What does the SGA do? That is the question.
It’s a question we’re here to answer — mainly because too many students on campus don’t even know what it is or how it works.
Our columnist Jared Buker made this clear in his piece published in Tuesday’s issue of The Jambar:
“In my experience over the last two years, I haven’t seen a whole lot out of student government,” sophomore Leo Daprile said in the column.
“Honestly, I’m not even sure what they do or who is in it.”
SGA adviser Chet Cooper blames a lack of student involvement for the negative view.
He added that the nearly 500 total votes tallied for last year’s election are proof.
According to the YSU Office of Institutional Research, the preliminary enrollment for spring 2011 was 14,253. That means about only 3.5 percent of students enrolled at YSU voted.
It’s sad — and it might be enough proof to say that a lack of student involvement on campus is a large reason why the SGA assumes this negative view.
We concur with Cooper’s assertion, to an extent.
But more important questions exist. Why do students not know about the SGA, and what more can be done to encourage student involvement on campus?
It’s important to keep in mind that YSU is a commuter school, which means that many students are registering for courses, coming to school to attend those courses and then leaving after their courses are finished.
This is an obvious issue that current and future SGA leaders need to nip it in the bud, and we urge them to do so.
The SGA must do so by increasing marketing efforts. That means more than just sending frequent MyYSU announcements. We all know what students do when they see those in their email.
They must make, at least, a small effort to walk around campus and introduce themselves to students at the beginning of every semester. If students are unaware of the SGA, then make them aware.
Next year’s SGA candidates’ platforms exhibit the eagerness needed to adequately govern the student body.
Proposing incentivized campus events, brown bag luncheons and initiatives intertwined with YSU’s strategic plan are glittering gems in an otherwise dusty plain of tired catchphrases.
Yet their blatant unfamiliarity with university operations leaves us wondering whether the next administration will follow the same meager path their predecessors have.
The SGA is an important governing body on this campus. While it may seem like it isn’t accomplishing much, it is. And the SGA shouldn’t be the only one to blame.
It’s in a constant lose-lose situation because of the commuter school status. And students shouldn’t expect immediate results from the SGA.
SGA President Elyse Gessler admits that the SGA cannot bring about change in a timely manner.
If it weren’t for the SGA, student organizations would not receive sufficient funds to attend conventions or host events, and it would be more difficult for students to voice their concerns and get results.
The SGA elections are next week, and students have an obligation to take notice. So take a stand — and take five minutes out of your day to cast a vote.