SGA looks ahead to Spring 2018 semester after turnover in leadership positions
After the departure of 10 senators by the end of the Fall semester, Student Government Association is mixing experienced legislators with new faces and ideas this semester.
Though last semester resulted in just one piece of legislation, SGA leadership maintains President Anna Owens’ administration will continue to pursue projects.
The organization has provided tabling around campus, intending to collect student opinion. It also hosted a Student Body Town Hall hoping students would attend to speak directly to student government. The organization is planning to host another Student Body Town Hall this semester to gather more input from constituents.
Senate Leader Caroline Murray has noticed the student body has struggled to embrace the atmosphere this administration created.
“A lot of times, the student body doesn't feel like we are doing any work if they don't see that progress,” Murray said.
Murray said SGA is still working on pushing for the creation of a Gender and Sexuality Center on campus, but added the project will take years to accomplish.
Last semester, SGA began with a full senate. Now, the senate has a headcount of 14 — two senators less than the required number for a quorum, or the number of people necessary to vote on legislation and leadership positions. Murray said four senators resigned at the beginning of the academic year for personal reasons, medical reasons or scheduling conflicts. Another resigned to pursue the presidency of his fraternity. December graduation also drained the senate of two students.
"(What is a) setback, while it's an exciting opportunity to have, is 10 to 14 new senators," Murray said.
Murray added she would prefer quality over quantity when senators are elected Jan. 22 at the first SGA meeting of the semester.
Senators work on projects of their own creation throughout the semester and are required to serve three office hours per week, Owens said. They also must attend the weekly SGA meetings at 7 p.m. Mondays in the UC Auditorium.
SGA Vice President Derek Sturvist says there's a similar setback in the administration's cabinet, noting there are vacancies in the press secretary, volunteer coordinator, officer manager and co-legal clinic director positions.
"We have to be really active in making sure the new students coming in understand what they have to do," Sturvist said, adding the administration will provide newcomers with support, resources and acclimating them to SGA's atmosphere.
Owens, Sturvist and Murray nodded at the student body's negative opinion regarding last semester's lack of legislation.
It has been difficult finding projects that both satisfy the expectations of the student body and are reasonable within the organization's means of accomplishment, Murray noted.
"It does seem like legislation can get passed and then disappear," Sturvist said.
Sturvist added that this administration is focusing more on the aspect of passing legislation that can be implemented, not simply approved to appease constituents.