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SGA introduces new organizational structure

Tabitha Ricketts | Monday, February 13, 2012


Major changes are in the works for next year’s Student Government Association (SGA) at Saint Mary’s.

Senior Emily Skirtich, SGA chief of staff, introduced the new structure in a slideshow presentation Monday night.

“We’ve broken up [SGA] to cover all aspects of student life,” Skirtich said. “We don’t want to have the power consolidated in one place.”

The voting body will be restructured into five councils and one senate. 

The updated SGA will have a minimum of 15 new elected positions under the new Student Senate, comprised of four rising seniors, four rising juniors and four rising sophomores, in addition to three first year students who will be elected next fall. 

“[SGA is] a small, sample population of the student body,” Skirtich said. “That’s why we broke it up by class — to get fair, objective representation.”

Senators’ responsibilities will include voting on the SGA budget and approving legislation for the Student Activities Board, Residence Hall Association, Student Diversity Board and Class Boards.  

Senior Liz Busam, SGA executive treasurer, said the Senate’s job will be to effect change on campus. 

“The job of the Senate is to be a governing body that is able to pass legislature and make changes,” Busam said. 

SGA will include a six-branch split of executive powers, run under the direction of the student body president and vice president, as well as the vice presidents of internal and external affairs and finance, respectively. 

The Council of Activities, Council of Class Boards, Council of Committee Chairs, Student Academic Council and Council of Clubs will also offer new opportunities for student involvement.

The new Council of Committee Chairs offers a minimum of 30 new appointed positions for students. 

Ten committee chairs are being proposed to SGA on Wednesday, including a Committee for Social Concerns, an International Committee, a Committee of Food Services, a Sustainability Committee and a Committee of First Year Concerns. 

“I think the new structure will really help the flow of information from those who make the decisions down to those who are affected by them,” Busam said. “Overall it’s going to benefit the student body and make everything we do more efficient.”

The student body president and the vice president of internal affairs choose the committee chairs. Each committee chair will have the power to appoint a minimum of two and a maximum of five members to their committee.

“You have a voice and an opinion in a lot of the big issues that are going on around Saint Mary’s.” Skirtich said. “It’s really increasing student participation … Our old structure just wasn’t serving all the purposes that 2012 necessitates. I think it’s important for future posterity and for future Belles. It’s a step towards a better student government.”

The Student Academic Council will be comprised of academic representatives chosen by the educational departments to serve as liaisons between those departments and the student body.

The Council of Class Boards will contain the president and vice president for each class of Saint Mary’s students, as elected by the students.

The Council of Activities also has elected positions, and contains the offices of Resident Hall Association president and vice president, the Student Activities Board president and vice president and the Student Diversity Board president and vice president.

The Council of Clubs will include the presidents, vice presidents, and treasurers of the approximately 80 clubs on campus. 

“We’re trying to streamline a lot of our efforts, collaborate forces and operate more efficiently,” Skirtich said. 

Informational meetings will be held for those interested in running for next year’s student government positions Feb. 15 and 16 at 6 p.m. in the student government office of the Saint Mary’s Student Center.