On March 16, 1919, Washington College students presented a petition to the faculty requesting that student government be established on the campus and that an honor system be adopted.
Though the faculty did not give formal permission for student government to be established until May 27 of the same year, it is generally accepted that March 16, 1919 be remembered as the date that the Washington College Student Government Association (SGA) was founded.
At the time the SGA was formed, only male students were allowed to participate. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the student body came to its senses and both men and women were allowed to participate together.
In the 1920s, the SGA established the Silver Pentagon, a group composed of nine representatives from the student body. The Silver Pentagon was charged with recommending recipients of what would be known as the Gold Pentagon, an award of great distinction. At that time, the first Gold Pentagon was awarded to the President of Washington College, Paul E. Titsworth; Dean at the time, Dr. J. S. William Jones, Coach Kibler; and two students, Charles Jarman and Elias W. Nuttle. Even today, the Gold Pentagon is considered one of the College’s highest honors.
The SGA functioned relatively effectively until the 1940s when its activities were temporarily suspended around the time of the war. At this time, the SGA was subjected to severe criticism as it was still not representative of the entire student body (women were still not allowed to vote). The current SGA system was suspended in November of 1944 for the duration of the war. However, a new student government was proposed, one in which women were finally eligible to vote.
In 1952, the SGA was re-established in the modified form. For several years, the SGA, in senate-like form, functioned at an acceptable level. On October 14, 1962, the SGA adopted a system wherein the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer were established. In addition, the positions of Class Presidents and Dorm Senators were officially created. In the Spring of 1998, the SGA again modified its system, establishing the position of Speaker of the Senate, following the national trend in collegiate student governments.
During the Spring of 2000, the WCSGA adopted a new Constitution and Bylaws, correcting mistakes and oversights of the previous system. After the fire in the Fall of 2000, the SGA moved briefly into the Casey Academic Center Commons, and then occupied a new space in the Maureen Kelley McIntire Student Center.
With the construction of Hodson Hall the SGA moved into their new office space across from Java George. The SGA still operates under the same bylaws but grew to accommodate needs of the Student Body and institution. The SGA now has paid student workers, far greater financial resources, and oversight over programs like Safe Ride.