This year Missouri Western’s Student Government Association decided to shake things up a bit and try something new regarding committees.
Traditionally, SGA met every Monday, and Senators would be responsible for attending committees in addition to this weekly meeting, but this year they decided to try a schedule that would allow for both at the same time.
Jacob Scott, SGA executive vice president, decided that it was time for a change because the previous meeting structure wasn’t getting the job done.
“The committee structure of the past really wasn’t very effective,” Scott said. “It’s kind of like hand-me-down clothes, they just don’t quite fit right, and it [the previous committee structure] didn’t fit this specific year.”
Scott decided it was time for a change and shifted SGA meetings from every week to alternating weeks, which provided a meeting-free week for committee meetings.
Alison Norris, SGA president, said that this was really Scott’s call and that she deferred to him because as executive vice president he presides over Senate meetings.
“Jacob suggested this, because he felt that during some SGA meetings we [SGA Senate] didn’t have as much to cover, and if we made it every other week it would make it [the meetings] more meaningful,” Norris said.
Norris also said that Scott felt this would allow Senators a higher level of involvement and engage them in the legislative and planning process over previous years.
Norris and Scott both feel that this new design has increased involvement in committees, especially in those not interested in being full-time Senate members.
“That’s [outside student involvement] been our biggest success,” Scott said. “We’ve gotten just your average student who doesn’t want to be a Senator necessarily, but who still wants to get involved.”
Scott said that the Senate meetings don’t operate as sessions for discussing legislation as much anymore because that discussion is now occurring at the committee level, the way it’s supposed to.
Jordan Carney, director of student relations, says that she definitely sees a difference in the way the SGA Senate meetings run as a result of the committee meetings.
“I think they [Senate meetings] are going really well,” Carney said. “I feel that the Senate is more active because of the way the committees are structured, and they’re [meetings] kind of more pertinent to what SGA is trying to accomplish. I also think that the workload is spread out between the senators better, bringing in more diverse opinions to the legislation being brought to the Senate.”
Noah Green, director of communications, oversees the newly developed communications committee. He is really pleased to be operating under the new structure.
“I have been really, really happy with them [communications committee]; I’ve been really proud of the work they’ve done,” Green said. “They’ve done one survey so far, and we collected over five hundred results, which will help guide our progress for the rest of the year.”
Green said that a benefit to the alternating schedule is the ability to continue to get out and interact with the student population and see the benefits of the committees’ hard work.