SGA needs more senators

By Editorial Board

The Student Government Association’s primary responsibility is to act as a liaison between the student body and the administration, a duty that has become increasingly important during the prioritization process. Ideally, the SGA would represent voices from all departments.

But 12 of the 30 Student Senate seats in the SGA are vacant, SGA President and senior journalism major Cassandra Norris told The Chronicle, meaning there are some academic departments that are not represented.

One problem the SGA faces is overall low student engagement, according to Norris. Students at Columbia are often heavily involved in off-campus activities or stay within their department for activities. Columbia isn’t geographically set up in a way that promotes student engagement. Our campus occupies numerous high-rises throughout the South Loop. Some buildings are more than a mile apart, which hinders the development of a student community.

It’s great that Columbia has students who are more motivated to be active in their chosen field than in student groups, but there are issues on campus that are going to affect the college, and tuition payers should be aware of them.

With many important changes slated for implementation during the next three years, the role of the SGA as a voice for students could be significant if it is able to fill the vacant senate seats. Members of the SGA were the only students consulted about prioritization, according to an April 2 article from The Chronicle, and they will be in a unique situation to speak for students during the ongoing implementation process.

The SGA has been promoting its vacant seats through the college’s email newsletter and on Columbia’s website. Norris hopes for a full Student Senate, according to an Oct. 12 news post on

Students should be jumping at the chance to get involved. Many on campus probably don’t pay much attention to student government, but getting students involved and keeping them informed can be difficult, especially when the organization is short-staffed.

The problem is that student will be hard to reach if they aren’t generally engaged on campus. Students should be involved in the SGA and the issues on campus that affect them, but that might not happen if the SGA isn’t able to effectively communicate its mission to the student body.

Students can attend SGA meetings every Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the fourth floor loft at the 916 S. Wabash Ave. Building or apply for an open senate seat on Columbia’s website. There are open seats for students in the Art & Design, ASL-English Interpretation, Audio Arts & Acoustics, Dance, Education, Humanities, History & Social Sciences, Interactive Arts & Media, Marketing Communication, Music, Photography, Radio, Science & Mathematics and Theatre departments, as well as open positions for graduate students and members of the student body at large.