SGA legislation sparks change in campus life

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Making change in the campus community is what the Student Government Association (SGA), led by President Eddie McDonald, is seeking to do, primarily through a series of new bills. SGA is the go-to if students feel there is change that needs to happen at VWU.

SGA “is basically students working for students,” McDonald said. According to him, they are the “go between the administration and the student body.” When there are “issues that students are having,” McDonald said, “whether it be parking, the elevator broken in the apartments, Title IX policies or marijuana policies, SGA works with the administration on behalf of students.”

McDonald is the president, which, according to him, means that he “presides over the student senate.” His job is to manage the “agenda, help the student senators to write legislation that they want to bring up, lead meetings and make sure people feel comfortable talking.” The Student Government Association meets every Monday and every Thursday he meets with the administration to discuss what issues were brought up at the meeting with the student senate.

One of the bills that SGA wants to introduce this year focuses on mental health. “Mental health is super important to me,” McDonald said. “I have a lot of respect for Director April Christman and the amazing work that she’s doing, but I think SGA can help advocate for students in certain ways. I would love to see our campus’s impatient policies and procedures published for all students to see, and then compare them to other universities to identify areas for improvement.”

Currently, SGA consists of student senators from each class, with the freshmen senators voted for September of fall semester. McDonald hopes that in the coming years, there is enough participation for three to four senators per class, but he is pleased that the diversity of SGA is comparable to the diversity of VWU, and that there is currently a 1:1 ratio of males to females.

Over the summer, McDonald talked with other college students involved in the student governments of Penn State and George Mason University, and they said that they follow a legislation process based on the University of Virginia’s student government. 

This legislation process is intended to make change happen more efficiently by allowing all senators to propose bills that get discussed with the administration. This is what SGA is going towards, making change in the community more efficiently by being very clear with the administration as to what they want/need.

McDonald is working closely with the student senate to draft their own legislation to make this new process go smoothly.

An example of the new legislation for the fall semester is the free condom dispensers that are being placed in V1 and V2, outside security and outside Student Health. “Most students are sexually active, and STIs have been on the rise,” McDonald said. “It’s important to have two condoms dispensers that are stocked outside V1 and V2.”

Overall, the “SGA of the past is a completely different group than the one we have today,” McDonald said. He said that “In years past we’ve been held back by a lack of participation but this group is quite the opposite.” In the future, McDonald hopes that “SGA has a larger presence on campus and that the student body sees the group as an avenue to solve problems.”

Anyone with comments or suggestions for SGA is welcome to scan the QR code to lead them to the SGA comments form or find one of the officers in person. Follow @sga.marlins on Instagram to stay updated on meeting minutes and SGA events.

Adrien Vinot Prefontaine