By Ashley Smith
Youngstown State University’s Student Government Association has its plate full for the semester with hopes to amend the elections process, create an ex-officio seat for an international student, host their annual awards banquet and have a broad-scale service project.
A major SGA goal for the spring semester is centered on the Student Academic Success Initiative, which SGA President Michael Slavens hopes to work toward fully implementing.
“From my perspective, our big short-term push is going to be to get as much feedback as possible about our Student Academic Success Initiative,” Slavens said. “We will be sending out a survey, hopefully next week. It will both explain as concisely as possible our initiative as well as gauge how helpful students feel the changes will be. We have already made progress, but we would like to get students’ feedback to ensure that we’re doing everything that we can for them.”
A concern for SGA Vice President Jacob Schriner-Briggs is student involvement and input in the functions of SGA.
“I thought we saw some success, but there’s always room to improve, specifically on a campus so predominately composed of commuter students,” Schriner-Briggs said. “You have to be tireless in working towards engaging a student body filled with people who are juggling multiple, off-campus responsibilities.”
Slavens agreed with Schriner-Briggs, emphasizing the troubles SGA faces with engaging an amorphous student population.
“We have tried to be even more open. For example, we launched our forum on our website. It has yet to get a single comment,” Slavens said. “One thing that was discussed at the Leadership Retreat was the idea of sending out information on what SGA is doing through the YSU email, but have the ability to unsubscribe. That way if students don’t care about what we’re doing then we aren’t adding to their information overload. I liked this idea and have been exploring it.”
Slavens said the organization is focusing on heightening their social media presence this semester.
“A point that was brought up during our last SGA meeting was our lackluster use of social media,” Slavens said. “This is something that we are working on and hope to improve upon since most students are heavily involved on social media. This would give us yet another avenue to reach students.”
SGA will also continue to help student organizations by apportioning funding for their events.
Ashley Orr, vice president for financial affairs and a junior double majoring in mathematics and economics, assures campus organizations that there are still opportunities for funding events.
“One of SGA’s main functions is the distribution of funds to student organizations. In the past, around 60 to 70 events are funded by SGA over the entire academic year,” Orr said. “This year, just over last semester, my committee worked to fund over 77 events and a total of 54 student organizations. At this point in the semester, we have 44 percent of our budget for student organization remaining and we expect to fund in excess of 30 events this spring.”
In every avenue of their work, from funding student groups to proposing changes to academic policy, SGA is seeking one thing: students’ feedback.
“Whether on our website, Facebook, or via email, we are constantly looking for feedback,” Schriner-Briggs said. “So all students should feel free to offer their insights and help us to better serve them.”