SGA leaders discuss plans for upcoming year
Sara Schlecht | Wednesday, August 28, 2019
With the new semester underway, leaders of Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) have begun their work for the academic year. Senior Terra Nelson, student body president, said in an email the planning for first-year student programming began over the summer.
Nelson said she and student body vice president Olivia Allen, senior, wanted to get an early start of promoting community, the College’s core value for this year. Accordingly, they started with making changes to Belles Beginnings, the orientation programming for new Saint Mary’s students.
“Our first order of business was helping to restructure Belles Beginnings,” she said. “Enhancing Belles Beginnings was something we were passionate about, and our community committee co-chairs worked hard this summer to make that come to life. … We believe that community is what makes Saint Mary’s home, and we want to welcome Belles with open arms,” Nelson said. “Through fostering a stronger community, we hope to increase college retention as well.”
Another of Nelson and Allen’s planned initiatives is increasing transparency within SGA.
“We plan on opening our Student Government Association weekly meetings to all students as to enhance College transparency,” Nelson said.
With the recent hiring of a director for the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), Nelson said SGA looks forward to the two organizations working together.
“We applaud the administration for taking action in hiring a new [BAVO] director,” Nelson said. “All SGA members met with the new director and were able to have a discussion about the safety of our students. … The safety and well-being of our students is one of our greatest concerns, and it is such a relief to have that [director] position filled.”
Along with the student body president and vice president, other members of SGA have begun discussing future events.
Junior Giavanna Paradiso, chair of SGA’s food committee and co-chair of the community committee said Nelson and Allen have encouraged the various committees to work together to host monthly events. Examples include programming centered on the beginning of school and holidays.
“We’re planning a back to school brunch and a Thanksgiving event as well as some giveaways,” Paradiso said.
She said SGA wants to make sure Saint Mary’s has plenty of options for students to be involved on campus, particularly given recent policy changes related to transport.
“We want to keep people on campus as much as we can, especially because of the changes in transportation,” Paradiso said. “If you have to pay for your own transportation, that becomes costly.”