For students, one avenue of making their voices heard and being a part of the hierarchy on their college campuses is through the Student Government Association (SGA).
This semester, SGA was headed by President Joseph Mueller, a junior in the Batten Honors College. As Mueller heads to Italy to study for the Spring semester, his position will be filled by Interim President Jack Palmer, who currently serves as the vice president on the Executive Board.
SGA began the semester by rewriting their constitution for the first time since any current students arrived at VWU, Mueller noted. “Doing so has made us more able to adapt to change in the organization and function in a way that is more focused on governing,” Mueller said.
The sentiment was reiterated by Edward McDonald, who is the finance advisor for the sophomore class. “We’ve made a deliberate decision to shift from an activity planning committee to a functioning student government,” McDonald said.
SGA hopes to continue its advances to benefit students. “As an organization I think developing a legislation process is the next step in creating a legitimate and functioning student government once we can prove to ourselves that we can succeed in campus improvement projects,” McDonald said. His statement highlights the commitment SGA is looking to bring to next semester.
Changes during this semester have included open SGA meetings, where the student body is invited to speak their mind and discuss ideas for the future. “The SGA open meeting was a step in the right direction,” McDonald said. “Participation was limited, but we’re definitely looking at a variety of ways to get the Student Body more invested in their student government.”
This semester has also seen important events from SGA, including the 9/11 memorial stair climb, the walk to recognize World Suicide Prevention Day and the turkey trot to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All of these events are intended to continue annually, along with other events to recognize the importance of people in the community. “I’m optimistic that SGA will develop a relationship with [the Virginia Beach Fire Department] that will allow us to give back to our local heroes,” McDonald said.
Additional goals for the coming semester include finalizing a plan to update the 24-hour study lounge in the library and building another Marlin Meadow near Beverly Hall to provide a lounge space for arts students in particular.
Mueller states that he is proud to have “shifted the culture of the group towards making change on campus to benefit the students.” With continued support from the administration, SGA hopes to keep improving conditions for students and offering them a voice in the system.
By Rhian Tramontana