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By Alicia Nemiccolo MacLeay '97
Can't leave your job at the office? Justin Ehrenwerth '01 and Mark Cattrell '01 know the feeling. And they wouldn't have it any other way.
Ehrenwerth and Cattrell, president and vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA), formally spend about 30 hours a week on the job. They attend meetings with students, faculty and trustees, plan events and make good on the issues that got them elected, like successfully renegotiating student phone rates with AdServe. "We do a good job of separating tasks," said Cattrell. "So, we can do twice as many things."
Even with their teamwork and knack for efficiency, neither is ever off duty. "We're unable to leave our jobs at 5 o'clock," said Ehrenwerth. "In the dining halls, library, in class, we're always asked questions and given suggestions."
But instead of trying to evade the feedback, they encourage it. The duo set weekly times in Dana Dining Hall and The Pub when students can sit down with them and voice concerns, and they have arranged for any student to address Presidents' Council or send anonymous e-mail to SGA. "People expect a whole lot of proactivity from us, but that's intrinsic to the job," said Cattrell.
Some of that activity has been to boost school pride by organizing events celebrating student talent. "We're trying to have student government get interested and excited in the incredible things that athletes, artists, actors and actresses and musicians do on this campus," said Ehrenwerth.
Ehrenwerth and Cattrell met as first-year students on the woodsmen's field. The following year they worked together on Presidents' Council on a revision of the constitution. "Sophomore year on Presidents' Council I thought if I should ever do such a thing as run for head of SGA that there wouldn't be anyone else I'd rather run with than Mark," said Ehrenwerth. "Based on his commitment to SGA, his incredible ability to speak and articulate, he's all-around a good guy."
They kept in contact their junior years to build a platform and campaign plan, despite Cattrell being abroad that fall and Ehrenwerth away the entire year. As to deciding who would run for which position? "We flipped a coin," jokes Ehrenwerth. "I think we both have equal jobs. We divvy up our responsibilities."
Both say rebuilding student trust is essential after their predecessors' tenures were marred by impeachment proceedings and accusations of racism. "Our ability to work together, our ability to respond quickly and well to concerns, our ability to realize concrete improvements in the state of the College, that's how we get trust back," said Cattrell.
Ehrenwerth says he'd like more student leaders to "see it as a responsibility, see it as necessary, to get involved with Colby and issues beyond Mayflower Hillto destroy this notion of the Colby bubble." He cites a student-organized rally to support Maine referendum Question Six, to prohibit discrimination against homosexuals. "That's a great example of taking an off-campus issue and getting excited about it and involved with it and getting other students involved," he said. The state referendum was narrowly defeated at the polls, but Colby students voted to add a non-discrimination amendment to the SGA constitution.
"If there's any way to try and improve our college, this is the little niche we've found to give back," said Ehrenwerth.
The Colby Difference: The Inauguration of William D. Adams
Nuclear Fiction: Daniel Traister '63 Delves Into the Fiction of World War II
The Hot Zone and the Cold War: Frank Malinoski '76 Investigates Biological Warfare
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