Student Government Association president Devan Reynolds used the term “sluggish” to describe the organization’s activity and progress of the 2011 fall semester.
SGA was left with six empty seats at the end of last semester, which presented the organization with a challenge that had to be overcome rather quickly Those who left their positions did so due to personal reasons or terminated their education at Maryville College all together.
Though the fall semester was not up to par, SGA is taking action to improve its involvement and productivity on campus.
Reynolds felt as though it was his responsibility to move SGA forward.
“The president’s job is two-fold,” Reynolds said via email. “I both act as a direct connection between students and the administration, and I’m responsible for the overall leadership of SGA. I appoint internal leaders and it is my responsibility to hold them accountable. I wasn’t doing the best job of this second task at first, but it’s something I’ve worked to turn around this semester and the results have been extremely positive.”
In order to do so, Reynolds confided in Vandy Kemp, dean of students, to help motivate the group and ensure future improvement and success.
Kemp spoke at the Feb. 23 SGA meeting, informing representatives of their responsibility to fulfill the needs of the student body.
With the vacant seats filled and the advice from Kemp, Reynolds said the group is thriving and gaining speed.
In order to keep motivation levels high, Reynolds explained that the representatives are being held to a higher standard of accountability for what goes on within SGA.
All committees are chaired by one or two members of SGA, and those individuals are responsible for the productivity of their respective committees.
Reynolds gave the chair members more direct instructions in order to run the committee system more efficiently. Other guidelines have also been established, including a clarification of the objectives for representatives.
Weekly reports of committee chair discussion from committee members, regular attendance and clear agendas of upcoming events and dates are also required of representatives.
In addition to representative roles being enforced, Reynolds has also asserted his responsibility as SGA president by becoming more involved in what goes on within each meeting.
He feels that by setting clear guidelines, there is less room for confusion.
According to Reynolds, who characterized the meeting held the week after Kemp’s visit as “the best meeting in years,” these steps have already begun to pay dividends. He believes that the SGA will only improve with time.
However, Reynolds maintains that the burden is not SGA’s alone to bear.
“While it is the primary responsibility of representatives to communicate with constituents and know what issues they are concerned about, it really is, at some level, a two-way street,” Reynolds said. “Students need to take an interest in what their student government is doing and be deliberate in telling us what they feel we should be addressing.”
Students with questions, concerns or suggestions are encouraged to contact their respective SGA representatives or Reynolds at [email protected].