What SA does: Freshmen in SA Congress typically think they are going to do great things for the student body, but they soon realize the bulk of their job involves long meetings, voting on wordy bills and helping plan overrated events. Meanwhile, upperclassmen in business or political science realize SA Congress allows them to practice administration skills, so they get involved with the minimum effort required. By the end of the spring semester last year, attendance was so low, Congress didn’t have the numbers to vote on anything. They had to start doing absentee voting via Google Forms.
What SA should be: All SA Congress really needs is a consistently good attitude about serving the student body. In the past, I’ve noticed only two groups of SA representatives actually showing that they care about the work: the executive cabinet and a small group of interested, outspoken Congress members. The rest of Congress just yawns through the meetings, votes quickly and leaves. SA already has the resources and the diverse pull of the student body to do great things. If every member shows up with a good attitude, they could do a great job.
What SA does: I served in SA as a representative of the College of Arts and Sciences for three semesters. It started mostly as a resume-builder, but it quickly turned into a family. Although people assume SA is supposed to be a mini-government, it’s also a way to make connections and lifelong friendships. I also volunteered more in my time serving with SA and I got involved with football games and immersed myself in the culture of different student groups.
What SA should be: Supported. Respected. Two things that they are not. They put on events and concerts that thousands of people don’t recognize (nor attend). SA has a lot of stepping up to do this year, especially in transparency with the student body, but I don’t doubt what they’re doing is meaningful. Sometimes I question some of the bills and resolutions that I hear about (and participated voting in), but I urge the upcoming Congress members and Executive Cabinet to focus on things they are passionate about, regardless of how small. To Congress: from smelly bathrooms to bean food, and cowbells to racial issues on campus, pursue what you consider valuable. You will do great things this year.
ONE IN EMILLION
What SA Does: SA is just a resume bullet point. I served as the representative for my dorm during my freshman year. I can honestly say that my time in SA wasn’t made by the amounts of time we spent “debating” bills that really never made a difference to students. The truth is SA never made anything for me. SA is sitting on money and they don’t know how to manage it (or at least they haven’t in years past). SA is simply another medium organizations need to go through; simply another obstacle. I can see why idea of having peers serving peers can seem innovative and creative. However, the relationships have always seemed to turn sour and distrust begins to form. Their concerts, cookouts, tailgates or “reforms” do not suffice.
What SA should be: A group of qualified individuals. I cannot put my trust in a peer to make the decisions for me if they don’t even know me or haven’t even put forth the effort. The people who run for SA positions fall into the three categories; those who are interested in careers within the government, those who just joined for their resumes sake and those who simply are in in for the power (and money). SA needs to be run by qualified individuals who have previous experience in student government, money management and exposure on campus instead of their personal bubbles.
What SA does: I think SA is selling themselves short. I honestly think it does a great job with the resources it has, but it could potentially have more than just a voice in where the money for student organizations go. I have had many friends involved on a large scale with SA, so I know how hard they work and it means well, but SA should really help themselves out. It seems to be very focused with things here on campus, yet there is little progress made. I know money is allotted to different organizations and things are done to add bike accessibility around campus, but SA often limits itself to the ACU bubble.
What SA should be: A unified front. First and foremost those within SA have to be unified, not necessarily in all their thinking but in what the important issues are. There are a lot of organizations at the college level that work close with political movements and reform and I think SA should look into partnering with them, and move from a larger scale than just ACU. At ACU we struggle to look beyond the bubble we put ourselves in. If SA can activate the platform it has been given to match the goal with which ACU so happily displays, to be world leaders rather than just campus leaders, SA could change how it’s viewed and enhance the effect and influence it has.
I’M JESS SAYIN’
What SA does: When I think of SA, I think of social activities. Class parties, tailgates, concerts – these are the most visible things SA coordinates throughout the year. Once in awhile, they pass a bill about recycling or other small reforms on campus.
What SA should be: When I say small reforms, I don’t mean to demean those issues. In fact, I think SA should be more driven toward passing those bills. In my three years at ACU, I can only vaguely remember SA passing two such bills, one on recycling and one to fix the handicap automatic door buttons all around campus (none of them worked my freshman year). SA should be more focused on these small issues that make a huge difference. There are probably more that I don’t know about, so make sure to tell us when you do change something like that – we appreciate it. In fact, I would argue there are times when we appreciate it a little more than we appreciate what our student activity fee goes to.
What SA does: I believe that SA helps the student body in the betterment of ourselves. They help create events and deal with issues to address things that divide us as a whole. Sometimes we view SA as doing things that we don’t like, but they are only taking all opinions into account. They work to make the school a place where people of all identities can come together and have at least one thing in common.
What SA should be: I think SA should become a place that students feel safe turning to if they have something to say. We often feel as though others won’t accept our ideas if they differ from the norm. SA should be a place where those ideas go, so that they can fully account for the ideas of the student community. Face it, it would be extremely boring if we went to a school where our ideas and opinions were all exactly the same. SA should be a place where ideas, aside from how different they may be, are welcome and considered.