The All College Meeting (ACM) is held every Wednesday afternoon in the Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Community Center. The ACM allows the entirety of the COA community to come together to review the work being done in different committees. Both students and faculty attend the meetings and voice their opinions on the affairs being addressed. Each week reviews different works, and community members are encouraged to come to any and all assemblies. These meetings give students an opportunity to understand and be a part of the college’s inner workings – a unique aspect of COA’s governance.

ACM topics range from budget details, calendar suggestions, campus concepts, and school policies, among other things. During these meetings, students can not only get insight into the college’s governing system, but play an active role in its development, as well. It’s an opportune time for students to voice their opinions on the school’s administration and gain an understanding of how actions are implemented.

Augustin Martz ’17 is one of the students who attends most ACMs:

“When I came here I didn’t go to any ACMs for the first two months, and then I went to one and I understood much more about how the college works and how students can be involved in shaping the college, and I think that it’s really wonderful. It’s a good thing because it’s the student’s school, and in that way it’s making it possible for them to participate in the governance. It’s really good. It’s very important.”

The purpose of COA’s governance system is twofold. The system is, first, a mechanism to encourage innovative, participatory administration of the college. Beyond that, however, it is also an integral aspect of education at COA. Through participation in the governance system, community members learn about everything from the democratic process to building codes, from affirmative action law to group dynamics, from diplomacy to stress management.

In short, the COA community has an opportunity to involve themselves in the decisions that affect their lives while at the college, an opportunity that is rare among institutions of higher learning. Involvement in governance is one way of expressing the long-term commitment to COA that many of us here feel deeply.

There are also ways beyond ACM that students can get involved with the school’s governance. There are a number of committees that students can join to get involved with the college‘s affairs, including the internship committee, student life committee, campus building and planning committee, and others.