On November 12th, roughly 50 Georgia State students, all immaculately dressed, gathered in Dahlberg Hall. All of them were representatives of some of the many student organizations around the university.
Everything from greek life to professional organizations to student media gathered under the same roof at the request of the Student Government Association.
Once all of the representatives had arrived, SGA’s Speaker of the Atlanta Senate Ira Livnat, came up to the podium to officially announce a new organization he would be launching and why they were all brought together. The United Student Organizations is a collaborative organization designed to promote shared efforts between the nearly 500 student organizations on every Georgia State campus.
This initiative will serve as a governing body that facilitates communication between student organizations to achieve things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. One way in which this would manifest itself is in the act of co-sponsoring events. In an interview with The Signal, Livnat explained this practice.
“When you have an event, you’re gonna come to the USO and you’re gonna pitch it, and other organizations that want to collaborate they [can],’” Livnat said.
“Then, SGA is going to say, “Oh, we love that we’ll pay for half of it so that you’re only paying 25%, the other organization’s paying 25% we’re paying 50%.” That allows you to have more events.”
Livnat would also explain to the attending student organizations that the USO would meet no less than three times a year.
Each organization would elect an ambassador to attend these meetings to lay out its struggles and needs. The USO can then help coordinate efforts so that each group can get what they want.
In Livnat’s opening remarks, he stated that the USO had been his brainchild for many years. He shared anecdotes and expressed times where he saw organizations struggling to stay afloat, times he believed a united body could have been invaluable.
Livnat would close his initial speech by introducing the Dean of Students, the Vice-President of Student Engagement and a supporter of the USO, Dr. Micheal Sanseviro. Sanseviro, a Georgia State alum himself, explained how uniting under an organization like the USO would have lasting positive impacts.
During his address, when talking about those impacts, Sanseviro said, “Part of the importance of the seeds you are planting today is that the tree that grows from those seeds is what’s going to provide the shade for future generations, and there will be legacies that will be left. Whether people remember or not specifically who first had an idea is less important than the fact that you’re creating change and that you’re creating a culture.” Sanseviro would also go on to share some poignant remarks about Georgia State and how it was in his opinion, long overdue for an organization like the USO.
“Speaking of change, I will tell you because I also like to be very upfront and blunt about a lot of things. It is time for change at Georgia State. I will repeat that again. It is time for change at Georgia State,” Sanseviro said.
“There are some things when I returned here in December of 2019 that were pretty much the way they were when I left in May of 1999. Some things [have] been the same way as they have been the ten or 20 years before I got here on this campus.” Sanseviro added. “As much as there’s this great growth and progress, there are also some things that just are not sustainable.”
The meeting would conclude with every student organization in attendance signing the founding document of the USO. According to Livnat, this “constitution” will be immortalized and proudly displayed in the SGA office on the second floor of Student Center West.
While the USO is still in its infancy, we can expect to see its impacts in the spring semester and for years to come.