SGA starts programs with new secretary

by Kelsey Heiter, CT news reporter Thursday, September 3, 2009; 11:08 PM

The elected Student Government Association secretary has resigned for personal reasons, according to SGA officers. Morgan Bradley, who was elected on the SGA4You ticket last spring, has left her position. “She was not sure if she could devote everything to SGA,” said Shane McCarty, SGA vice president. “I think that takes a lot of courage for someone to say, ‘I know how important this is to everyone involved, especially the three elected officers.'” Ellen Cupp was recently appointed SGA executive secretary. She was originally slated to work as the secretary for the legislative branch and will continue operating in both roles. “When Morgan resigned, I was asked to take over the role of executive secretary as well,” Cupp said.

SGA President Brandon Carroll said he hopes to make a significant change for the students on campus by introducing innovative planned programs that work closely with the other branches of student government. “We established another branch of SGA called Outreach,” Carroll said. “It is here to support the House and Senate’s effort when writing legislation to get valid data to be a complete, accurate representation of the student body.” Carroll explained that when student government decides to write legislation and speak to university President Charles Steger, the SGA is able to accurately say that these are the decisions of the entire student body shown through accurate survey research. SGA will continue to sponsor programs such as Relay for Life and The Big Event this year. “We are introducing something new this year called ‘iChange,’ where we are really trying to tap into the collective talent of the university to improve student life,” Carroll said. “It is sort of like using the wisdom of the crowds to make Virginia Tech better.”

McCarty said one of the main focuses is on a dining incentive program. “The biggest thing right now that we are focused on, that we have spent the summer working on, is the dining incentive program,” McCarty said. “One of our initiatives during the campaign was to start a dining center plan where students can eat between 3 and 5 p.m. at West End and receive 10 percent off of their meal.” McCarty added that SGA is hoping to start a mini-pilot program in just over a month with housing and dining services in an attempt to reduce congestion during the peak hours. “It is going to be a good opportunity for us to really impact students with our lifestyle platform,” McCarty said. “The idea (is to make a) change that students see everyday, as opposed to those big things that never really have a concrete practical impact on them. So we are very excited to see what students think about it and if they take advantage of it.” Carroll said another focus this year is on sustainability.

“We are doing recycling for The Green Effect game, which is coming up,” Carroll said. “It is also about the little things that we do, like passing out popsicles on the Drillfield, which we are doing September 14, 15 and 16, and President Steger, Provost (Mark) McNamee, and Tom Tillar from Alumni Relations are going to stop by.”

Joey Zakutney, SGA treasurer, said he has many hopes, goals and initiatives for the new semester.

“I would say among the top is to make the students realize that they have a very significant role in creating change on this campus,” Zakutney said. “Knowing that they have the power – if they work with student government, especially through House and Senate getting legislation approved – to really make a difference and really see the changes that they want to see, because I think that way everyone is happy.”

Zakutney said that working with faculty, staff, administration, the student body and the greater community of Blacksburg is important to having an open communication channel.

“There are a number of different opportunities to get involved,” Zakutney said. “There is FLEX, which is a program we developed specifically for freshmen to really come in and get acclimated into how SGA works, but also give them the skills necessary to take up other leadership opportunities on campus if they so choose.”

Other opportunities include Hokies on Fire, Big Event and Relay for Life.

Stephanie Jasinski, executive director of external affairs, said she is currently working with all different types of students on her board.

“I have one person that is assigned to work with the faculty, so they will be sitting in on the faculty senate,” Jasinski said. “We also have two directors that are in charge of student outreach, so they will be working with their own committee to see how they can get quantitative data of what students want, so they are really in charge of collecting people’s names, seeing how they can get involved with not just SGA, but anything on campus.”

Jasinski added that the executive board also has a Tenants Association of Blacksburg, which is working with the town to make sure the students are getting the right leases and they know what they are getting into when they are living off campus.

“We also have Community Initiatives, where we have someone go to the town meetings and meet and make sure that we are listening to the rest of the community when we are making decisions on campus,” Jasinski said.

Source: Collegiate Times

~ by shanemccarty on September 22, 2009.

One Response to “SGA starts programs with new secretary”

  1. Great article. Keep up the good work guys!

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