SGA officials wrap up semester
Assistant News Editor Michael Brophy sat down with the entire Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Board to discuss the organization's accomplishments and failures this past semester, as well as its goals for the rest of the year after SGA's final meeting of the semester on Sunday, December 6.
During SGA's October 4 meeting, you discussed the possibility of taking action to make Security's new role more transparent. That hasn't happened, and many students still have questions about Security's new role on campus. Why didn't you follow up on this idea?
SGA President Jake Fischer: That's one of the things that's just sort of slipped through the cracks; it just didn't happen. As far as the actual rules [that govern Security] go, there is no "allowed" or "not allowed." As for protocol, nothing has changed. They've just decided not to go into dorms until last rounds.
SGA Vice President Katie Unsworth: This is an issue where we didn't know where it was going to go because of the new implementation system; it's a new approach. We are going to talk to [Community Advisors] CAs and other student leader groups to figure out what's going on, what the problems are and confront it as student body and student leaders as opposed to mandated policy from Security.
One of the administration's main goals is to change the culture of JanPlan and give students more opportunities for intellectual activity in and outside of their classes. What sort of role do you see SGA playing in this process?
Unsworth: Because of our budget surplus [of $11,000 this semester], SGA will be operating in JanPlan for the first time ever this year and we are going to offer clubs funding for the first time ever as well. We are looking to do our part to make sure there will be more student events going on and we expect to see some really positive change.
Publicity Chair Ricky Schwartz: One thing that I've noticed that the administration has done is that a lot of classes are starting earlier. For example, I'm taking a class that starts at 10 a.m., when in the past I don't think I've ever taken a JanPlan class that started before 1 p.m. I think that in itself will play a big part in helping kids take their time on campus in January more seriously.
Looking back, what are you, as an Executive Board, most proud of having accomplished so far this year?
Unsworth: I think everybody in SGA is really happy with the HFAC [Housing Facilities Advisory Committee] proposal that we just passed. I'm impressed by the committee, in particular Julie [Achenbaum] and Justin [Rouse's] leadership on the project.
Parliamentarian Julie Achenbaum: I think the document we finally passed is really concrete. We got a ton of student input and we got a chance to bounce it back and forth among PC for over a month. We really worked hard to pass something that we had student support behind. We worked on it in the fall and we will put it into affect in the spring.
Schwartz: [Proposals like HFAC's] have helped us gain a lot of traction with students and faculty. I believe that there is a lot of positive belief in SGA. Students have been turning more to SGA [this semester] because they believe in SGA and we are really getting back to having a positive impact on this campus. The more that people believe in SGA, the more we can create change...I think we've created a fabulous framework this semester and, if we leverage it correctly in the spring, I think we will have tremendous success.
What do you see as your shortcomings this past semester and how do you hope to correct those mistakes moving into 2010?
Fischer: One of the biggest challenges I faced early on was prioritizing things. There were so many things that I wanted to look at and try, and I had a really hard time picking one at first and following it all the way to completion. Also, we could probably do a better job being more transparent about what we're doing at all times.
One of our big projects for next spring is to complete and approve the Statement of Student Rights. We showed a draft to Bro [Adams] in the fall and he told us that the content is good and idea is good, but not written in a way that the school could approve. Basically, the language wasn't consistent.
Unsworth: It's going to take a lot of drafts to figure out what our role [as students] is, how we see ourselves on campus and what expectations we have for each other and what expectations the college has for us.