The Spring term has begun, and Queens’ Student Government Association plans to continue the fall semester’s missions of increased visibility and student engagement, while also addressing needed campus improvements.
Visibility and Engagement
At a Feb. 6 training session, the SGA discussed becoming more visible to and engaged with the student body, said Freshman Class President Stephanie Bunao. Their plans include collaboration with the Chronicle and Project Airwaves, she said, adding that they also have a new Facebook page—which they will update weekly or bi-weekly. On the Facebook page, there will be a link to MyQueens, which has the minutes for all SGA meetings, Bunao said. The SGA also plans on increasing engagement, by starting “SGA chats” in Trexler this semester. They will occur once a month.
“We don’t know a better name for that yet,” Bunao said. “But, just having the SGA, specifically the public affairs committee, being there… just to talk about updates.”
The SGA will have monthly town hall meetings as well, Bunao said. These meetings will be divided by grade level, she said, with freshmen and sophomores having their own gathering and juniors and seniors most likely being grouped into one meeting as well. The SGA plans on having its first meeting for freshman and sophomores in late February, but the date and location have not been finalized, Bunao said.
“The goals for this town hall meeting would be first introductions, because a lot of people don’t know the new freshmen and…sophomore representatives that came in just now,” she said.
They would also update the students on last semester’s campus improvements, she said.
“The body of the town hall meeting would be just basically them telling us what they want to see,” Bunao said.
These meetings would be smaller and more personal than the biannual STAN (Students Taking Action Now), which will occur February 17 in Claudia-Belk Dining Hall, Bunao said.
“And they could actually talk to their representatives of their class directly,” at the town hall meetings, she said.
The SGA also will continue last semester’s strides in establishing a go-between for students and dining services, said Student Body President Kristin Diemer.
Last semester, the SGA attempted to create a “food committee,” which met directly with Director of Food Service Stephen Steiger to voice students’ concerns with food, Diemer said. But, this semester, the SGA plans on approaching this issue differently.
The current plan is to delegate a few SGA members to meet with him, rather than a whole committee, she said.
Students would provide feedback by maybe voicing their concern via an online forum or monthly survey, Diemer said.
“Those are just a few ideas that were thrown around,” she said.
This plan, though, hinges on Steiger’s opinion of this new idea, Diemer said.
“And if he would still rather see a food committee,” Diemer said, “then that would be something that we would have to reconsider.”
If this new plan does pan out, Diemer hopes that it will be a place for suggestions, rather than just complaints, she said.
“So that…yes, you’re going to have a complaint every now and then,” she said. “But also to say, ‘I don’t like that we have fried chicken every dinner. Can we have grilled chicken instead?'”
At the Feb. 6 training session, the SGA focused on addressing students’ suggestions from events like last semester’s “Wall of Wishes,” Diemer said.
“We’re still filtrating through that because there’s just so many,” she said.
While some requests weren’t feasible—like one student’s desire for a pool on top of the Levine Center—others, like better Wi-Fi, were put into a list, which was then divided between committees, Bunao said.
The SGA plans on addressing the Wi-Fi problems by sending out a survey to determine where on campus Wi-Fi is the worst, Bunao said via email. The replacement of vending machines in Hayes and North residence halls is also on the to-do list, she said. The SGA hopes to address student-parking problems as well, Bunao said. Whatever form the food initiative takes, the SGA will focus on creating better food supply and variety, Bunao said.
This past semester, the SGA has accomplished a lot of projects that have been in the works for a while, said Junior Representative Mona Atta. But, while it has done a lot of great things, the SGA does have its problems, Atta said.
“There seems to be a bit of apathy in the room,” during discussions on campus improvements, she said. “And that’s always hard to face when we are having those conversations.”
Atta hopes that the elections for the Fall 2015 semester will fix that problem, she said.
Bunao agrees that the SGA needs passionate people in the SGA but has not noticed that problem this year, she said.
She does, though, caution that potential candidates need to make sure that they have the energy for and understanding of the responsibility of being an SGA member.
But for those with the interest, the SGA is a great way to get involved, Diemer said.
“They can pursue something on campus that they’ve always wanted to see happen, “ she said. “It’s really an opportunity to leave an impact, to improve campus, to make a difference.”
On Feb. 25, there will be an interest meeting for people considering running for an SGA position. SGA applications are due March 4.