What is the Student Government Association? SGA officials explain the group and promise transparency
From the outside, the Northeastern Student Government Association may appear to be an amorphous group of students with a confusing internal structure, but Nicole Miranda, a fifth-year health sciences student and parliamentarian for student government, said that the group acts as a liaison between the student body and the administration. The Student Government Association, or SGA, takes what students want to see changed on campus and brings it to the attention of the parties concerned.
âMuch of the work we do is able to [President Joseph E.] Aoun’s office, âMiranda said. “We are able to take the views of the student body and really present it to the administration and hopefully do work based on what the student body wants or needs.”
SGA is made up of several different bodies: e-board, cabinet, other leaders, senate, committees and councils. The Senate, the largest congregation, is made up of student senators, who represent specific groups on campus.
Many senators serve on various committees and boards responsible for distinct areas such as finance, elections, sustainability, and academic affairs. Committees and councils work on projects that could directly affect student life. Anyone can join a committee or council by contacting the vice-president in charge and explaining their interest.
There is also the e-board which is made up of the president, the executive vice president and all the other vice presidents. The cabinet, which includes the entire e-board as well as two executive directors and the chief of staff, serves as a liaison between the SGA and the administration of the North East.
SGA President Casey Buttke, a fourth-year political science and criminal justice graduate, said the SGA functions as a bridge between students and administration; students often organize themselves through petitions and Buttke said SGA can help petitions reach the right people in Northeastern.
âI also encouraged all of our leaders and senators this year to, if they see a petition or a message or even just someone post something on Instagram, send it to our Slack group and let’s talk about it. , let’s see how to help that person, âButtke said. âWe really try to keep our eyes open for students who aren’t contacting us directly but who we think we can help. “
Miranda encouraged students to attend Senate meetings, which are open to anyone, to read meeting minutes, or to contact SGA management. SGA has moved to a hybrid model with in-person participation encouraged, but an online option for those who or do not live in wellness accommodations in Boston.
Matt Coleman, a second-year business administration and psychology student, is a senator from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. He joined SGA last year and said the transition to the Senate in person has gone very smoothly.
“[SGA] is an organization that allows student senators to advocate for the interests of a certain group of people or to defend their own beliefs in that body, which actually impacts administrative decisions from time to time, âColeman said.
The direct impacts that students can see from SGA’s work come primarily from projects and initiatives that the organization is able to bring to the administration of Northeastern, Buttke said. Some projects in recent years include the campaign to get compost bins in the dining rooms and the move to get emergency numbers on the back of Husky cards.
âIn terms of COVID, we campaigned this first spring to make the Pass / Fail option available to students,â Buttke said. âOriginally the administration was pushing us away a lot, and then we really turned to the students and said, ‘Here are some ways you can express your support for this,’ and people came in droves for it. really support him. “
[SGA] is an organization that allows student senators to defend the interests of a certain group of people or defend their own beliefs in that body, which in fact impacts administrative decisions from time to time.
– Matt Coleman
Some current projects that SGA is tackling include mental health and sustainability initiatives, as well as plans for a program database and textbook exchange program.
Buttke pointed out that students don’t have to be a senator to join committee projects they’re passionate about – projects are open to all students.
âI really encouraged our leadership team to delegate more and have more project managers and to make more freshmen feel empowered to lead their own projects and initiatives,â said Buttke.
She went on to mention the importance of having a diverse team working on each project, with students from different backgrounds.
“In fact, we actively encourage that there are students in general who are on our committees, because otherwise we only have the perspective of someone who is otherwise involved in LMS, and it can be incredibly helpful. to have people who just aren’t, âButtke said. . âThe fact that they can come and participate in these discussions and join these committees and really help with our advocacy makes a huge difference. “
Buttke, who ran on a joint list with Izzy Galinkin last year, won the student body vote with 86% support. Currently, Buttke is involved in initiatives regarding mental health and changes to the food service system in Northeastern.
âI have been Chief of Staff for two years, which means I have worked a lot on the administrative side of SGA, and one of the reasons I ran for President was because I was so thrilled. to get back to work on tangible advocacy. “said Buttke.
Asked about her goals for the AGS this year, Buttke said she wanted to increase the proactivity of members in leadership positions. Buttke said she used to contact students on social media if she saw them making a case, and she encourages students to contact SGA if they want anything to change.
If students want to go beyond joining a committee or occasionally working with SGA, the next level of involvement is as a Senator. To become a senator, students must receive 30 signatures from peers from their college or campus club.
âIf you have a specific niche you want to get into, we have a variety of projects posted on our project board, and that’s pretty elusive because to get involved in those projects you don’t have to be senator, âColeman mentioned.
For more information on SGA, Miranda said students can follow SGA on social media.
âThe best part is that there are literally no barriers to entry. Anyone can join the Senate, which is why I think it is such a diverse group of people coming in. You don’t run against other people to become a senator, âMiranda said.
Buttke and Miranda both stressed that this year the SGA wants to be transparent and more connected with the student body than in the past.
âWe are really accessible – just communicate with us,â said Miranda. âWe can only do what people tell us we should do. We can generate as many projects as we want, but we want to know what would work best for our student body.