Student Government Association: SGA Important Issues of the Year

Over the past year the Student Government Association Senate has supported clubs, has followed and taken action on off and on-campus issues, and has worked to inform students of the issues involving the student body. The Student Activities Committee of the SGA Senate established a new web site: enabling all clubs to update their own information and events online and offer another form of advertising events on campus. “The web site makes advertising easier on campus and currently receives an average of about 50 hits a day,” said SGA President Joe Thibault. “The SGA puts in countless hours to help all the people like me be productive in starting up a club,” said the newly recognized Table Tennis Club President Dov Pechenik,”everybody’s been very helpful in explaining how things work and how to get anything done. I’m grateful for the help I’ve received from the Student Government over the year.” “We recognized some great clubs that have all contributed to campus since becoming clubs,”said President Thibault,”the Student Activities Committee plans to renovate the current club space next to the SGA Office and the area outside of the Cynic office that will allow many more clubs to utilize the space in the fall.” SGA and the Finance Committee of SGA have allocated funds to the clubs for many different activities and competitions. These include contributing to a new boat for the Crew Club, travelling to national competitions and for community service work such as Alternative Spring Break, and others, such as tables for the Tennis Table Club. “This year, the Finance Committee allocated $48,000 dollars from the supplemental funding account for well over 130 events,” said SGA Treasurer Jonathon Stitelman, “we also held budget hearings for five weekends early in the semester, approving budgets for around 100 clubs.” “When my deadline was fast approaching for getting a budget, the SGA helped me get recognized very quickly and have since provided enough funding for my club to get on its feet,” said Dov Pechenik, “the SGA is full of hard-working and patient people who are always willing to give you some of their time and lend some help. “From what I have seen over the past three years, this year’s SGA gotmore accomplished than usual. The student presence downtown was strengthened, and I feel like we did everything in our power to advocate for students to the administration,” said Stitelman. The SGA has followed the changing dynamics of UVM over the past year, and have taken action on issues involving student life. During the fall semester Senators rode the late night Off-Campus Shuttle in response to safety concerns. Members of the Student Action Committee worked with the Physical Plant to get new blue lights put in across campus as well. Another campus-wide issue was the creation of a new Student Commons. The Senate became involved and passed a resolution in support of a new Student Commons. Another resolution regarding the creation of the Honors College was also passed by SGA , encouraging administration to give more time and consideration to the issue before implementing the program. Many members of Senate attended Board of Trustees meetings in which these issues were discussed. “I’m really proud of our work with the Honors College,” said SGA Senator Wes Tank-Day, “I think that Academic Affairs Committee did a really great job.” The Academic Affairs Committee has also taken action on many campus-wide issues. One resolution passed as proposed by the Academic Affairs Committee was in regards to cross-college majors and minors, and unified distribution requirements throughout the university. “The SGA does not go around to gloat on what we did, but we did amazing things this year for students like getting $200,000 for campus programming, pushing the University to complete the Blue Lights Project, getting the library open for 24 hours, pushing the Student Commons forward, working on downtown relations, and so much more,” said former SGA President Jon Badaracco. The SGA Senate took action in regards to downtown Burlington relations as well. One issue focused on the new Downtown Noise Ordinance. The Senate passed a resolution this semester in opposition to the Noise Ordinance as it was passed, and requesting better student representation in the City Council. From April 12th through the18th the Senate sponsored a “Green for Gold” week where students were encouraged to exchange their green dollar bills for gold coins to spend down town. The goal was to show to the city the importance of students in the Burlington Community through the number of coins circulating downtown. “I think out of all the resolutions that were passed, speakers that came and clubs that were officiated, the greatest accomplishment of the SGA was getting the student body involved with the noise ordinance and having fellow senators at each of the council meetings,” Said former Public Affairs Committee Chair, Portia Pascal ,”these are the steps needed to dissuade apathy and create a cohesive bond between students and the townspeople of Burlington.” The Public Affairs Committee of SGA Senate worked to inform students on actions the Senate had taken and issues that involved the student body. Senators advertised “Green for Gold” week and create pamphlets regarding the Honors College proposal to inform students, among other issues. “For forty students reaching out to over seven thousand, we accomplished a hell of a lot,” said Pascal.