The Issue: The student body tends to reap the benefits of Student Government Association’s legislations, but criticize their “lack of work” and disconnection to the student body.
Our Take: As the current SGA executive cabinet wraps up their year, students should recognize accomplishments of the organization and get involved to bring more change to campus.
When Ty Kelley and Rachel Jones ran for executive president and vice president, the Optimist Editorial Board saw hope and excitement in their platforms and decided to endorse.
We applauded their unity as a team and believe they lived up to expectations this year, and exceeded what their platform a year ago had to offer.
With the first-ever Join Week, SGA encouraged students to get involved on campus, even if it wasn’t Congress. Through their email, “firstname.lastname@example.org,” they received over 200 inquiries for student involvement.
Kelley and Jones introduced SGA Week to increase awareness and participation for congressional elections, and filled almost every seat in Congress this year, something that hasn’t been done in over four years.
Congress proposed 47 pieces of legislation, passing 28, both numbers higher than last year’s SGA.
For the first time in its history, SGA had a constitutional convention to completely redraft the constitution and restructure Congress to become the Senate. In addition, they added a judicial branch to administer legislation and oversee student disciplinary issues.
SGA supported athletics this year more than every year in the past, giving out 200 tickets to the women’s basketball NCAA Div. I tournament, and hosting a (massive) watch party for the men’s trip to Jacksonville.
At football games, they gave out $3,000 in scholarships and other prizes to encourage attendance, and continued supporting social clubs to tailgate and participate in games. For the season opener against Baylor, they gave out 200 discounted tickets for students to attend.
What seemed like the most significant contribution, SGA brought Bird scooters to the university during the fall semester. Riders rode over 17,000 miles across campus and the surrounding areas. Though they are unavailable due to changes within the company, SGA is already working to find alternatives for next semester.
The scooters generated external funding for SGA, something that hasn’t been done in the past.
Financially, SGA is on track to end the year under budget as opposed to last year’s $25,000 overage.
In addition, Colton Powell, treasurer, and Kevin Schurtz, chief financial officer, created a new spreadsheet and equation to figure out allocation amounts for every organization.
Though they didn’t keep their promises with projects such as a dog park, they did compensate with projects like Bird, fixing the Bible building doors, donating $2,000 to Pepperdine in the midst of a series of tragedies and lighting up campus with the first-ever “LitMas.”
If there’s anything to critique, it’s just hope that the next administration improves communication with the student body. While a restructuring of Congress might make SGA more productive, the student body wasn’t ever asked for feedback prior to the constitutional amendments. Though we’re waiting on a vote to confirm the changes, a lack of communication leaves the student body confused about why the changes are being proposed and what they’ll do.
Overall, the Editorial Board looks at this administration as completing a successful, positive and constructive year. Hopefully, next year will be the same.