With the SGA elections wrapping up, and sessions of congress starting, the editorial board is looking forward to the 2018-2019 session of congress, but we also have a few recommendations and concerns.
Though the executive cabinet appears to be a cohesive unit and congress appears to be as full, there are still things SGA needs to clean up.
In years past, SGA has distinguished itself as an organization with poor communication and a lack of vision. While this improved somewhat last year, we encourage the SGA executive cabinet to clearly present quantifiably positive results to the student body. SGA funds a number of student organizations which serve a variety of students, and it is among the most important duties to be transparent about how funding the groups has a meaningful impact for the student body as a whole.
Alongside budget transparency, SGA needs to be transparent about resolutions and bills that pass, as well as issues congress faces as a whole. The executive cabinet needs to recognize and address the issues it has.
A common knock against SGA has been the lack of diversity. Albeit there is not much SGA can do to force people to join congress, however, setting the groundwork for more diverse congresses and executive cabinets in years to come should be something this years SGA strives for. Just as diversity is a strength in national politics, it is also an important component of campus politics.
Additionally, the diversity we are advocating for isn’t exclusively racially based, though we urge this to improve. We believe SGA should be filled with students who are underclassmen, students who identify as LGBTQ+ and international students. The policies of SGA impact all students, including these aforementioned groups who are generally underrepresented.
Furthermore, we believe that SGA can capitalize on the residence hall representatives in order to partner more closely with Residence Life. This could occur in a number of ways. SGA has the ability to host small town halls in each residence hall to directly ask what needs improvements within each dorm. For example, last semester male freshman residences Mabee Hall and McKenzie Hall competed in a rivalry basketball game. If they were to do this again, perhaps SGA could donate a sum of money to the winning dorm’s choice of charity.
We are confident the representatives of SGA will work on ways to be inclusive to non-club students, primarily the freshman class.
Most importantly, we wish SGA would be at the forefront of the tough conversations on campus. SGA is in a unique position, where it can have any discussion with faculty, staff and administration. They should advocate tirelessly and effectively when campus conversation is dominated by university policy changes, but also when there is too much silence.
SGA should take into consideration more minority groups to increase the unison of campus. There are large gaps between different groups, such as club and non-club students, and it is the role of SGA to fill those spaces.
Though SGA cannot take full blame for students who do or don’t participate, they are the number one organization to advocate for change. Ultimately, we look forward to this year and the effective changes the executive cabinet and congress have the potential to bring about.