The Student Government Association at NKU is a hardworking group of people. They hold formal meetings every Monday, work with the university administration and executives, they even create their own resolutions to better student life on campus. This year though, it’s not exactly clear who SGA is serving.
For an organization made up of students for the students, the resolutions coming out of the meetings this year would really better serve the administration and PR for the university. The most recent example of this being a resolution passed to improve “campus branding.”
The definition of the campus brand isn’t quite clear, but according to the resolution, it has to do with several physical changes and promotions across campus. This sounds a lot like the Campus Beautification plan recently implemented by President Geoffrey Mearns at the beginning of the semester.
The resolution asks for the addition of student art around campus, which was also already passed in a previous resolution this year.
So why pass a resolution that’s already in place? And what does the campus brand have to do with students now? Is that something students asked for?
That’s what seems to be the problem, no one is really quite sure.
Even Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple is a little baffled. In meetings, he seems frustrated with the Student Senate for not pushing themselves, not participating outside of the meetings and for not talking to the student body.
In Monday’s meeting, a new resolution asking for restaurants in the Student Union to extend hours and for an increase in meal exchange prices (admittedly, very beneficial to students, but this is rare), the wording included a sentence about the “student body.”
Upon seeing this, Waple pointed out that the group had in fact not talked to any other students about their opinion on the topic. A good SGA would have been doing surveys, talking to students during the lunch hour and after hours when searching for a good place to eat. But it didn’t.
Instead, the resolution writers only talked with administrators about how to get the Faculty Senate to pass it. Sure, they are the ones who eventually say yea or nay, but the students would have loved to contribute. The student body doesn’t want something that’s right for the administration, it wants something that’s right for them. And the only way to find out is to interact.
In the past, interaction with students worked really well. The 2011-2012 year, for example, passed 24 resolutions, 14 of which are directly related to student needs and requests. The other resolutions were endorsing decisions made by the university, which were probably not necessary, but they weren’t asking for the same thing like this year’s branding resolution.
This year, only 10 resolutions have been passed so far. One of the resolutions even dealt with printing options for faculty, how this would serve the students is a good question.
Granted, SGA did pass a resolution last semester to host town hall meetings for students, but students have yet to see any scheduled or promoted. A town hall meeting would be a great way to get involved and listen to students, but it needs to happen. And soon.
The good news is that there is still time to turn this around and make use of talking to more students than administrators. SGA should talk to students, listen to what they want and then formulate resolutions around those findings.
If students really want a new printing program for faculty, then by all means, unanimously pass away SGA, but don’t do it if they don’t.
To be an organization made up of students for the students, you have to start acting like one, and next week is the perfect time to start.