The Student Government Association (SGA) kicked off the year tackling issues like communication with administration, during its first meeting of the school year. A hot topic among all the Senate committees was the idea of needing significantly better communication between the student body and administration.
“Our big order for this year is communication,” said Aaron Dixon, a senior broadcast journalism major from Vestavia Hills. “We’re going to bring it together and see what the deans want from students, but also what the students want from their deans.”
“We’re appointing point people to different areas of campus,” said Sarah Gillis, a junior communications major from Montgomery. “They are a liaison to international students, someone for the Food Advisory Council, someone working directly with the Freshman Forum and the Student Welfare Committee, Trojan Outreach and people to go to administration.”
Gillis also proposed a forum dedicated for student complaints other than the popular Facebook Group “Troy Students,” which would lead to actual changes being made since the SGA will work with administration to fix immediate concerns.
Outside of overall communication, the SGA expressed collective interest in increasing student involvement on campus with an intent to have more outdoor activities on the quad to pull students together as a community.
Morgan Long, a senior sports management major from Birmingham and the SGA president, said he has a few issues he’d especially like to tackle this year.
Long’s personal goals for the SGA include being proactive and advocating for student needs; making sure the fitness center opens seamlessly and is accessible for all students; maintaining the relationship with our dining services; and continuing to create opportunities for students to come together on campus,” Long said.
Long also hopes to increase student involvement with the SGA, reminding students that all meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend and voice their ideas. Meetings are on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in Hawkins 122.
Senior Vice Chancellor John Schmidt made an appearance at the meeting to discuss his hopes for the SGA and how he plans to be as involved as possible with them this year.
Schmidt’s plans included creating new scholarship packages for students; increasing engagement between American and international students; focusing more on the retention of students; and promoting the student success center.
One institution the SGA moved forward, which directly affects the relationship between American and international students, is the Seoul Mates club, a forum for Korean and American students to interact and exchange culture, language and social practices.
In addition, the SGA runs a lunch program with Japanese exchange students where, for two days out of the week, American and Japanese students eat together and enjoy enriching conversations. Questions about this program can be directed to the office of Barbara Patterson.
Schmidt’s excitement to be as involved with the student body is reinforced by his faith in the SGA.
“Morgan Long represents you (the students) well,” Schmidt said. “You have him as an advocate.
“I’m going to be your advocate, and you won’t find a better mentor than Ms. Barbara Patterson.”
Schmidt encourages all students to seek out any member of Student Services to be their voice in upper level administration.