Votruba talks goals with SGA

Working together and finding common ground were the themes among university leaders that met with student leaders to discuss ways to improve student life during the Student Government Association meeting. University President James Votruba and his executive team met with the organization on Aug. 30.

“I had a chance to look at your goals,”  Votruba said. “None of them were a surprise to me.”

Student health is one of the key priorities shared by the administration of Northern Kentucky University and the Student Government Association. Most of the discussion between the SGA leaders and the administration was about student health initiatives, including the recent renovations to the Albright Health Center.

“The investment is paying off,” said SGA Senator Adam Acree. “It just needs more room now.”
Votruba said he would be looking for guidance and input from SGA on whether or not to make the campus entirely smoke-free, and offered the student leaders the opportunity to do so at the meeting. However, no student commented on whether or not they thought it would be a good idea. SGA President Kevin Golden shared that he thought better enforcement of current policies on campus would be a good initial step that could alleviate the problems.

However, Votruba said he is not giving up and said he expects to have more conversations on whether or not to move toward an entirely smoke-free campus.

“I’m not advocating. It’s kind of on my mind,” Votruba said, noting that other major universities in Kentucky have made the change.

Retaining students and making sure students have the “whole university experience,” is another major goal of the SGA, according to Golden. Votruba said that student success is also one of the major goals his team is working on this year.

While also looking at areas where the university can afford more financial cuts, Votruba said the university will be paying outside consultants to examine the experiences of NKU students from the start of their freshmen years up to graduation. Among the questions that the outside consultants will be examining is whether NKU makes the student experience “more complicated at times than it needs to be.”

Student focus groups will also be created to determine whether students are enjoying their time at NKU and to help the administration gain “a deeper understanding of how students experience the university,” according to Votruba.

Other stated goals from the SGA include increasing civic engagement on campus through partnering with the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, and ensuring that students and alumni both have a “Norse identity” in the community. Votruba said he was pleased with the list of goals.

“We should work on areas where we have a consensus,” Votruba said. “And those other areas, we will have to have more discussion.”

Story by Jesse Call