SGA Hosts Leadership Summit


Student Government Association organized speakers and workshops for peers from three other colleges, helping to identify similar issues and learn from one another.

Six members of the Washington College Student Government Association at the Mid-Atlantic Student Government Leadership Summit that they organized.

members of the Washington College Student Government Association at the Mid-Atlantic Student Government Leadership Summit that they organized. Top Row, left to right: Heather Fabritze ‘25 (Honor Board Chair), Kyaran Balin-Brooks ‘26 (Parliamentarian), Hunter Frederick ‘25 (Secretary of Student Life);  bottom row, left to right: Jack Poleto ‘25 (Financial Controller), Kamden Richardson ‘24 (Director of Communications), and Miranda Parrish ‘25 (President).
The Washington College Student Government Association (SGA) hosted representatives of its peer organizations from three other Centennial Conference schools for a Mid-Atlantic Student Government Leadership Summit on Saturday, Sept. 30. The nearly three dozen students heard from Deputy Secretary of State Michael Lore and others with leadership insights and engaged in workshops around leadership styles, communication, shared governance, and benchmarking with their peers.

Reaction to the event was positive from both the Washington SGA organizers and attendees from the other schools — Gettysburg, Muhlenberg and Ursinus colleges — each noting the nearly universal benefit of learning from one another through discussing their own unique approaches as well as the similar issues faced by all.

“There are very few outlets for student leaders to come together like this,” said Drew Lemon, a senior at Gettysburg College and president of its Student Senate. “It’s a pleasure to be a part of it.”

The summit was suggested by Jack Poleto ’25, the Washington College SGA’s financial controller, shortly after the start of the current executive board’s election last spring. Washington SGA President Miranda Parrish ’25 embraced the idea without hesitation and lined up many of the day’s speakers, including Deputy Secretary Lore, for whom she interned over the summer as a community liaison.

Lore spoke on the legislative process and the importance of civic engagement, a topic central to not only Washington College, but also many other schools. Vice President of Student Affairs Sarah Feyerherm also provided brief remarks.

Washington College alumna Kat DeSantis ’22 was the final speaker and workshop leader of the day, a skill she began to hone during her own tenure on the SGA that has grown into an “empowerment workshop side hustle” since graduation. DeSantis led the student leaders through a program on “Authentic Leadership and How to Cultivate an Effective Team.”

Among a number of practices DeSantis advocated, an emphasis on identifying and employing people’s individual strengths to create a successful team stuck with Parrish. 

Parrish and Poleto both said they were hoping this first summit could lead to more like it in the future.

“We've already made a bunch of fantastic connections, not just with student government members here but even beyond” when inviting schools that ended up unable to make it, Parrish said. “If we have different questions or different issues, we can bounce ideas off of other people from other schools that are in our same position.” 

In addition to continuing to cultivate and use connections with other college’s student governments, Parrish also hopes to see SGA hold a similar summit this spring geared for local high school students. Poleto is focused on evaluating attendees’ response to the current summit to enhance the potential for an annual event reaching even more institutions of higher education in the future.

“I’d like to see all of the colleges that participated come back next year,” Poleto said. “The more communication, the better, and the more learning, the better. We want to know how they solve their issues and what works for them. It has been really good to see that there are some great things we do already, and there are great things for us to improve in the future.”