receptive and supportive posture of the administration to student ideas and advocacy,” said McKenzie, a software development and information management major from Muncy. During the data-gathering and interview phases of the process – which involved such offices as Residence Life and Student Engagement – the response, he explained, was far more “How might this work?” than “What might prevent it?”

The presidents ratify the Student Government Association's action, joined by (standing, from left) Elliott Strickland, vice president for student affairs; Allison A. Grove, director of student engagement; Kailan K. Marshall, SGA’s senator-at-large for diversity, equity and inclusion; and Jon D. Wescott, director of residence life and student conduct.
The presidents ratify the Student Government Association’s action, joined by (standing, from left) Elliott Strickland, vice president for student affairs; Allison A. Grove, director of student engagement; Kailan K. Marshall, SGA’s senator-at-large for diversity, equity and inclusion; and Jon D. Wescott, director of residence life and student conduct.

McKenzie also discussed the ongoing dividends that the experience will pay to SGA, Penn College students and the institution.

“We have modified the infrastructure we built for his campaign – including templates, timelines, lessons learned and more – so that it may act as a framework for future student government advocacy campaigns,” McKenzie said. That architecture is being applied to five such initiatives this semester, addressing a range of ideas on behalf of the student body, he said.

The college president applauded the formality and thoroughness with which the association approached its mission, noting McKenzie’s focus on representation for all Penn College students.

“You very clearly have established a template for the future,” she told him. “You have presented the examples and the evidence that SGA’s legitimacy is moving forward,” she said.

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