We’re more than halfway through the semester and we’ve seen that the Student Government Association (SGA) has thus far had a lackluster approach to solving the university’s plethora of issues. They have sworn in several senators and ushered in new freshmen liaisons, but their biweekly meetings still fall short in attempting to be productive and solve the many issues affecting the student body.
At the first meeting held by SGA this year, one representative said they would work to address smoking on campus, an issue that the past six administrations also failed to tackle head-on. At every subsequent meeting, a common motif of dodging the issue has circulated among the senators’ addresses and committee updates. They claim to have spoken to several university officials, but the student body is still left helplessly waiting for tangible results.
Transportation and an apparent lack of Panther Express shuttles was one of the major topics discussed prior to the completion of the Courtland Street Bridge project. The issue was addressed by a couple of senators and a queue system was eventually implemented at the Blue Lot at Georgia State Stadium. However, the issue quickly resolved itself after the bridge was completed, and students have seldom complained since.
Sen. Jessica Siemer is currently leading an initiative with the Office of Sustainability to roll out reusable takeout containers. So far, other than several already-scheduled events such as Constituency Day, Siemer’s initiative is one of the few projects that has a clear goal and path to attain it.
SGA is seemingly running on autopilot: The senate votes “yes” or “no,” almost always unanimously (unless it’s for their own $5,000 polos, as seen at the first university-wide senate meeting), on routine issues and shows up to school spirit events that struggle to bolster a student culture or even impact students, other than the occasional free candy and water handouts.
Whenever the senators are asked to sign up for committees, there’s often a long silence followed by one or two senators seemingly reluctantly raising their hand to volunteer for a position. Some of these senators have held SGA positions for over a year, and it’s disappointing to see such a lack of enthusiasm within them.
This culture of nonparticipation is what leads to students lacking faith in their leaders. If nothing is being done, and senators continue to be unenthusiastic about participating, then what’s the point of the biweekly meetings?
Our school elected the majority of the senators, and to say that they operate fully in service to Georgia State’s students (which they’ve proclaimed several times) would be a lie. We ask that they reach students more and be more involved in bettering the college experience for Panthers at all of our campuses.
As we move closer to the end of the semester, we hope that we will not be left wondering what SGA has done for us. When the debates kick off next semester prior to the election, we hope that we will be able to vote not based on popularity but on fulfilled campaign promises and the promise of progress for next year.