Our Viewpoint: Only you can change the state of our SGA

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at 4:54 PM

Each week, they gather and talk about their nearly $1.1 million budget and seemingly throw it away in a battle-royale style popularity contest, or so that’s what people seem to think. On the contrary, the Student Government Association (SGA) has far less money to throw around than students assume, and equally as few people in charge of distributing it.

First off, if you were ever wondering as to the source of SGA’s money, look no further than the student activity fee that’s tacked onto your tuition each year. It comes out to $225 a semester and of that, SGA only handles $90,000 a year of it, or $45,000 a semester. 

This money is used to provide EMTA services to students, keep up with the operation of the C-store and game room, receive legal work and guidance from attorney Nicholas Radock, and maintain the SGA vehicles available for those who request them. The rest is available for student organizations to fight for.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much, but when your money is going to a pool of cash that can be drawn upon for any organization that asks for it, you deserve a say, correct? Of course, it’s your right, and if you really want to have a say, then try to join the student congress.

SGA is made up of two separate parts, student congress, in which all students that meet the basic requirements can apply for, and the executive board, including six positions: president, vice president of student interest, vice president of finance, vice president of procedures, director of public relations and the secretary. 

SGA had 30 congress members in the fall of 2015. Currently, the congress, known also as SGA Senators, is only 12 people strong and that number should make you care if nothing else does. 

Currently, only 18 people on campus hold power over $90,000, money that can literally make or break an organization’s year, so why aren’t more people joining the congress? 

The congress is described as “the main voting body where the students, also known as congress members, recognize new clubs and organizations, hear financial requests, vote on constitutional amendments, and advocate for students and their concerns.”

The process really isn’t that hard, and its only requirement is that you go to the weekly meetings Mondays at 6 p.m., be a member of one of the four committees with their own weekly meetings, and vote when needed. 

That’s it; you don’t even have to attend the congress meetings if you serve on two committees. Go to two meetings and vote on different things presented, yet each week those who are currently on congress miss and barely anyone new joins, so who’s to blame other than us? 

Mind you, I am not attacking those that choose to miss or those that don’t have time to join, as it states on their website: “SGA values the input of non-members as well. Voice your concerns about student affairs by getting in contact with us.” The ones who I’m directing this towards are those who choose to moan and groan about SGA and then do absolutely nothing in the way of having their opinion heard by those who can actually do something about it. 

According to SGA’s website: “The Edinboro University Student Government Association provides a representative form of government for the students of Edinboro University. SGA represents the interests and concerns of the student body in order to enhance the quality of student life.” So you shouldn’t feel like you have no avenue to speak, because they are there exactly for that reason. 

Besides the weekly meeting, which is open to the public, you can also just merely email SGA and voice your opinions, which requires the minimum amount of effort, while even the angriest of introverts can do it. 

In the end, regardless to your feelings on the actions of SGA, pouting will do nothing. If you’re a member of a group on campus that has access to funding and services via student government, you are only hurting your group by not having a representative in the congress. 

The only way to fix the problems you see in SGA is to become a congress member and have a voice with a vote. Until then, you are doing nothing more than yelling into the sky and hoping the heavens will answer your prayers for more funding. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Student Government Association, you can visit their website, edinborosga.com. Minutes are posted weekly and you can find contact information for those on the current executive board and congress.

The form for becoming a congress member can be found on Borosync on the SGA page if you’re interested. 

Roman Sabella can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com. “Our Viewpoint” is voted on and discussed by the staff of The Spectator.

Tags: voices, opinion

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