After the election of five freshmen this September, the Student Government Association is eager to listen to what the Queens student body wants accomplished this year and advocate for change.
The Queens SGA is composed of 29 students, said Kristin Diemer, student body president. Each SGA member is a part of two committees dedicated to improving Queens, which are divided into two categories based on who is leading them. The executive committees are led by the vice president, secretary and treasurer and consist of the internal affairs, public affairs and budget committees. The other committees—academic affairs, campus safety and security and campus life—are chaired by the underclassmen class presidents.
One of the SGA’s main goals this year is to communicate more effectively with the student body, said Stephanie Bunao, freshman class president.
“We’re going to be working a lot on being more transparent and making sure we know what the students want,” she said.
Getting students involved with the SGA has been a problem in recent years, said Mona Atta, a junior representative who ran unopposed during elections last spring.
“I think people don’t really see us as the resource we want to be seen as,” she said. “So, instead of really having them come to us, we’re simply going to them,” referring to this year’s SGA events.
Already this year, the SGA has hosted events encouraging student involvement. At STAN (Students Taking Action Now), students were given a platform to raise issues to campus services, residence life, campus police and dining services.
“It’s something that’s really big, that students get a chance to have their voices up front,” Bunao said.
The first student to speak to the panel asked for the monitoring or ticketing of the “big trucks” that park in the compact spaces, receiving a round of applause from the audience after she spoke. Other students voiced concerns about meal plans, lack of weekend activities, the requirement that juniors to stay on campus and freshman taking too many of the parking spots.
Another event that SGA members hoped would garner student’s engagement with the SGA was the “wall of wishes,” an effort in which SGA members took turns sitting at tables in Trexler and asking students walking by what they want from their SGA.
“So, people can actually come up to us and say, ‘Hey, this is what we actually want to see,’ ” Bunao said.
It will also give SGA members a chance to connect with the Board of Trustees, Atta said.
If a lot of people brought up certain actions they’d like the SGA take, it allows the SGA to present a stronger case to the Board of Trustees, she said.
At an October meeting, SGA members discussed which campus improvements they should emphasize to the Board of Trustees. The top five are:
- A 24-hour computer lab
- Swipe access improvements
- Enough parking spaces for students, faculty and staff
- Improvements to the residence halls
- Better Wi-Fi access, specifically in classrooms
According to a list of this year’s initiatives, the SGA also wants to improve communication with Campus Services and install grills and picnic tables on campus. Other potential improvements to the Queens campus include continuing a food task initiative and fixing the brick pavement.
“As we continue communication with our administrators, we will know more about the feasibility of these improvements/initiatives,” Diemer wrote on the initiative list. “We are always open to further suggestions and ideas from the student body.”