Open dorms once a month. Everything you need to know about the recent Liberty University campus changes
From adding blue jeans to Liberty’s dress code in 2004 to open dorms scheduled once a month in 2020, Liberty’s Student Government Association (SGA) continues to pass legislation through the administration that many thought would never be possible.
On Feb. 12, more legislation was passed as members of SGA gathered around President Falwell’s desk to watch him sign into action four resolutions at Liberty’s first legislation signing ceremony.
Crafters of the resolutions sat to Falwell’s right while student body president Derek Rockey sat to his left, watching the ink hit the paper on legislation that brings iced coffee to the Dunkin’ Donuts PLUS+ swipe, take out boxes at Doc’s Diner, highchairs to the Food Court at Reber-Thomas and open dorms for residential halls once a month.
Along with the four resolutions, two clubs — Rotary club and the Respiratory Therapy club — were officially added to SGA. The Dunkin’ Donuts resolution takes effect Monday, Feb. 17, while monthly open dorms will take effect later in the month.
According to Rockey, an event like the official signing ceremony has never happened before, so SGA wanted to give the student body a closer look into the legislative process through a new
While resolutions get crafted through house or senate delegates, they have to be passed in both branches before they land on Rockey’s desk for approval. Rockey said he meets with Paul-David Steele, the director of internal affairs, to go over the resolution and decide to lobby the legislation on to Dr. Mark Hine, senior vice president of student affairs.
Although it gets signed and approved by the three branches in SGA, all legislation only takes effect if it gets approved by Hine and passed along to Falwell for his signature.
“We simply are giving suggestions to administration to say ‘hey this is what we think about this.’ It can be something as simple as a slow elevator or iced coffee,” Rockey said.
Many times, Rockey said the administration does not know what the students want to see implemented, but SGA is able to represent the students and listen to their concerns. Esther Lusenge, student body vice president, said sometimes when they bring legislation to Hine, it can take time to research and figure out if the resolution works for the school.
“I think it’s easy for a student to think that once a piece of legislation passes it will just happen, but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes,” Lusenge said. “Sometimes, Dr. Hine will even talk to us about how once a piece of legislation is signed, there is something already in process, or they know now there is a demand for it and will start working on it.”
The author of the monthly open dorms legislation, Dorien Porter, serves as a house delegate in SGA, listening to the desires of students as he writes new legislation. Dorien said having a scheduled time for open dorms will allow Resident Assistants (RA) to be better prepared for that time. The open dorms resolution was voted through the legislative branch and introduced to Rockey Jan. 14. In contrast, the Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee resolution, created by junior class officer Kay Merry, took almost a year before making it to Falwell’s desk.
Since campaigning on the slogan “One Liberty,” Rockey and Lusenge continue to look for ways to engage the student body together. Some of their recent initiatives are the Lunatics student section and university rings.
Rockey said Lunatics was an idea tossed around in the previous year when Rockey served as student body vice president while Jacob Page was president during the 2018-2019 school year. SGA launched the student section in August 2019 and hopes to continue to ramp up student involvement.
Junior and senior students can purchase university class rings through SGA’s website, which feature a unified crest on either a gold or silver ring band. According to Rockey, they thought creating a unified ring style could play into their goal to unify the Liberty family, including current students and alumni.
As Rockey and the SGA administration work to pass more legislation, Rockey said they are here to serve the student body and make suggestions on their behalf.
“We find it to be our honor and responsibility to serve and represent the student body, so when we work with administration, we want them to know that we support the student body and care about them,” Rockey said.
Troutman is the news editor. Follow her on Twitter.