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SGA discusses potential addition of club representatives

A crowd of smiling people hold up a hand symbol vaguely resembling a ram's head.
Maddison Behringer / THE GATEPOST

Adam Harrison

News Editor 

SGA reviewed and voted on capital projects and discussed the potential addition to SGA of club representative positions at their meeting March 12. 

Dale Hamel, executive vice president, began the meeting by listing and describing each option on the capital projects list that the senators voted on. 

“This is the annual process … where we have people identify different capital adaptation and renewal projects, and there’s a whole process you have to go through. It’s reviewed by Facilities, and different people weigh in - we essentially identify a list of projects to get different constituents’ input into what to get funded for the upcoming fiscal year,” he said. 

Hamel said they begin this process early in the year in order to get funded in time for summer projects, and “we’d like to do as many of these as possible during the summer, so they’re not destructive during the academic year.”

Senators were able to rank their choices from 1 to 28 in order of highest priority.

The total estimated cost for all of the projects is $900,000 and there is currently about $370,000 set aside, Hamel said. 

“We will then compile all the balance [votes] from three different constituent groups from students, the budget and planning committee … and from executive staff. Then we put those on a graphic and see which projects essentially rise to the top,” he said. 

Hamel requested that the senators complete and submit their forms before spring break ended. 

President Evelyn Campbell and Student Trustee Ryan Mikelis attended a Northeastern Student Government conference held at Bryant University to meet with other universities’ SGAs to discuss and share ideas.

Campbell asked, “How do you guys [other university SGA representatives] have people that continue to be a part of your student government? Because I think that's a kind of struggle we have - especially as a predominantly commuter school.

“Most of the colleges were talking about how they don’t - they just completely abolished their senate and instead had club representatives.”

She said club members would have one person representing them on the student government level, be able to advocate for their clubs, and serve on student government while building an understanding of how student government connects to student organizations. 

Vice President Raffi Elkhoury said, “I think in my time in SGA, one area of improvement has been involvement with student organizations, and I think it should be a lot higher because what we do in SGA is serve students and student organizations.”

A large portion of the regulations that are in the SGA constitution are for organizations, so it’s important for the student organizations to know what is going on, he said. 

“The goal here is to create a coalition of clubs to talk and work together, and the idea would be to alternate … and meet every two weeks as the members of Senate who are not club representatives, and the other week as club representatives,” Elkhoury said. 

The benefits for clubs include getting uniform information to all clubs, increasing collaboration among clubs, developing a sense of community on campus, and receiving assistance from SGA during club leadership transitions, he said. 

Elkhoury said they want to incentivize club representatives to come and suggested potential monetary awards for clubs and leadership retreats. “No comment from EXP whether this could be funded by them or not,” he said. 

He said they could also do a club feature each week on Instagram, and club shoutouts at the meetings. 

Senator Raena Doty said, “I really like this idea. Part of the reason why is not because I don’t love SGA, but part of the reason why I'm on SGA is because I think it’s good to have a person from The Gatepost to create that conversation.” 

She said it will give club representatives opportunities to advocate for themselves without overcommitting to other SGA duties. 

“Being a senator means that you’re supposed to be a part of SGA, and you’re not necessarily bringing what else you’re doing on campus. You’re not bringing that you’re president of another club or whatever to the forefront of your time at SGA. So, I think it gives people a chance to be involved,” she said. 

Campbell said this will be important for years to come, because a change like this won’t happen overnight. 

Creating a club representative role would also allow an eager club member to get further involved in both SGA and their own club, and would be a good stepping stone to higher roles in their club, she said. 

Senator Jeremy McDonald said this could lead to more club-on-club interactions. “If you put two people who might not otherwise interact with each other in the same room, they can plan events, and we can help them plan events - we can work with that.”

Elkhoury said he planned on excluding group six clubs at first to not add additional responsibilities, but “the more we’ve been talking about this idea, the more I think that it will serve group six the most.” 

Doty asked, “Would this be a required role for clubs? And would this be a separate role from their eBoard, or could any member take on the role?”

She said that a club president could take complete control and not foster trust with the other members of the club and take the responsibility for themselves, but a general member might also not have the necessary information to properly represent their club.

Senator Tony Sims said that any person in the club should be able to represent. “I think we’re severely limiting ourselves by giving this job to one person specifically when I think it could be handled fairly well by any person.” 

Elkhoury said the roles of eBoard and gBoard vary significantly depending on the club.

“Every single student at FSU is a gBoard member of Student Government, so, you wouldn’t be like - Oh! Let’s just have Billy Bob Jones come represent SGA if that was the thing we were doing,” he said.

“That being said, I don’t know if it’s our job to step into the club’s internal politics.”

Campbell said if this got approved and was voted into the constitution and bylaws, Gina Pacitto, student experience program coordinator, would serve as a guide to help them make the right decisions on who to have as a representative, and to help that representative make the choices that would benefit their club the best.

Pacitto is “well equipped and informed to help clubs make this decision per their constitution. So if clubs have to make edits based on this being an approved process, then Gina would work with all those clubs to say - ‘Hey, I’ve been working with you for X amount of years already. I understand what your needs are,’” she said. 

[Editor’s Note: Raena Doty is an Arts & Features Editor for The Gatepost]



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