Lame duck? That’s not the way Charlie Green decided to go out as Student Senate president

By Karisma Boyd

AS THE spring semester comes to an end, so does the start of new beginnings for the graduating class as well as multiple transitions in leadership throughout the college. One leader in particular is Student Senate President Charlie Green who is graduating this month.

Green, from Warminster in Bucks County, came to York College in 2019 and became president of Student Senate in ‘22 to govern the entire student body.

During his freshman year, Green told The Spartan during a class visit last week that he wanted to get involved on campus and from previous experience at William Tennent High School in his hometown, Green knew just the place to go to get involved on campus.

“I was the president of my student government organization in high school,” he said “Now that does not translate at all to this role. I was basically just a glorified dance planner.”

Soon after joining Student Senate, Charlie Green became the VP of Organizational Development, assisting clubs on campus with rosters and attracting new members.

The COVID-19 pandemic emerged, leading to a lockdown and changing the culture of college life throughout the United States.

As students did their best adjusting to what President Pamela Gunter-Smith called the “new normal” at York College, Charlie Green implemented several proposals to keep spirits up as well as adapting to tough times when the health mandates began to lift during his sophomore year in 2021.

Green ran the Unified Initiative where the Student Senate administered about 2000 goodie bags on campus for events like Halloween and finals week. He also worked on the West Campus Involvement Fair two years ago. The fair gathered clubs and organizations into one building for students to learn about and even join.

“I saw, I think, especially with the pandemic and how hard it was for the administration to really understand the needs of the students at points,” Green said. “I thought from the role, I was really able to, I guess, do some good in a sense.”

Charlie Green (center, Student Senate table) addresses a student during a town hall regarding issues with the food and food service on April 19, 2023. (Brendan Bilo/The Spartan)

After a successful two years as part of the Student Senate, Charlie Green decided to run for president of the organization for the 2022-23 year, and won in April. His overall campaign centered around student involvement and life.

One of his proposals was a class common hour that provided students and professors with free time two days out of the week. After hearing complaints from members during his sophomore year, he thought this free time would push students to be more involved on campus.

Although this plan ended up falling through, Green was able to put his best foot forward on recent issues. For instance, successfully proposing an increase in the Student Activity Fee, which helps cover expenses for clubs and organizations. The slight increase will allow York College to host bigger and better events in the future.

This semester, Green and the Student Senate also recently organized a town hall meeting with York Colleges food provider, Chartwells Dining, allowing students to express their concerns about the current state of food being served at the dining halls.

“There are people that definitely do care about the students within the organization. It just felt like the top doesn’t. So the nice thing is that now the corporate bell is ringing,” he said.

As Charlie Green’s presidency comes to a close, instead of taking a step back and focusing on his graduation, he decided to keep pushing on issues to get as much done as he could.

He noticed that his predecessors would enter a period of limbo, or what he calls a “lame duck” phase, where presidents prior to graduation would shift their focus to personal goals and become a spectator on the board.

Aside from working on student issues, Green also used this semester to work closely with Gunter-Smith and the York College faculty to build stronger relationships between staff and students.

Student Senate worked with the Student Diversity & Inclusion Office and new director Alex Seigel, providing additional funding to host events and provide resources to minority students who may feel out of place or not represented at the college.

“But the biggest thing is that my four years here, there have been many different products that I have seen fall on its face, because it’s what I call it the lame duck period.” he said. “The current leadership is like ‘oh, like I’m ready to graduate. I want to get the hell out of here.’ So any projects that have come to fruition have to restart completely.”

Green’s entire career on the Student Senate was predicted as a tough one, as he had to work on bringing students out of the pandemic blues. There have been some wins and losses. But through every semester, Green improved and moved on to the next issue, taking into account the effect it might have on a student’s college experience.

Says Charlie Green, now past Student Senate president, ‘As hard as that can be, you can’t please everybody. I mean, I learned that the hard way.’

In the end, he became more than just a dance coordinator like he was in high school. Green became a leader who represented issues on campus from the student perspective, using his connections with faculty to form solid relationships to solve problems.

He will be graduating with a degree in Accounting and Finance. After graduation, he will be taking a short study abroad trip to Paris and London and then go back to his hometown and study for his CPA exam. He is lined up to begin working in January 2024 as a full-time tax associate for KPMG in Philadelphia.

Alyssa Allen ‘24 was named president of Student Senate for the 2023-24 school year in April.

Allen’s initiatives for the 2023-24 academic year are to improve the relationship between York College community and downtown York, increase transparency between student body and campus administration, and continuing previous projects (clothes swap and finals week bags).

Green was asked what advice he passed along to her.

“As hard as that can be, you can’t please everybody. I mean, I learned that the hard way,” Green said. “And then the hardest thing is that sometimes it’s OK to admit when you made a mistake and something that you wanted to do wasn’t a good idea.”

Karisma Boyd is a junior majoring in Mass Communications.

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