Student Government Outlines Plans, Goals For Year Ahead

by Josh Travis

In addition to a new president, renovated eateries and the recently instated paperless campus initiative, Transylvania students can expect to see more changes on campus during the 2010-2011 academic year as a result of the Student Government Association’s goals that were discussed on Sept. 22 at their annual retreat.

“In SGA there are two major committees: student life and academic life,” said senior Jessica Beard, the current SGA president. “(The members) broke up into their respective committees and established what their goals were for the year, some tasks they wanted to accomplish and some things they were already working on.”

One initiative shared by both of the major committees will be to give students more accessible platforms to voice their input on academic and campus decisions.

“My perspective is that the more engaged students are in designing their education, the more liberating and worthwhile the four-year process,” said senior Becky Goncharoff, the academic life committee chair.

According to Goncharoff, this would involve more student participation in decisions surrounding interdisciplinary courses, visioning for first-year seminars and extracurricular academic opportunities.

The academic life committee’s major yearlong goals also include creating opportunities for different academic disciplines to interact, creating a themed lecture series and incorporating the Lexington community into the Transy academic experience.

Senior Alex Keys, the chair of the student life committee, has also proposed a new way for students to have greater input on changes they would like to see on campus.
In the past, SGA has hosted a yearly event entitled “Storm the Dorms” during which SGA members would simply knock on students’ doors and ask them what they would like to see changed or happen on campus. However, this method has, according to Keys, proven to be far less than effective.

“Out of my experience, I knocked on like 10 doors and didn’t really get any answers,” Keys said.

As a response, he has suggested that the student life committee create a Facebook group where students could come and voice their opinions, and possibly hosting an informal forum that students could attend to express their ideas.

“This way we’ll be able to make feasible goals out of what people suggest,” Keys said. “But it’s still in the planning phase.”

The student life committee’s goals also include having more bike racks placed around campus and getting feedback on the improvements to the Rafskellar and the 1780 Café, which were changes made as a result of SGA initiatives from last year.

SGA also plans to focus on working alongside President Williams and the technology department in outlining the details of the new paperless initiative.

“Just trying to follow the paperless initiative has been SGA’s goal this year, and then also getting feedback from the students about how they feel about the printing limitations,” Beard said.

The university is currently testing to see whether limiting a student’s printing capabilities to 250 sheets per semester is reasonable. According to Beard, while students are able to exceed 250 prints this semester, it is likely that a printing limit will start being enforced next semester. However, the amount of the limit is yet to be determined, and SGA plans to influence the decision process by voicing student opinions.

Sophomore Katie Oakes, SGA’s technology liaison, has already been discussing the matter with the technology department and reassures that the university is keeping students’ best interests in mind.

“They want you to be able to print for your classes. They don’t want your education to be stopped by your printing,” Oakes said.
SGA is just now beginning to work its way out of the brainstorming stage; however, they already have high expectations for the progress they intend to make.

“I think we got a lot of stuff accomplished last year and I think we’re going to get even more accomplished this year,” Beard said.

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