SGA sets sights on campus unification, involvement
The student government association, under the leadership of President Lauren McNeaill and Vice-President Trey Gibeault, intends to bring improvements to UALR.
For some students, the SGA may seem like just another organization on campus, but McNeaill said it is one in which everyone should play a part. “We represent the student body on administrative committees,” she said. “We try to increase student satisfaction, make sure we are providing student needs, whatever that may be.”
In an interview with McNeaill and her team, she explained that the new administration has four primary goals:
- Better equip SGA members for service
- Create a more unified campus community and promote safety
- Promote student involvement and satisfaction with campus activities and services
- Build community awareness and spirit through community service and philanthropy
Steps have already been taken to ensure that all SGA members are ready to serve. The SGA hosted an overnight retreat over the summer at West Hall in which members underwent leadership workshops.
According to McNeaill, it will also host parliamentary procedure workshops so that the members will be more familiar with the in and outs of SGA protocol.
In an effort to unify the campus, the SGA plans to institute a President’s Council. The council will include representatives from all student organizations on campus.
“We’re looking at hopefully, ideally, about 50 representatives,” said McNeaill. “[Instituting] that will be to increase communication lines across organizations and also so that we make some collective efforts on some interests that we all have in common anyway.”
The SGA has once again received requests that hours at the Ottenheimer Library be extended. The hope is, McNeaill said, to make the hours more conducive to student’s study preferences. Currently, the library closes at 11 p.m. during the week and at 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“For the average college student that is in class during the day, works at night and gets home to nosy roommates at ten o’clock, it’s not going to be enough,” McNeaill said.
However, after speaking with those who oversee such decision, McNeaill was told that there is not enough student demand to make the change. She said she will need the help of students if the change is to take place.
McNeaill is most excited about the SGA achieving its final goal of building community awareness and philanthropy. The administration looks to host the university’s first 5k run, in which proceeds will go to a charity. The specific charity and date have not yet been decided. “It would be a themed 5K so that we can build up school spirit,” McNeaill said.
The secretary, Meghan Petersen, is a source of communication for all officers. Students can contact her in order to get their message relayed to the SGA members. Carlos Sepulveda, the chief of staff and media liaison, is in charge of the SGA budget and contact with media sources. In light of past strains between the SGA and the The Forum, he and the team expressed their desire to maintain a strong relationship with The Forum.
Gibeault is the leader of the SGA Senate. The SGA hopes to increase voter turnout by changing campaign restrictions by passing new legislation in the Senate. Last year, only a small percent of the student population participated. “The college of business students, there is no reason for them to come down there,” said Gibeault. “They have all their classes, food and parking over there.”
“Some people are commuters and it may be hard for them to get there at that certain time,” added Petersen.
The SGA says the solution to low voter turnout may be online voting. Even though it poses some tough challenges, the SGA anticipates implementation will boost voter participation.
All SGA meetings are open to the public. Students who wish to voice an opinion at a particular meeting should send an e-mail notifying the SGA that they would like to be on the agenda. It meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. in room 201A of the SGA office. The next meeting will be Sept. 11.
Go to ualr.edu/sga to learn more about student government.