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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

SGA Convenes Larchmont Day for Neighboring Student Leaders

By Tom Robinson


In the hush of Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors room, Noah Butler, chief justice of the Student Government Association, stood to address 26 people seated around the table, ruffling their printed agendas.

"Does anyone know what a bill is?" Butler asked.

Came the considered response: "Um . . . the beak of a duck?"

Welcome to the SGA's second Larchmont Day, in which the student council of neighboring Larchmont Elementary School visited for a fun tutorial on how to run a government meeting, how a bill is debated and created, even how to properly adjourn for snacks upstairs at Webb Center.

"I hope the kids leave with encouragement to continue what they're doing, and to do it in the future as well," said Shakira Johnson, SGA chief of staff. "The partnership with Larchmont is great. We should definitely do this every single year."

Johnson began Tuesday's mid-day visit with a tour of Webb Center and the SGA office, followed by Speaker of the Senate Travis Rickman calling the meeting to order with the crack of his gavel.

After individual welcomes from the SGA officers and introductions by the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, Butler explained the procedure of turning a bill into law.

Rickman defined the role of debate and how to do it. The students then got to exercise their own powers of persuasion: Rickman split the students into two groups, one to argue for the use of school uniforms, the other to oppose them.

"Say you live in Arizona, it's 101 degrees outside, and you're in pants, a white shirt and a sweater," noted one young member of the opposition. "It's just depressing."

His argument won applause from the SGA officers. Nonetheless, after a huddle, the SGA panel determined the uniform advocates carried the day.

Prizes went to the most engaged debaters and, after a short Q & A, a motion for adjournment for refreshments was seconded.

"Four kids were here last year and were so thrilled to be invited back," said Beth McOsker, co-sponsor of the Larchmont student council. "Parents even wrote notes to say they were really glad we were going again. For the kids to see things done in this arena means much more to them than having us talk at them."