SGA unites Main Campus, Woodlands Center
Published: Monday, September 2, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 00:09
Students in both the Woodlands and Huntsville will now have more of a voice in the Sam Houston State University Student Government Association. SGA worked over the summer creating new representation opportunities for both campuses.
The Woodlands campus received proper legislative representation in early August, according to Student Body President Ramiro Jaime Jr. After nearly a year of being opened, students from the Woodlands campus are now able to join the Woodlands Center Committee in SGA and have a say in proposed legislation. These students are not yet senators, but after the first student referendum, SGA officials hope to change that.
“Theyare 100 percent equal to any other senator,” Jaime said. “We have already established an official The Woodlands Center Committee [that] anyone may serve on. In our first student referendum, we will put the committee up to be adopted into the constitution to become a full functioning department.”
Jaime said the new prospective senators will meet via Skype every Tuesday, and their distance won’t affect the quorum requirements established by the bylaws. If the committee is accepted as a department through the student referendum in the fall, Jaime said that SGA would make a request to the Student Service Fee Committee for extra funds for the department.
“The Woodlands Center are Bearkats just like we are,” Jaime said. “They bleed orange just like we do. They should get equal representation just like students in Huntsville.”
Logistics for the new addition in SGA will be provided by IT@Sam and the Lowman Student Center.
Along with the new representation from The Woodlands campus, current SGA members are helping to provide students with a way of effectively communicating the issues they have with on-campus entities.
University Affairs Chief Spencer Copeland along with other SGA officials fronted the creation of a committee for students with grievances to be directed to the appropriate mediums by which their issue can be solved.
“The ‘grievance’ committee is currently being worked on and will be instituted this semester,” Copeland said.“[The committee] will be used to connect students to the proper officials who can handle a problem, give extra support to fix the problem by having Senators apply pressure, and bring problems to the attention of SGA to fix through legislation or administration talks.”
Copeland said that he’s had the support of Jaime, Vice President Kolby Flowers, former Student Affairs Chief Steven Perry, and Assistant Dean Jenneane Bias in the Office of Student Affairs.
One focal point of SGA’s new administration under Jaime has been student involvement in the organization. Jaime said that SGA’s recruitment program over the summer was a step towards having a more involved and diverse student government.
“We hit orientation hard and got many freshmen who were leaders in their student council in high school,” Jaime said. “I also reached out to many organizations and recruited their leaders to join SGA. For too long, SGA had members that were basically from the same school of thought. We have nearly 20,000 students. There's no way we all think the same.”
However, Copeland explained how success at orientation doesn’t necessarily equate growth in student government involvement.
“Since the end of the spring semester, around 120 students indicated interest in joining this fall,” Copeland said. “This is an astounding number, but I would be very shocked to actually gain more than 15. Last year, we had around 60 people indicating interest yet I was the only one to make it to become a senator.”
He also indicated that incoming freshman interested in student government won’t be elected into the senate right away and must complete extra tasks, per student government rules.
“They would join in the Freshman Council, which is like a work studies program,” Copeland said. “They have the responsibility of attending senate and committee meetings but do not get a vote until they complete 12 credit hours at SHSU.”
There’s an SGA meet and greet in the Kat Klub at 4:00 p.m., followed by SGA’s first official meeting convening at 6:30 in the LSC.