As the 2017-2018 school year begins, several organizations on campus are reimagining their approaches toward their goals in hopes of decreasing wasted resources and increasing student involvement. Most notably, the Student Government Assembly, under the leadership of President Jalen Pearson, is attempting to become more organized and more accessible to students. This move toward accessibility and organization will hopefully bring more productivity to campus events and activities.
The SGA is beginning by taking measures to correct logistical issues. Starting this year, the SGA will move its general assembly meetings from the Gold Dining Room to Proctor Hall West room 109 in order to conduct its business in a more formal setting and to eliminate distracting noise from the nearby cafeteria. These meetings will also benefit from a more organized structure that includes passing out agendas at the beginning of each meeting, which will let those present know when the business that concerns them will be discussed.
President Pearson has also suggested an idea that will help with the coordination of voting at the general assembly meetings. If this idea is implemented, each club or organization present at the meetings will be given a paddle that one member of the organization will raise for voting on issues that are presented. This system would attempt to make voting easier and counting votes clearer, which will also potentially increase student and club participation in general assembly meetings.
In addition to the general assembly meetings, the SGA will also hold a more informal town hall-style meeting on the first Tuesday of every month which will last for approximately 25 to 30 minutes. This will provide an opportunity for all students to ask questions about events on campus and meet their student government officers in a more relaxed setting than the general assembly meetings.
The SGA is also increasing its online presence by making its Moodle page more accessible to students and clubs. Dean of Students Matt Long, who advises the SGA, suggested creating a space for clubs to upload minutes from their own meetings at an August 15 meeting between the SGA members and club leaders. This would allow SGA members to confirm that clubs are active and allow interested students to see what happens in various club meetings.
At this same meeting, President Pearson introduced a new way for clubs to report their spending. In a Google Doc accessible to both the clubs and the SGA members, club leaders can report exactly how much money they spend and what they spend it on, which will allow the SGA to adjust budgets accordingly and better allocate money. All of these changes are occurring in order for several processes around campus to run more smoothly. On the potential these changes hold, Pearson said, “This year for SGA we want to build a better connection between organizations where they are working with each other to help hold and support events. We would also like to increase the number of students involved in SGA beginning with first year students so SGA can be sustained much longer and grow in numbers for an extended period.”
Similarly, several clubs on campus are also making some major changes this year. Greensboro College’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is attempting to increase student participation by restructuring in a way that implements many more activities for students. Instead of holding typical weekly meetings, NAMI’s leadership has discussed holding monthly movie nights open to the entire campus in hopes of using its time and resources more practically. Each movie will include one or more characters with a mental illness, so those in attendance will be able to see the effects of the diseases instead of only hearing about them in meetings. The Social Justice Club has also considered restructuring in order to become more focused. Instead of attending meetings of various organizations across Greensboro, the Social Justice Club is likely to choose one charity to focus on this year.
Whether or not these new plans and changes succeed mainly depends on student participation. The SGA has proposed implementing consequences on clubs and other participants that do not adhere to these new standards. These consequences could be as severe as a reduction in funding or being put on probation. The SGA also is looking for interested students to fill many positions on their various committees. Both NAMI and the Social Justice Clubs are relatively new organizations on campus that are also looking for more students to participate.