One of the unique things about Maryville College is having the Student Government Association (SGA) on campus. SGA makes many decisions on campus that students do not realize at first glance. The association is made up of officials elected by the rest of the student body.
There are Student Body President and Vice President along with their selected cabinet. Then there is a Class President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Senators elected by each class. Also, there are Commuter, International and Hall Senators to make sure that all students are being represented. SGA is important on campus for many reasons. Students and Faculty on campus have the opportunity to bring up potentially controversial situations to SGA.
Ariel Kaylor, SGA Senior Class Vice President, said, “SGA is important to the student body because it is intended to create a direct line between students and administration. When we, as an SGA body, are informed on student concerns we can make a difference on campus and make changes that improve campus for all of us.”
Aaron Solomon, newly elected Student Body President for the 2019-2020 school year, said, “SGA is important because as a body we give students a voice to higher up the administration, and we are advocates for them, but it’s even bigger because we’re students too. So, we know what students are thinking and wanting to see on campus. Also, we help student organizations on campus do what they want when it comes to funding and creation of new organizations or interest groups.”
Having the line of communication between the administration and students helps the chances of things getting changed. Recently, it was brought to SGA’s attention that some students were having trouble with Metz not having proper labeling on all the food items. Students brought up concerns about lactose, peanut, shellfish and many other different allergens that needed to be labeled.
Several SGA members then came together and formed a Pearsons Committee, so that they could go straight to the source and get this changed. A couple of days after their meeting with Metz, the labeling boards were placed by all food cooked in Pearsons. SGA makes a difference on campus all the time.
Maggie Nielsen, newly elected Student Body Vice President for the 2019-2020 school year said, “Being in SGA means that you have to be willing to advocate for those that can’t. I think that my favorite part of SGA is being able to help aid others by any means necessary. For some conflicts that are brought to our attention, being a member of SGA means that we can try as much as we can to help resolve those issues, or bring those issues to Administration’s radar.”
“Sometimes, it takes a lot of time to reach and observe the results that we are wanting. An active member of SGA is an ‘agent of change.’ They can bring resources to those that are concerned, advocate for people, and challenge those around them to ultimately make people’s experience here at Maryville College the best they can possibly be,” said Nielsen.
“Anyone on this campus is able to live by Isaac Anderson’s saying of “doing good on the largest possible scale,” I feel like SGA is an organization that can truly live by this saying. Everything Student Government does, ultimately is to help as many people as possible on this campus.”
Kenzie Kandetzki, SGA Sophomore Class Senator, said, “SGA is important not only for the college itself but also for the community that lives in it. Students are the most important concern that the SGA body has. Each member plays a part in making sure that all of the students on campus are getting any issues or problems on campus resolved. It is all about making what you paid for worth every penny during the time spent here at Maryville College.” There is a lot of responsibility and benefits when it comes to having a position in student government.
Kandetzki said, “One of the benefits of being in SGA is my position and what I learn from my duties. I’m a sophomore senator, which means that I am a representative of a specific community. This position comes with many responsibilities, such as making sure I communicate with members of my class so that I can come back to the SGA meeting to bring up any concerns.”
“I also have the responsibility of writing bills for students that are or are not members of the SGA governing body. Having these responsibilities helps me learn how to become a great leader and also helps me learn how I can represent a community that I am a part of,” said Kandetzki. Student government is responsible for many other things around campus—such as budgeting for student groups.
Sarah Cardall, SGA Freshman Class Secretary and Treasurer, said, “SGA is responsible for allocating funds to things that enhance students’ experiences on campus, such as clubs, special events, and even things like water bottle filling stations and refurbishing the student gym equipment. This means that students have the opportunity to be directly involved in decisions that will affect them, and also have the opportunity to change things that they aren’t happy with.”
Katherine Zacapa, SGA International Studies (student) Senator, said, “SGA is important for the student body because we get to experience closely how a government works and how much their decisions influence a bigger group of people.”
“We proudly represent the students’ voice in front of Maryville College’s administration seeking to put student’s needs before anything else,” said Zacapa. It’s important to remember that students holding positions in SGA are just that—students.
“Many people put Student Government on a pedestal.” Nielsen said, “They forget that the members of SGA are regular students and their peers. We are the same as everyone else on this campus. There are equal opportunities for everyone to be these agents of change on campus. Being in SGA just makes it a little bit easier. We have the resources at our fingertips and the proper means of communication to get answers quicker and easier.”
“Members are also already given a group of people to help come up with solutions to problems that need to be addressed during our meetings. Another benefit is how as a member, we are able to bring up concerns with administration, staff, and faculty, and directly advocate and get answers,” said Nielsen.
“SGA’s meetings are open to the public, so if someone has questions or concerns, then they are more than welcome to come and sit in the meetings, raise questions, and verbalize concerns. These meetings take place every Thursday at 12:30. If you are also interested in joining SGA, there are multiple opportunities to join next fall.”