Reflections of an outgoing SGA President

, Beacon Correspondent

As my term comes to a close, I have started to think about the kind of advice I would give the incoming SGA Executive President. I’ve started to think about what is most important, and I’ve come to the opinion that it is communication.

In my time as president, I made a commitment to increase communication on campus. It wasn’t hard-hitting news and the media may not have been impressed, but I still believe it’s an important issue. Several times my Joint Session members have remarked how often a failure to communicate on campus has created problems for students with registration, housing, and even important financial aid documents.

The SGA needs to require openness from the administration. Transparency is a necessary condition of administrators’ relationship with SGA—without it, student government will not have the knowledge needed to create change.

The petitions, riots, and theatrics that occasionally transpire may make for great news, but conversations are more efficient — not to mention cleaner. The next group of SGA representatives will have the duty to make a good impression on the administration on behalf of the entire student body. You have to be willing to cooperate and collaborate, not just make blind demands without getting your facts straight. I’d like to think that we accomplished this, but we need to keep our reputation of being an informed party devoted to improving this great college.

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I hope SGA continues inviting administrators to meetings and delivering the knowledge they’ve learned to their constituents. Conversations with administrators have helped us determine what steps are needed to improve our foreign language program and deal with our flawed registration system.

Through our work with them we have finally seen our eggs become cage-free and our vegetarian and vegan sections of the Dining Hall been completely separated from meat products.

This year, we built groundwork for great change and created standards for those who hold office in student government. Being on student government isn’t just about what you do or say within meetings, though unfortunately this is the only thing most students hear about.

Recognition was never among the reasons for me to run for office. For those who may run for office to gain recognition, prepare to be disappointed.

Being on student government is about the extra hours you put in speaking to constituents you don’t know, putting together emails to administrators asking for clarity, and looking through appeals and asking questions well before they are presented in meetings.  It is our duty to do our work outside of meetings so we don’t waste time during meetings.

So now that we have this great relationship with the administration, what of our constituents?

Student apathy is nothing new, but we need new ways to show students why they should care. We have brainstormed great ideas, and I hope to see them implemented next year. I hope to see SGA members tabling for important issues and surveys being handed out in classes. I also hope to see more forums and outlets for students like the Come Complain Campaign.

If we did all these things, students would see why it’s worth the time to be involved in student government. They would see that we’re not just a bank, but a government of students for students.

I have never regretted a second I have been in office, and I truly believe it’s because I love this college. I love the people in it and the opportunities they have given me. As students, even if you don’t have the time to be in student government it is your duty to stay involved. 

Learn the names of your representatives and stay in correspondence with them regarding issues that matter to you. I assure you it will pay off and that it won’t keep you long from that ten-page paper for Latin Literature that you should have started a week ago.

Only through communication can we see an effective student government; as students that go to a communication school this should be blatantly obvious.

If we as representatives can accurately represent you then we can be more credible to the administration and more effective. We need to hold not just our titles and seats, but also your interests and concerns.