During the annual Student Government Association retreat and in the first official meeting of the year, SGA has established its priorities for 2011-12.
The retreat was held on Saturday, Sept. 17, in downtown Knoxville in the Trotter building’s boardroom. At the meeting, new members were introduced to parliamentary procedures and committees. Dean Vandy Kemp also addressed the SGA and introduced the college’s new strategic plan, which focuses on receiving student feedback. Finally, individual SGA members made record of what they hoped to see accomplished in the upcoming year.
Some objectives included increasing SGA interest, meal plan changes, an alternative coffee shop location, library hours on Fridays and traffic issues on the east side of campus.
“Another important goal is to bring order back to SGA and make the organization flow like it should and do it professionally,” said SGA vice president Sam Jackson.
Through discussion, SGA members have begun brainstorming possible ways to address many of these issues.
One suggestion resurfacing from last year was changing the finals schedule at the end of each semester to allow students more time to study and prepare for their final exams. The potential solution would be to add a few days between the end of classes and the first day of finals. However, the academic year ended before this issue could be addressed last year. Beeson Senator Megan Lock plans to continue the issue this year in hopes that a resolution can be made
In the first official meeting of the year, SGA members continued the list of goals. Many objectives revolved around making modifications to the financial aid system.
Sophomore secretary/treasurer David White suggested that SGA discuss new financial aid options that allow students to be re-evaluated for merit-based financial aid each academic year. However, due to the number of concerns and suggestions voiced, SGA agreed to hold the discussion of financial aid concerns for a later meeting.
The major goal is to improve communication between SGA members and their constituents.
“It’s important that elected representatives properly communicate with their constituents and relay back their opinions instead of their own,” said SGA president Devan Reynolds. “Effort needs to be made to talk to constituents outside of friend groups.”
Ultimately, the aim of SGA is to represent and serve the entire student body, and members hope the goals for the year reflect this purpose.