SGA plans to be more student focused

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The first Student Government Association meeting this year was changed up a bit compared to previous meetings.
A new Senator orientation was added where Senators were acquainting some of the new Senators to the process of SGA and preparing them for the changes ahead for this school year, something that had never happened before. Usually, new Senators are thrown right into the heat of debate and learn senatorial skills on the fly.
Student Government president Cameron Onumah emphasized throughout the meeting that he wants this year more than ever to be about the students. In the past, SGA was inaccessible to students because the student body population didn’t know much about the group.
SGA was little more than a bank for contingencies to go to for club fundings or a title for a classmate to hold.
SGA seeks to change the way that Student Government is run and how it presents itself on campus. Augustana students can expect to see Student Government partnering up with more clubs and groups on campus to sponsor events and even sponsoring events on their own.
Senators will be assigned to multiple student groups on campus, acting as liaison to find out what Student Government and Augustana College should focus on to best serve students.
“I will do whatever I can to make sure the voices of the students are heard. That is my goal this year,” said Onumah. “We really want to strengthen our committee process. That is the big goal for this year, to really have really strong committees that are representing the student body.”
Another major overhaul this year is the creation of the Strategic Planning committee, the idea of SGA secretary Megan Funke and vice-president Richie Benson. This committee will focus on long term campus improvement goals and the needs and desires of the incoming first year class. One of the goals of this committee is to ensure that Augustana College remains affordable for all students.
“I want to make sure student groups get the money they need when they need it in order for them to have their events on time, whether it’s a mission trip to New Mexico or a simple $200 for food for a meeting,” said senate speaker Zeke Hartman. His job is to moderate senate debates over club contingencies so that clubs and campus groups can receive funding.
This process is not happening as quickly as Hartman or some of the student groups would like. The executive board was addressed for not having a concrete idea of what this year’s budget will be.
Estimates of last year’s expenditure was $53,000 just for spring term. Budget information for the year is expected to be reportable to the student body by week two or week three of fall term.
Fall term will only have eight meetings, excluding finals week and October 3 due to a Board of Trustees meeting at the same time. This will limit the amount of time that SGA has available to hear contingencies from the student body.
This year’s executive board is comprised of Jamie Conroy, treasurer; Megan Funke, secretary; Richie Benson, vice-president; Cameron Onumah, president; and Zeke Hartman, Speaker for the Senate.