The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

What you missed at SGA: New senators, outreach initiatives and more insights

September 27, 2022

After receiving a slate of new candidates earlier this month, the Student Government Association swore in two new senators and gave presentations on the organization’s inner workings at Monday’s meeting, which also saw the introduction of new recruitment and outreach initiatives.

President Daniel Myers acquainted senators with the processes of making and seconding motions. The floor was then given to two new candidates to introduce themselves and answer Senator Silverent Balcaitis’ question of what they would bring to SGA.

In the following round of discussion, members of the interview committee praised the candidates as the people that SGA needed to fill remaining seats. They were sworn in as a slate with no opposition and no abstention.

Afterwards, President Myers introduced the “Boots to the Ground” initiative, in which SGA members would ask students for their experience in and thoughts on certain topics as part of the organization’s outreach process.

“What’s the use of being the students’ voice if we don’t know the students?” Myers said. “If we don’t know what the students are thinking, how can we be a voice for them?”

The topics would change from week to week. For this week, SGA would ask the following questions: “How do you feel about the hybrid experience? Do you prefer online classes or in-person classes?” and “How do you feel about your access to your professors? How well are you able to reach your professor if you need help?”

SGA then welcomed guest speaker Kristi Horine, chair of the Outreach Committee for Staff Congress, followed by Chief of Staff Isaiah Phillips’ presentation on initiatives and resolutions, and President Myers’ presentation of SGA’s three committees.

Once the quorum of 25 senators has been met, initiatives can be voted on to become resolutions, which can then be passed as legislation that brings about change. Phillips drew examples from the Kaseke-Chaney-Fulton 2009-2010 administration, which resolved to implement the Anne Braden Scholarship to a SGA member; the Pederson-Trump 2013-2014 administration, which helped create the Health Innovations Center; and the Jose-Hahnel 2014-2015 administration, which passed a resolution for more gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus.

Initiatives need to be voted on by the three SGA committees: Academic Excellence, which addresses concerns regarding academic policies, programs and initiatives for student academic success; Student Advocacy, which addresses the student body’s grievances and reviews university policies that may affect student rights; and University Improvements, which addresses the student perspective of physical campus projects and quality-of-life concerns.

As the presentations wrapped up, the Student Senate broke into their corresponding committees for 10 minutes of discussion. The Committee of Student Advocacy returned with a conversation on accommodating students with learning and medical disabilities, emphasizing that students are more likely to report their opinions in an anonymous channel. Academic Excellence mentioned a reading day when students could prepare for finals with no classes or homework. University Improvements discussed how SGA could improve parking spaces and on-campus housing by adding more laundry rooms and cleanable communal bathrooms.

Having just returned from a Faculty Senate meeting, Vice President Jaelynn Gentry reported on an upcoming town hall with Provost Matt Cecil on Oct. 6 to discuss NKU’s finances with students. She also reported on initiatives to assist commuter students for whom the commuter meal plan is tripwire, by making vending machines compatible with Flex Dollars and advocating for on-campus restaurants to open for longer hours.

President Myers reported on the Tuition Appeals Committee, which helps students with billing issues and which is looking for SGA representatives. He also highlighted “Nuggets of Knowledge,” another new initiative: every Wednesday SGA would spotlight a different campus area or resource on social media to bring more attention to them.

Chairwoman of University Improvements Committee Lucy Burns updated on the Safety Walk to Callahan Hall occurring next week.

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