Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

SGA's Transparency irrelevant without student engagement

The Student Government Association’s (SGA) appropriation of school funds to on-campus groups has been a hot-button issue for some time now, and this year there appears to be a change in the reporting protocol. All students can now view the complete SGA budget by simply visiting their webpage on Augustana’s website.
Before the average, uninvolved student would have had to contact the individual group whose budget they wished to know. Now, this information is readily available in a simple, easy-to-read format posted online.
I have noticed, more than ever, that at Augustana complaints are unescapable. Whether it is overhearing the complaint on the blasphemy that is bookstore prices, copious construction projects, questionable grading techniques, or the nauseating CSL food, students always seem to uncover some way that they believe their money is being spent irresponsibly.
Now, of course students have little to no control over these policies, but where they do have somewhat substantial input is regarding the budget allocation to the nearly 100 student groups on campus.
Guess what? No one cares. Many students perceive SGA as an entity that acts separately from themselves. This black box theory is prevalent in national politics as well, it is one of the reasons less than half the United States population voted in the 2012 presidential election.
Frankly, I am sick of hearing the endless grumblings of misdeeds by Augustana administration. Complaints are as much a part of small talk as the weather or traffic conditions. If you don’t like it, do something about it, or politely stop talking.
When all the information has been presented to us there can no longer be a collective feeling of contempt towards those in authority. We either need to care about issues or ignore them. Griping just for the sake of it is annoying and unproductive.
Why not funnel all the disdain and complaints towards those who can attempt to reconcile them? Just as in local, state, or federal government, SGA is a group of representatives. They are the voices of the student body and are there to serve us.
It appears that along with the new academic year comes new policies in SGA. Active attempts at increased transparency and student engagement are in place and they deserve at least a bit of reciprocation from the rest of us.
In future internships and jobs there is a slim chance that any of us will have this much opportunity for input. We will face barriers much more staunch than college administration. Practicing issue-advocacy may become a very important quality to obtain now to get what is desired later in life.

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SGA's Transparency irrelevant without student engagement