Our View: Hold student government accountable

The Carrier’s editorial opinion represents the views of the senior members of the Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion news staff.

In recent SGA meetings, Adrian Lopez, Marcus Ghee and Daniel Boddie, among others, have been diligent in bringing up issues of student safety and other concerns. Students want to know they are being heard and that action is being taken. 

It can be frustrating when complaints are met with paperwork or non-answers, and it’s our job to hold SGA and administration accountable for providing open communication and a safe and academically sound place for us to live and learn. 

It’s also our responsibility to engage with our governing body in as educated a manner as possible.

Many students associate SGA with Tuesday night meetings and a few select faces on campus, but SGA is more than its executive board. Every student at this school is automatically considered a part of the association. Organizations are responsible for sending delegates, but meetings are open to all students.

The exec board consists of a president; two vice presidents, one for service and one for administration; a treasurer and  a secretary. We elect these officers to be voices of the student body. They represent all of us, and therefore we need to let them know what we need. 

From year to year, this board changes in leadership styles, but they should still hold true to the mission of making Berry a better place for all students. 

Students expect a lot from SGA without understanding their roles in a larger context. The executive board’s duties range from college event planning, such as the Berry Bellhops and formal, to final exam care packages and various community services. However, the crux of their positions includes acting as a liaison between the student body and Berry administration, and distributing the student activity fee of approximately $350,000.

It is the SGA body’s job to approve the allocation of funds from the student activity fee to various clubs and organizations across campus. Organizations submit proposals for funds each year, and are given an amount based on what is approved by the SGA board and the student body. 

SGA members, like all Berry students, have a lot on their plates, and most of our current exec board are new to SGA positions. 

Bring your thoughts to SGA. Bring them to administration. Encourage friends to attend SGA. Read up on parliamentary procedure, so you know when to bring up your comments and how to understand the workings of SGA meetings and all they entail. Brush up on the SGA Constitution, located on the SGA page of Berry’s website. (We would urge SGA to make the constitution more visible on their page.) Suggest changes to the way things are currently run if you see a better way. 

Stop by the SGA office during office hours. SGA members work the whole week, and they can better answer your questions and provide you with resources to take more effective action outside of a Tuesday night. Keep conversations going. Bring research to back up your arguments. 

Recognize that we’re all human and change takes time, but with the same breath demand transparency. Reach out to us at the Carrier and Viking Fusion if you fear your complaints aren’t receiving the proper follow through.

College is a great time to build good civic habits. When else will you have such close contact to your local elected officials?

Come to SGA prepared and expect the same from your student leaders. 

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