SGA outlines new goals


Lou Foglia

SGA created five new goals, which it plans to begin implementing during the Fall 2015 Semester, according to SGA President and junior journalism major Jerel Ballard.

By Campus Reporter

After spending the summer outlining goals for the upcoming academic year, the Student Government Association discussed a strategy to implement those plans during the Fall 2015 Semester at its first meeting Sept. 15. 

Jerel Ballard, president of SGA and a junior journalism major, said the group has listed five goals for the 2015–2016 academic year. He said the first goal is to increase college-wide transparency, including knowledge of the college’s budget and publicizing SGA meeting information.

“Any initiative that promotes reaching out to students, we’ll definitely be part of,” Ballard said.

Arissa Scott, student representative to the college’s board of trustees and a senior fashion studies major, said the second goal is accessibility.

“We often get so busy with life that we close ourselves off,” Scott said. “We want to attend campus-wide events, not just the [executive] board, but the SGA as a whole, and stimulate dialogue between the student body and SGA.”

Amanda Hamrick, executive vice president and a sophomore interactive arts & media major, said community building was another main goal. Hamrick said SGA wants to reach out to various organizations in Chicago, such as the fire department and police station regarding community activities.

Hamrick said another part of this goal is making Columbia a community of multicultural acceptance and diversity.

“We are all individual people— individual artists who come from different backgrounds and different places,” Hamrick said. “We should take time to respect and appreciate different backgrounds and people and learn about their cultures. That’s something we notice as an issue, and we really need to approach it in SGA.”

College affordability, addressed by Luther Hughes, SGA vice president of Finance and a senior creative writing major, is another goal of SGA’s. Hughes said SGA wants to encourage the implementation of a tuition cap that cannot surpass the national average.

Erika Kooda, vice president of Communications and junior radio and business & entrepreneurship double major, addressed the goal of expanding the student voice, which calls for SGA to support student-led initiatives and ideas.

“We want to amplify the student voice campus-wide in creating initiatives that address the student body’s needs,” Kooda said.

Kooda added that SGA is encouraging students to share their thoughts through its website, where there is now a suggestion box in addition to a contact link for students to send messages to SGA.

Ballard said SGA is in constant conversation with the administration throughout the academic year to implement initiatives in the Strategic Plan. He said President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim is scheduled to attend the Sept. 22 SGA meeting. 

“We’ll have several conversations about the Strategic Plan, about SGA goals and how they are combined with the goals of administration,” Ballard said.

Scott said as SGA works to make much of its information available to students, the administration is working toward being transparent as well, so there is no confusion about what is going on at the college.

Ballard said during the summer, SGA prepared for early-semester events like Welcome Week and Convocation to reach out to old Senate members and try to recruit new Senate members.

Ballard said there were 17 more Senate spots to fill this year, because they have ten more department senator positions and seven at-large positions. He said SGA had four open senator positions last year.

“There’s a lot of transition going on at the school,” Ballard said. “Now is the time to make change, not just for now, but for the generations to come, even [after] we graduate.”