SGA: the passing thought in need of change

Posted by The Editorial Board

As Student Government Association elections are happening, it is a relevant time to consider how we hope to improve SGA in the upcoming year.

Skidmore's student body is very involved -- we have an impressive number of clubs, which contrasts the lack of interest in SGASGA should be the most important organization on campus; it represents the study body to the administration, organizes the few events that bind this college as a community, and is responsible for the budgets and finances of other clubs. Yet SGA often doesn't garner enough interest to even fill its open positions. An organization chartered to fulfill so many important roles should be a topic of interest among students; the fact that it is not is a gross failure.  

This shortcoming cannot be attributed to a single party, but to both SGA and the Skidmore student body.

SGA needs to advertise itself better, and part of this issue can be addressed by making SGA more visible to the community, as many of the candidates on Speech Night pointed out. When important topics of interest arise, why not survey the community on their opinion? It would not only make the jobs of SGA officers easier, but include the rest of the student body. Perhaps every once in a while the Class Presidents can hold a short thirty minute session at the SPA to update interested classmates on current events and plans, and to answer any of their questions. The occasional email and open-around-the-clock front desk are both helpful, but are clearly not enough. More visibility in students' lives will directly lead to an increase in the importance that students attach to SGA, which in turn will galvanize more student involvement.

What may dissuade students from joining SGA, though, is that they do not know exactly what the SGA does. One too many people at Skidmore understand SGA as a glorified party-planner. While SGA is responsible for organizing events such as Fun Day and Moorebid, it does much more than that. SGA needs to better convey what the exact functions of each and every one of its offices are --from SGA President to Class Secretary to Senator.  And feel free to glorify these roles as much as you please. Send students these descriptions, post them on your website, and certainly post them on your underutilized Facebook page.

If the student body understood the purpose of SGA, a few more students might just run for open offices, and it would certainly be encouraging if so many candidates running for office did not do so unopposed.  Wednesday night's Speech Night quickly grew long as the few who attended listened to countless monologues and endured pointless Q & A sessions directed at the sole candidate.

The lack of interest in our SGA and community is an embarrassment, and SGA needs to do what it can to improve its current stature among students. Hopefully, the new SGA will bring the needed change it has promised.  Albeit, most of those who will take their seats at fall's first SGA meeting will be the same that led this current SGA.

But SGA can do only so much. Students at Skidmore need to take an interest in their school; being involved does not require one to run for office, just to read the occasional email from SGA and bring your needs and ideas to their attention. SGA's officers have expressed many times their eagerness to listen, and while they are ultimately responsible for the change that will improve our school and community, they cannot do it alone, and as mere representatives of the student body, they shouldn't have to.

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