The Student Government Association has been hard at work this year with rebuilding itself and helping the student body in the bills and bylaws passed. During typical years, SGA would have students and organizations come in almost weekly asking for money to create programs or go to conferences. However, because of the abnormal year that is occurring, SGA looked inward to determine what we could do to update our bylaws and best represent the student body as a whole.
With the help of several people across campus such as Leslie Nolazco, CJ Bryson, Jason Nix, Ali Lawson, Maddie Taylor, Haley Davis, and many others, the idea of a new conduct standard was born. The current “zero tolerance” policy is not representative of our campus and is wildly outdated. While this is still a discussion being had, this is a big change for SGA and would allow more people to serve their constituents.
Along with conduct issues, SGA has had a focus on RAs this past semester. RAs have felt silenced for many years, and this year, with the help of Madi Gilliam, Ali Lawson, Jane Meadows, and Austin Smith, these issues have been brought to light with the creation of RAAC. In SGA there are subcommittees to help members really focus on narrowed down issues. These committees include Campus Life, Non-Traditional, and several others. With the Resident Assistant Advocacy Committee (RAAC), it will give Resident Assistants a place to unify themselves in order to push for the change that they want with the backing of SGA. This committee is filled with nominated RAs from each building and current SGA members who are just as passionate about the issues that RAs face.
As mentioned earlier, committees are subgroups of SGA that anyone can join based on their interests, including people outside of SGA. These committees do very important work in SGA, which is why yet another one was created this year. The Diversity Matters Committee, brought forth by Ali Lawson, was a big step for Maryville College. This committee would handle issues including, but not limited to, advising administrators on creating inclusive campus policies, supporting student initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion, and bringing any racist/hostile acts on campus to the attention of administrators. This committee has already started working this semester with the leadership of the Diversity Representative, Julianna Saah. Bringing forward a way to keep students safe if discriminated against and prioritizing Black History Month programming planning, this committee has been hard at work to ensure a welcoming campus for all students.
In terms of students, it has been obvious that we have all been struggling with mental health or classes or maybe even both. SGA wanted to help anyway we could, and at the end of last semester, freshman Connor Goins and Kylie Sliger came forth with a bill to give students who were staying on campus some help with groceries. This turned out to be a big help for several of the students staying on campus and allowed them to not have to worry about groceries, even if it was only for a week.
This all being said, these ideas, bills and bylaws would have never come to fruition if it were not for you. There are only 45 members in SGA on a campus that has over 1000 students, which is why SGA wants to hear from you. What do you need? What would you like to see on campus? How can SGA best support you? Please let us know so we can know how to best support you. Anyone and everyone is welcome to any SGA meeting on Thursdays from 12:30-2 over Zoom (link in MCToday). Hope to see you there!