This Week in SGA: Feb. 19

Members of the SGA executive team listen to  Student Experience Director and SGA Advisor, Jenny Dodson.   Photo: Ryan Bourgoin/Forum

SGA leadership encouraged members to take a bigger role in the campus community, prompted by Sen. Prince Beasley’s call to action.

The weekly meeting had a slow start, with no official items on the agenda. When Vice President Faith Thomas asked the senate if there were any announcements for this week, Beasley, the senator from the College of Health and Education Services, spoke up.

Beasley, delivering what he called a “P.S.A.” on a lack of progress by the senate, reminded his fellow senators that the meeting marked their fifth week of service this semester. He encouraged all members to strive for more–not just in SGA, but in life as a whole.

After Beasley’s remarks, Thomas continued the conversation.

“We understand that everyone has a lot outside of SGA. Everyone has other stuff going on. But when we look back over what we’ve done so far this semester, and the year, what have we really done?” Thomas said. “There’s been small things that we’ve done that have left an impact in certain ways.”

But Thomas does not feel this is enough to bring positive change to the campus.

“Brian and I want SGA to be successful, we want the campus to feel our impact, but we can’t do it by ourselves. That’s why you all are here with us,” Thomas said. “So going forward after today, my hope is that there will be more initiatives put forth by the senate, there will be more bills and resolutions that are sent to me on Saturdays, 48 hours before the meeting, so that they can be brought to the entire body and be voted on, and make sure that we’re doing our part.”

Thomas gave the floor to President Brian Gregory, whose sentiment was much the same.

“We have to have an impact on this campus,” Gregory said. “What are we doing to actually change the conversation? Like, that’s what we’re here for as a body. And if we can’t do that, like, if you’re not willing to do that, well honestly you can just stop coming to the meetings.”

He stressed that members of the senate have only two and a half months before the term is over, urging them to work as hard as possible in that limited time frame.

“The training wheels have to come off,” Gregory said. “SGA has to be a better organization. And it’s not going to be a better organization if it’s only coming from the president and the vice president.”

Gregory elaborated after the meeting, saying that the health of the organization requires holding members up to a higher standard, and not letting preoccupations always be an excuse to underperform in their duties.

“If everyone in the organization is at least doing their part, then we could do a lot more good than we are doing right now. And I know SGA can be a great organization. I see it at other campuses, I hear other presidents talk about all the different stuff that they’re doing, Faith sees other people as well, and so it’s just like, we have to move forward.”

The meeting wrapped up with advisors Jenny Dodson and Karen Willson offering their guidance.

“Any organization you join, whether it’s the kite-flying club or student government, it all depends on what you want to get out of the organization as to your experience,” Dodson said. “So don’t come in here and complain or feel upset or frustrated that we’re not getting a lot done. That’s the time to be self-reflective and to think about what you’ve contributed to the organization.”

She also told the senators to consult her if they experienced any trouble or confusion in their efforts to better the organization and the campus.

The usually reserved Willson challenged the students to embrace their roles as leaders, ending the meeting with applause.

“I didn’t know a single one of you when I stepped in here the first time. And over the last couple weeks, I’ve been able to observe some of the people in here, and I just want to issue you a challenge, to every single one of you. Leadership is a choice, okay? No one can choose it for you, you choose it.” Willson said. “When you stepped into this room today, you decided to represent SGA. But you don’t get to stop choosing that when you leave this room. You are a member of SGA. You are a leader on this campus. You made that choice a long time ago. You don’t get to un-choose it at this point in time. So if you want to be the best that you can be, you have to choose every minute of every day what you represent, who you represent, and why you represent it. If you cannot do that, you will not be effective in whatever it is you are trying to do. You have to choose what you do. And if it’s not the best choice, you have to choose better next time.”

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