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SGA works to fix problems of past boards, move toward change

Nikki Taylor | Thursday, December 10, 2009

 Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) has set lofty goals for themselves this year and thus far they have been working hard to achieve these aims and check them off the to-do list.

This year’s SGA board is implementing numerous changes in order to fix some of the problems that past boards had come under scrutiny for. SGA is trying to make their operations transparent and fair across the board.

In the first half of their year of change, SGA has put a strong focus on the group being more transparent with the student body. They want the students to be able to see what SGA does for them. SGA is striving to have a stronger presence on campus to help earn the trust of students.  

Efforts being made to enhance this include more publicity for SGA sponsored events (like the little table tents in the dining hall), a student government Facebook page and SGA members wearing SGA apparel to advertise who the board members are. 

At the beginning of the year, SGA wrote out a list of 32 goals they would like to work on by the end of the year. The last time the list was looked at four out of those 32 goals were checked off and one goal on the list, better communication with the office of special events, is currently a work in progress.

This number looks small, but SGA had their hands full this semester passing their budget, sending out and listening to appeals for allotments and making changes to sponsorship guidelines.

Thus far SGA has passed two resolutions, one about the use of the French cross and another on Saint Mary’s IT department supporting student government computers. Student body president Jenny Hoffman and vice president Megan Griffin researched Saint Mary’s peer institutions’ IT departments before contacting the College’s about servicing SGA computers.

This fall SGA has also planned successful all campus events including a trip to Wabash College, and the Navy Ball.

The organization has also discussed making the student center a more attractive place to study, and while many ideas were thrown around, nothing seems to have been decided or moved upon. 

SGA did research health care on campus and discussed the possibility of getting another gynecologist on campus, but found the logistics would not work out. This issue therefore seems to have been dropped. 

The system to distribute money for club sponsorships also underwent changes this year as result of SGA’s work. SGA changed the name of the process from co-sponsorships to sponsorships because SGA usually ends up paying more than the club itself. They have also put in place strict regulations as to how the process should be run, and clubs will be denied funding if they do not follow the procedure.

The board is trying very hard to enforce a policy of requesting funds with documentation of costs before they are purchased to avoid reimbursements in an effort to better utilize student resources. Clubs are also required to show receipts after purchases are made with sponsorship money in order to ensure correct spending. 

In the second half of the semester, once sponsorship requests began coming in, SGA became distracted with sponsorships while other issues on their agenda seemed to have been on the back burner. However, the board is committed to ironing out all the kinks in the new sponsorship program this year in order to leave a stronger legacy behind.

One of SGA’s goals for the year is to increase their presence in the greater community. The board will be taking part in at least one service project next semester to help the community.  

In the next semester, SGA will continue to review sponsorships for clubs. In the spring, they hope to have completed an SGA handbook that will go out to all of the clubs on campus and will outline new sponsorship guidelines, allotments and will also direct clubs to various campus offices, which should be used as resources.

All things considered, SGA is off to a great start this semester. If the group wants to accomplish everything on their to-do list, they will need to devote time and hard work in the spring to their priorities. Of their work this semester, their efforts to be more in contact with the student body have been successful and are appreciated. 

SGA is working hard to better serve the student body and the changes they made will certainly help, but there is still always more to be done. 

Grade: A-

SGA has been setting the bar high for themselves, and best of all, they are following through. They quickly and efficiently passed their budget, and have reorganized some of their internal policies while still keeping up sponsorships and planning events for the College. While they have only gotten through four items on their list, they have done so while still accomplishing many important changes for the student body. There is still some work that needs to be done when it comes to advertising what they offer on campus. Overall though, as long as they stay focused and prioritize well, they should manage to end the semester with several more of their initiatives completed.