By Amelia Krauss
The Student Government Association executive officers met early this semester to discuss changes to the structure of class councils and stricter SGA Student Senate requirements and to plan a campus-wide event the officers hope will become a tradition that will stir excitement for years to come.
One major change SGA plans to implement this year is the creation of committees within the class councils.
Kylie McDonald, senior political science major and SGA president, said the committees will help council members capitalize on their strengths and use their talents in specific areas that are of interest to each individual.
“Class councils help to foster community by planning community service opportunities, class events and UnioNation events, and the class officers have expressed interest in creating committees for their councils to focus on these three areas as well as possible others,” said Jordan Wilson, senior accounting major and SGA vice president.
Officers also are planning the “Council Kick-Off” event Sept. 12 for all members of the class councils. McDonald said the event will give SGA the opportunity to share its vision for SGA and the school year, encourage the councils and communicate how vital council members are in the work of SGA.
Freshman and sophomore applications for class council membership are due Friday, and all applicants must sign up for an interview time for the following week. Junior and senior class council applications are due Sept. 7.
Another major change pertains to Senate attendance. Each student organization on campus has two senators who represent their respective group at Senate meetings. In the past, SGA has not adhered to attendance guidelines as outlined in the SGA constitution. However, McDonald said this year SGA plans to uphold the guidelines by requiring senators to be in attendance.
“The SGA Constitution says that each Senator is allowed two absences, given that they provide a substitute,” Wilson said. “If this doesn’t happen, they risk expulsion from Senate. This year, we are going to stress attendance and follow up on it, because we believe that attendance and participation in Senate are very important if we are going to represent the students and make positive changes on campus.”
McDonald also emphasized the importance of attendance, suggesting that it would affect not only SGA but also the entire campus.
“The purpose of Senate is to present student concerns to improve Union for students,” McDonald said. “So if Senate is taken more seriously, the administration is going to have more respect for the organization and (that will) to encourage senators to write better bills because they know they’re taken seriously. Senate as an entity will better be able to impact the campus for the good of students.”
Another major topic that has been the highlight of conversation among SGA executive officers is an upcoming campus-wide event that Wilson said remains “top secret.” McDonald said the executive officers are in the beginning stages of planning an event that they hope will bring back a Union tradition during the week that would normally be homecoming during the fall semester.
“It’s something that Union has done before but not since I’ve been here,” McDonald said. “We’re hoping to bring it back bigger and better than it used to be and create an event that Union students will love and that could potentially become a cherished tradition.”
Knowledge about this event is limited to SGA executive officers, but McDonald said there will be a “slow progression of letting the campus know” through multimedia and the support of other student organizations.
“I’m really excited for this semester, because we have an incredibly gifted and diverse group of class officers,” McDonald said.
The first SGA Student Senate meeting will be at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 5.