A firsthand look into the processes of SGA

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A firsthand look into the processes of SGA

Garret McDowell

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I first want to say that I stand by several claims I made in the first column. There definitely needs to be more transparency in SGA, for while they are quite open, I do not believe that the campus knows this. There is not much publicity for it beyond the activities that they host and elections that they need in order to stay relevant and legitimate for campus. I even neglected to mention the time and meeting place of SGA in my previous column. For the record, SGA meets every Monday at 5:30  p.m. in Connell Conference Room 2, and it is open to anyone who wants to sit in or has business for SGA.
Furthermore, I want to apologize to everyone who was offended by my previous column. I definitely went off half-cocked and did not fully research and write a proper op-ed.
I should have better explained myself and what I was trying to say. After three years on staff, I should know better than that. I opened a door that was unnecessary in some respects, but on the other hand, I am joining up to critique and break down what works and what doesn’t in SGA. Everyone can grow from this experience, and hopefully Mercer will move forward with a more publicly talked about and observed SGA.
I want to extend a sincere amount of gratitude to both Senators Trenton White and Khoi Le, who have already contacted me in order for me to gain a better understanding of what SGA actually does and has done. I have sincere respect for these two, who have stuck around in the organization their entire time at Mercer, with White becoming President last year in the general elections. I think that these last two years have been significantly better for SGA than my freshman and sophomore years.
I attended SGA for the first time on February 27. I took rather dedicated notes, along with some biting commentary, but I really just want to run down what actually transpires in a meeting. Anyone familiar with parliamentary procedure or Robert’s Rules of Order will feel at home in this environment. Being in a social Greek organization, I know these well. On a quick side note, before any of this even started, Senator Le searched me out and gave me a copy of the fiscal report for SGA, where several thousands of dollars in special funding still sits. As part of an organization that just received funding, I recognize this blessing as something that more students should know about, so students, if you have something for an organization that falls under the special funding guidelines, apply now!
My observations are as follows.
Every session begins with a prayer to make rational and sound decisions that will benefit the student body.
SGA is actively looking over the constitution in order to make it better.
The Academic Affairs committee is trying to increase the amount of different things in the library to benefit Mercerians.
Campus safety issues such as parking and lighting are routinely addressed and picked over.
President’s Round Table is Tuesday, April 3. Every president should try to attend in order to help Mercer grow as a community along with all of the individual groups.
SGA is making their elections more open and better publicized as to make Mercer students more aware before election day.
Vice President Ike Ekeke did a great job in letting the gallery know what was going on at all times, but I if part of this was due to my presence with all of the criticism that had recently occurred.
Spring Taste of Downtown is April 13 at a Mercer Baseball game versus Belmont, so show up, because it’s awesome and we all hate Belmont.
On March 17, the Luck of the Irish festival is in Mercer Village ALL DAY. They have lots of things for students, so we should show up.
Finally, several organizations such as IFC and ResLife have reports, and lots of questions are brought up. The Senators seem more in touch with their student body than I previously thought.
In essence, SGA does a lot more than I gave them credit for. I wholeheartedly agree that we, as a student body, need to take stock and get more involved in what they are doing. Yes, there is a podcast, but only so much can be done from there. Get up students. Get your butts to SGA on Monday afternoons and take stock in what your money is going towards. Those student fees we complain about? Yeah, SGA dispenses those to different projects, and you can have a voice. Only then can Mercer move forward with a student body that actively wants to influence how campus is run. I plan on sitting down with several officials in the coming weeks in order to better show how campus can do more with SGA and vice versa. I hope to see all of you there soon.

Comments and questions about this column can be sent to garret.mcdowell@gmail.com

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