SGA advisor Craig Berger bids farewell to UMBC

SGA advisor Craig Berger bids farewell to UMBC

After working at UMBC for over six years, SGA advisor Craig Berger will be relocating to Kent State University in Ohio.

His last day at UMBC was Nov. 17.

Although Berger wore multiple hats during his tenure at the university, he was best known as the full-time advisor to UMBC’s Student Government Association. In this position, he attended SGA meetings, including those of the Senate, and would often “meet with members one on one” to discuss current affairs.

SGA took up most of Berger’s workload, though not all. “I’d say I spent about 70 to 80 percent of my [working] time alongside the SGA,” he said.

The remaining 20 to 30 percent mainly belonged to his other duties as the Coordinator of Student Life for Campus and Civic Engagement. In this role, Berger was involved in events and civic engagement initiatives throughout UMBC. Additionally, he was engaged within the campus community as an author of Co-Create UMBC, a blog which, according to its Facebook page, “supports members of the UMBC community as leaders and change agents by sharing news, ideas, profiles and stories.”

As the advisor for SGA, Berger recalled some events that stood out to him. One of these was the impeachment trial of former SGA President Anthony Jankoski, which he described as a “pretty low point” for the organization. The trial took place in 2015 and Jankoski was accused of violating Rule 10, which states that candidates may not be “harassed, badgered, or intimidated by candidates or their supporters.” Jankoski was ultimately acquitted by the SGA Senate, 2-9.

Berger added, “Whenever there’s an impeachment trial, it’s like an atomic bomb… even if the impeachment is justified, that takes a toll on the organization and its reputation on campus.”

He mentioned specifically that these types of events draw attention to the drama and conflict at the expense of productive discussions about “the work that could be done.”

He also went on to say that he views the “work that is being done now” as a “high point” for SGA, noting that, as of this year, many people in positions within the organization have been taking responsibility in ways that previous leaders had not. “There are students that are really investing in their positions and making SGA a better organization or making the campus a better place,” he says, adding, “For me, that makes it inspiring, and it’s a little bit difficult to leave [SGA] knowing the upward trajectory of the organization.”

After leaving UMBC, Craig will be positioned in Kent State University, the main campus of which is located close to his Ohio hometown. His new title will be Assistant Director for the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement. In this post, he will be involved in creating and engaging in opportunities for students for purposes like participating in volunteer work, presenting research or making policies, which he says he looks forward to doing.

He noted, though, that he holds fond memories of UMBC and will miss his time here. During his one-on-one sessions with the students, he particularly enjoyed “getting to know them personally, watching them grow, and seeing what they would do after they left UMBC,” something he described as “the most rewarding part.”