SGA members reflect on their experience in student government

Published by adviser, Author: Joshua Kellem - Rocket Contributor , Date: February 4, 2017
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Being a part of student government is a unique experience for any college student, and if one commits their time properly, it can certainly be a rewarding one.

“The reason why I joined SGA is because I wanted to be the liaison between them and the African-American community, but also because I have had a passion for government organizations ever since the 8th grade when I was the [class] president,” senior public health major and commuter senator O’dell Richardson said.

Richardson, who is from Philadelphia, cites a desire to leave the city life as his reason for attending Slippery Rock.

“One of the accomplishments I’ve made so far in office is that I helped start the dialogue about diversity between the different avenues of people,” Richardson said.

“I chose Slippery Rock because my brother, an alum, and my sister, a current student, both love it here. I began to love it, too, after spending a lot of time visiting them,” freshman athletic training major and representative for the freshman class Angela Vickers said.

“Being one of four freshman senators, our main goal for this year is to ease some of the challenges other freshmen face starting college,” Vickers said.

Vickers aspires to become a training assistant upon graduation but said her goal for next year or the following, her junior year, is to be elected to a position on the executive board.

“SGA is not directly associated with my major; however, it definitely strengthens skills I will need for my career,” Vickers said.

Students from any department can find something in SGA that can resonate with them, and students can still be part of a committee if running for office is not something they want to do.

Sophomore political science major and commuter senator Elizabeth Hernandez said any student can be on a committee with no election required, and that there are many positions to choose from.

“The vice president of campus outreach is a marketing major,” Hernandez said of sophomore communications-integrated marketing major Samantha Hovis.  “That’s a great major for her, and a great position, because she can use what she learns in her major to do that. Then, she has a committee, so anyone else who is a marketing major can go and sit on her committee.”

Hernandez, who is also the speaker of the senate, said commuter senators represent anyone that lives off campus, meaning students who live in Butler or Grove City and commute, or students who live closer at The Grove or The Heights.  She said the commuter representatives are also responsible for the lighting on Harmony Road.

“There were no sidewalks or lighting last year; now there’s lighting. So that’s something, an issue, the commuters brought and fought for,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez went on to discuss the safe house project.

“Potentially, [the safe house project] is just a place on campus that, if the weather’s bad, if there’s car trouble, if they just had a really late night of studying, that they can just sleep on campus somewhere, in a room,” Hernandez said. “And, they would have to sign up for this.”

Hernandez said the project has been a long process, but it could debut this semester.

Sophomore sport management major and representative for Watson Hall Dallas Kline said she represents all of the students that live in Watson, while also attending house council meetings and acting as a liaison between the two organizations: SGA and the Association for Residence Hall Students (ARHS).

SGA does many things for Slippery Rock students, on- and off-campus.

“Many students know about SGA and view us as helpful, but don’t know all that we can do for them,” Richardson said.

For example, Richardson said SGA provides 15 minutes of free legal advice with a lawyer, and also write proclamations.

Vickers pointed out that the Happy Bus, the weekly movie series, most of the clubs, 24/7 Boozel Express, and daycare

are all run, funded, or have been influenced by SGA.

Kline said that something SGA is working on for the future is their visibility.

“We are trying to become more visible by using our social media more often, and we have tables in the student center during common hour,” Kline said.  “We also speak in front of our classes, at ARHS and House Council meetings, and we are looking to send our representatives to different club meetings, as well.”

Hernandez said SGA is a resume builder, because the organization can provide students with great connections and looks good on resumes in general because students are representing their peers.

SGA is an independent corporation on campus with a roughly $2 million dollar budget and serves as the governing body for clubs and organizations. SGA also provides budgets for many, including the University Program Board, IFC and Black Action Society.

Student body questions or concerns regarding the SGA can be directed to srsga.org.

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