The Student Government Association (SGA) holds open Senate meetings biweekly on Fridays from 4 – 5:30 p.m. in the SOLVE center on the Owings Mills North campus. SGA wants all students to know that meetings offer a safe environment to express any issues or concerns that one may have. Without participation from students, there is no insight into what problems exist on campus.
“If a university is to be successful and expand, the students should always be a main focus,” said the Speaker of the Senate, Bryson Barksdale.
Open meetings specifically target students who feel they do not have a voice around campus, said Barksdale. The SGA hopes to hear concerns and open a dialogue that will hopefully lead to effective solutions.
The SGA currently has 64 members. Out of this group, 14 do not represent a specific club or organization. This allows for a diverse range of viewpoints. Most teams, clubs and other organizations on campus typically have representation, although the same cannot be said for students who do not belong to any sports or clubs.
“In order to represent the whole student population accurately, we need to hear from every type of student, especially those who may not be as involved as others. That is what is so important about the 14 non-club reps here,” Barksdale said. As diversity increases in representation and attendance, awareness of problems and chances for solutions also rise.
In the past year, SGA has managed to get policy resolutions passed, including seven thus far this semester. The position of Director of Clubs has been transformed to what is now known as Director of Diversity and Inclusion. The number of attendees as well as representatives has also increased. Members of the SGA see more recognition by the university as a sign of progress. The SGA has worked hard to increase the amount of feedback from students. Concerns that were previously mentioned in meetings include shuttle service, fire drills and spaces for groups to meet.
Whether it is in the Senate meetings or one-on-one with a representative in a Rockland office, there is always someone available to listen to student concerns. The SGA wants students to know that their voices do matter. The next open Senate meeting will be held on March 2.