Students find SGA ineffective
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 02:05
Many students say the Student Government Association does not effectively represent the undergraduate community, according to results from the 2012 Blue Hen Poll.
Nearly 90 percent of 1,237 poll respondents said they pay little or no attention to the group’s activities. More than half of 459 respondents said they think SGA is unresponsive to their concerns.
Incoming SGA president Michelle Barineau said she believes the statistics are a result of the organization’s lack of visibility on campus, an issue she intends to address during her tenure next year.
“I know the No. 1 priority of the newly elected executive cabinet is just to increase not only visibility, but overall transparency,” Barineau said.
She said that they have plans in the works to send out more newsletters and to increase the amount of student involvement with the organization.
Freshman Kelsey Doolittle said she doesn’t think SGA members effectively represent their organization on campus.
“I didn’t realize they had it in college,” Doolittle said. “I thought it was just a high school thing.”
Doolittle said she thinks a disconnect exists between students and administrators that SGA can bridge.
Barineau said SGA’s current structure decreases the organization’s accessibility.
“They don’t know how open our meetings are, and it’s just a lack of communication on both of our parts,” she said.
She said she plans to change the lack of communication by finding creative ways to reach out to the student body. The organization added new student officer positions in March and seven more student senator posts. The new structure includes 32 senators in total, whereas the previous had 29.
Sophomore Alex Wolf said she doesn’t know what SGA does on campus, and thinks the group could definitely benefit from reaching out to students more often.
“If they sent emails out, I constantly check mine, so I would contribute my opinion,” Wolf said. “I don’t know if everyone would answer, but at least they would know what SGA is.”
Barineau thinks the primary reason why many of those polled said SGA does not respond to their concerns is because they are unaware some major changes enacted by university officials are originally SGA initiatives.
She said the availability of laptop chargers at the library, extended library hours during finals week and displays showing where food in dining halls was produced were products of collaborations between SGA and university administrators.
“We fly under the radar with what we do,” Barineau said. “We do things and people don’t really know that it is us.”