Edge ‘hopes to empower others to act’
September 8, 2011 1 Comment
Compiled by Victoria Sullivan, Etcetera Editor
V.S.: What do you feel is the purpose of the student government here at Transy?
J.E.: The purpose of the student government is twofold. Our foremost role is to represent the needs and opinions of the student body. Secondly, it is our responsibility to inform the student body of initiatives happening within the university and gather their opinions on those matters as well.
V.S.: What do you feel are the major flaws in our student government system?
J.E.: I think that SGA’s biggest flaw has been its lack of communication between the organization and the student body. However, this year we will be taking steps to combat this. We are now on Facebook, and I encourage all students to “like” our Transylvania University Student Government Association page. Also, you can now follow @TransySGA on Twitter. Lastly, our website, which can be found on Inside Transy under student life in the student activities and organizations section, is going to be kept up-to-date on the happenings of the T.U. SGA.
V.S.: What are your main goals for the school year?
J.E.: I have one main goal for the school year: to empower others to act. There are many issues that I want to tackle during my tenure, but I think it is more important for other senators and all students to know that they can do something. If students have an issue that they want addressed, I would encourage them to come and talk with me so that I can direct them to the appropriate people. SGA will be writing more proposals this year to the administration and following up on them so that we know that the proposals are taken seriously. In this way, many people will become involved with improving our campus, not a select few.
V.S.: What are some changes that you would like to see in our student government?
J.E.: I think that SGA is going to be much different than it has in the past. We have many new senators this year, and I think that they will provide an impetus for action. The biggest change I would like to see is more student involvement. SGA meets every Wednesday night at 9 in Conference Room A of the Campus Center. All are invited to attend, and meetings are always open to the Transy community. During debate, any student is allowed to voice her or his opinion, although voting power is reserved only for senators.
V.S.: How do you hope to build upon your relationship with the rest of SGA?
J.E.: I have developed a good rapport with the returning students, and I am confident that we can continue to speak honestly and openly about any matter. The new senators will have an even stronger need to ask questions and voice their concerns, so I will make sure that their voices are heard during debate.
V.S.: How do you plan on using your position to better connect with the rest of the student body?
J.E.: There is much responsibility that is attached to being SGA president. Besides the pomp and circumstance that surrounds being a student body president, I also have an obligation to every student. I will try my best this year to talk with student leaders, faculty and the administration about the needs of the student body. I think that my position also mandates that I show my support for our sporting events, drama productions, concerts, lectures and the host of other events happening on Transy’s campus. This visibility, in my opinion, will put me in contact with a variety of different students, which will help me meet this obligation.
V.S.: What are some projects that are planned for SGA this year?
J.E.: I do not think that the student art initiative that began last year was fully realized, so I will be charging junior Hannah Johnson (email@example.com), our new student affairs chair, with continuing that project.
Also, with the removal of the fences around campus, some students have voiced their opinions about the safety of the campus. While SGA does not necessarily feel that students are more unsafe without the fences, we believe that street lights should be added around the parking lots to increase visibility, and we will be looking into the feasibility of this idea throughout the year.
SGA is also looking into assuming responsibility of awarding organization status to new student groups. Diane Fout’s office is currently the main arbiter of whether a proposed organization becomes an organization. However, as most student governments have this power, we feel that the granting of organization status should be ours as well.
Academically, SGA hopes to lobby for a separate fund for those traveling to conferences; ideally, this fund would include not just conference registration fees, but also money for travel. Junior Andrew Goff (firstname.lastname@example.org), academic affairs chair, will be heading this effort.
V.S.: How can the rest of the student body get involved with SGA without being a part of the organization?
J.E.: As I mentioned, students are more than welcome at any of our committee meetings or full senate. They are also welcome to voice their concerns by any of the means listed below.
V.S.: How can the student body voice their concerns to you and to SGA?
J.E.: There are a variety of ways that students can voice their opinions. They can follow us on Twitter and tweet at @TransySGA. A student could drop a suggestion into the SGA mailbox outside the SGA office in Forrer Front Lobby. I also hope to keep regular office hours this year in the SGA office so that students can stop in and talk to me. A student could stop a senator or any member of the executive council and talk about an issue; students can also email email@example.com to voice a concern.