SGA shares plans to double down on, expand last year’s successes


Student Government Association executive board members introduce themselves at the first meeting of the year Sept. 9, 2019 in Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Central Michigan University's Student Government Association kicked off the 2018-19 academic year Sept. 9 with a meeting devoted to acquainting the student body with what SGA is, who’s involved, and how it works. As the executive board members introduced themselves, they detailed their visions they want to accomplish this year. 

Two of SGA’s biggest projects last year were re-upped in the yearly budget passed at the beginning of the meeting. The budget put $1,000 toward hosting another Golden Gala and $1,500 toward expanding the Menstrual Hygiene Product Initiative, which brought free tampons to four campus bathrooms last year. 

SGA meetings take place 7 p.m. every Monday in Bovee University Center Auditorium.

A new committee – the outreach committee, chaired by senior Yvon Bergner – is replacing the RSO growth and development committee. The outreach committee aims to connect with first-generation, low-income, minority and off-campus students.

Bergner compared the outreach committee and the diversity committee with a metaphor.

“Diversity is coming to the table. Inclusion is coming to the table and having a voice. Belonging is coming to the table and having a voice that’s listened to. What I want to make sure is, what if you’re lactose intolerant? How am I going to eat the food at this table? … What if my parents don’t understand financial aid because they only speak Spanish?” Bergner said.

Bergner wants the outreach committee to facilitate an event for first-generation students sometime in the middle of the semester and to host another “Let’s Get Life Smart” event, hosted last year by the RSO growth and development committee.

Academic affairs committee chair Brandon McDonald said one of his committee’s goals is to establish “usable study space” in the area where Barnes Hall stood until this summer, and to host “Coffee and Complaints,” an open forum where students can meet SGA members and discuss issues they are having with the university.

Provost Mary Schutten, appointed over the summer, introduced herself at the meeting and outlined the benefits of involvement in student organizations. She came in place of President Bob Davies, who had scheduling issues and was unable to attend.

Schutten brought laughs as she described the path that brought her to CMU. Previously the dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at San José State University, she noted that neither the Chippewas nor the San José State Spartans could put much of anything together last year.

Campus engagement leads students to be more interested in going to class and to “achieve more,” Schutten said, which she translated as doing homework on time and getting good grades. She said the input of multiple voices also fosters creativity and teaches students networking skills.

“You being engaged helps make this place safe, inclusive," Schutten said. "You create the climate and the culture here on campus."

SGA meetings take place 7 p.m. every Monday in Bovee University Center Auditorium. At the next meeting, all students present will have the opportunity to elect senators, who represent each of CMU’s colleges, and a house leader. 

To represent your registered student organization in the SGA House, fill out the fall 2019 Membership Form on SGA’s Engage Central page. If you're still scratching your head about how can get involved, an 'informal' informational meeting is taking place 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 in the Isabella Room in the UC.