Starting this spring, the officers of the Student Government Association (SGA) will be introducing several new changes in response to student suggestions from the fall semester.
“The [SGA] board needed to restructure to be more effective leaders,” said Sarah Hallet, SGA Secretary and senior at Salem College.
The first of the changes is the use of a suggestion box for student questions or concerns to SGA.
“We want to have many different ways and contact points for people to reach us,” said Hallet. “We want to be available to everyone.”
Of these contact points, Legislative Board, the gathering of students and board members of clubs funded by the Student Government Association (SGA), will also change.
During Legislative Board meetings, club members and the rest of the student body receive updates on club happenings and hear about constitutional changes, but only voting members -executive club leaders or their appointees- sit for the voting procedure.
“Legislative board is open to the entire community; it’s a public event,” Hallet said, explaining that non-voting members would still be included in the voting proceedings. “If a vote passes or doesn’t pass, you know immediately.”
In Fall 2019, Legislative Board would occur on the day following Town Hall at 9 p.m. in Huber Theater. The meetings will still occur at 9 p.m. in the Student Center. Now though, meetings will occur two weeks before Town Hall.
The first 30 minutes of the meeting will be a formal caucus for voting on constitutional changes in Huber Theater. The second half of the meeting will occur directly outside the theater and be more informal to be more conducive to open discussion between club leaders, the SGA Board and other students.
“Everyone should be hearing everything not just the [SGA] executive board,” said Sandra Reyes, Vice President of the SGA, about the location change. “We’re all there to help each other.”
Reyes is responsible for facilitating Legislative Board. With the first of the restructured Legislative Board meeting to occur on Feb. 3 and additional meetings set for Feb. 24 and March 30, Reyes hopes the meeting will better align with voting procedures and offer a space more conducive to discussion.
“We’re trying to make it a more collaborative, open space,” Reyes said.
Another change affects Town Hall’s Community Mic segment. As opposed to an electronic form, a paper sign up will now be available directly before Town Hall begins for students to sign up.
“It should be unfiltered, uncensored,” said Hallet about Community Mic.
The return to a buffet-style Town Hall dinner also reflects SGA’s awareness of the variety of student concerns with the dinner, according to Hallet.
“It’s a sensitive subject for the student body,” said Hallet, “…and they prefer the structure of a buffet, and we respect that and made those changes.”
For Hallet, these changes should work to achieve greater collaboration and connection between the SGA and Salem students.
“It’s not our purpose to be separate,” Hallet said, “It’s our purpose to be connected between our student body; that’s our whole job.”