By: Parker Williamson
Missouri Western’s Student Government Association has released an executive agenda for the 2019-2020 school year.
SGA hosted a town hall Monday night kicking off SGA week. The email announcing SGA week was sent out on Monday at 12:25pm, 85 minutes after the first event listed was to start. Six hours later SGA hosted a town hall, with less than 15 students in attendance. The official executive agenda can be found at the top of the SGA website: www.missouriwestern.edu/student-life/student-government-association/
The agenda highlights three main areas of focus: revitalizing your government, creating a positive experience for all and developing new opportunities for student organization.
Revitalizing your government
SGA has made two executive orders and passed one senate bill to make sure that they are transparent and honest with the student body. The first executive order is in place to ensure that SGA’s spending is made public within a timely manner. The next states that SGA meeting times and locations will be made more publically available to increase student involvement. The senate bill adds more student involvement and awareness with SGA meetings. This bill with allow the creation of a broadcast system that will stream SGA Senate meetings and keep better records of them.
SGA is also pushing for more student engagement on campus and in the St. Joseph community. They are promising to raise the bar on what it means for the SGA to engage with the student body. This comes in the forms of town halls, pushing for more participation in Third Thursdays, luncheons and potentially creating a MWSU app to further engage with students. The Student Involvement Committee is in charge of making this happen. SGA Director of Student Involvement Jashira Bolden spoke about the goals of that committee.
“Basically, our plan this year is to make sure we get our retention rates up,” Bolden said. “Instead of waiting for the Spring for SGA week we want to do it now to make sure we are out in front of new students so they will stay involved in the Spring.”
Creating a positive environment for all
Capital projects are ways of investing in the campus to create a better environment for students. The first project listed on the executive agenda is installing digital kiosks that will have information about upcoming events, campus news and other information that will be useful to students. This project is not only a way of getting information to students, it is also a way of limiting the amount of paper and bulletin boards on campus.
Eli Trimmer leads the Capital Projects Committee, another big project they are working on is updating the furniture in Blum.
“We want to modernize the Blum Student Union,” Trimmer said. “Visitors and students use that building everyday and we want that to be a very welcoming place for people to hand out no matter what time.”
Other capital projects include adding an ADA accessibility button to the door on the Potter patio and updating the outside of Hearnes Library, adding tables and more pavement to replace the hedges and lone picnic table currently residing there.
The most asked about topic at this SGA town hall was eSports. SGA is negotiating with MWSU administration about possibly using SGA funds to purchase items for esports facilities, ensuring that any facility with SGA funded equipment would be open to all students. Some students voiced concerns about student fee money going towards eSports without any say from the students who pay those fees.
SGA Vice President Nathan Scott did most of the talking about SGA’s involvement with eSports. SGA are calling the deal a mutually beneficial partnership between the university administration and SGA. He said that no funds have been allocated to eSports yet because everything is still in negotiation.
“We don’t want to announce a number and then have something change later, so we don’t really have a ballpark right now,” Scott said.
Scott was asked by a student during the town hall if he had seen a lot of student support for eSports.
“I have actually heard quite a bit of interest, like talking in classes and everything,” Scott said. “I definitely hear quite a bit of concern too.”
Britane Hubbard, a MWSU student and former SGA member who attended the town hall, voiced concerns about eSports and SGA money.
“I am still a little confused about the eSports thing but they’re kind of still in the initial process of that. I think they should still be able to at least answer where the budget for that is coming from,” Hubbard said.
During the town hall Hubbard looked up the SGA budget to figure out what money the panel was referring to.
“If it’s not going to be a democratic process for a large amount of money, I think there’s an issue,” Hubbard said.
New opportunities for student organizations
SGA is looking for quality social spaces on campus that can be utilized by RSOs. This includes negotiating deals with Res. Life about using spaces in the Res. Halls. They would also like to start the Asset Allocation Program this program will fund strategic assets like popcorn or slushie machines that can be lent to RSOs for events.