Improving the SGA

After six months, SGA President Bryce Jones and the entire Student Government Association (SGA) have made notable changes. Although there is still more to be done, SGA has taken the steps toward being a better and more communicative student organization.  Jones has shown leadership and and has brought a transparency to the SGA that has not been seen in the student government offices in the recent past. In endorsing Jones in the spring, The Cynic put its support behind his campaign promises of reaching out to students and making the SGA a place for students to engage in civil debate. We believe he has succeeded in creating an on-campus atmosphere of social justice and accountability for all by reaching out directly to students. In doing so, Jones made the SGA a place for us students to voice our concerns over the big issues facing our student body. By becoming such an open forum for the community, Jones and the SGA have made huge strides in their own accountability. Student awareness for student government bills and events has grown considerably through the tireless efforts of Public Relations Chair Katie Rifkin. In the coming months, SGA representatives will continue to increase their visibility on campus, reaching out through leadership forums for campus leaders as well as appearances on UVMtv.SGA’s most impressive improvement is in the percentages of student voting.  Though more students can always get involved, the 2009-2010 SGA launched an accessible online vote-tracking system, throwing the doors of the student government open to the entire UVM community.We would like to commend the SGA for leaving a history of closed-door sessions and ambiguous activities behind to become the student government we see today.And yet, as mentioned previously, more improvements can indeed happen.As the most important way to interact with government on any level is to vote — the burden must fall on the student government again to continually bring the percentage up to where it belongs. This is truly the next step in improving the overall effectiveness, accountability and transparency of the organization.Jones’s e-mails and the voting database are working, which we believe is a signal that students are beginning to see their student government as an effective and worthwhile body that deserves attention.