SGA seeks closer community for organizations

Organizations United (OU), a new bill passed by the Student Government Association on March 13, will foster greater community between student organizations.

“This bill was created so that student organizations can have a central place to come together and talk about that which they are doing, program together, work together, talk about co-sponsorships, and things of [that] sort, as well as bring the campus together,” Whyte said.

According to SGA President Andrew Whyte, Georgia State previously did not have a central location of communication for its student organizations. The organizations on campus operated as separate entities.

OU is now an official part of SGA and has its own committee within the organization.

OU committee meetings began in the Fall 2013 semester. During that semester there were two meetings where leaders of student organizations at Georgia State met physically with members of the SGA executive board and other organizations over lunch to discuss a range of topics and issues.

Presidents of student organizations are invited to attend the meetings via email.

“We sit down and talk about how Georgia State operates from each entity’s perspectives, and how we can make it better,” Whyte said. “One of the things that we talked about is increasing panther pride at Georgia State and creating a Georgia State community.”

He also noted that this gives the presidents of different organizations an opportunity to promote themselves and talk about the things they are doing on and off campus with which other people can get involved.

Lanier Henson, SGA vice president of Student Services, said that the number of student organizations present at the OU meetings have been increasing since the first meeting.

“At the first OU meeting, we had about 15 or 20 [organizations attend], but it’s getting bigger and bigger as word gets out,” Henson said.

According to Henson, attendance was poor due to the initial trouble communicating with organizations. Henson said organizations did not respond to his emails, which included information about the meeting and discussion points. Henson thinks this may have been due to them not checking their emails or him not having the accurate email account information.

Henson also said that in addition to sending out emails, he personally invites other organizations around campus. When he tells one organization about OU, that organization in turn tells other organizations that they may interact with about it. This causes the organizations to continue to spread the word and increase attendance in OU meetings, as well as update the organization contact list.

The most recent OU meeting was on Mar. 5. According to Henson, about 30 organizations attended.

“[The organizations that were in attendance] ranged from the Student Athlete Advisory [Council] (SAAC) all the way to pre-medical and Kappa Sig,” Henson said. “The 50 [organizations] that we have are very diverse.”

According to Henson, there will be two OU meetings each semester: one in the beginning and one at the end.

“In one of [the meetings] we will talk about things that we want to do, and the other one will be [about] what we did, what we did wrong and how do we fix it,and what we are going to do [the] next semester,” Henson said. “Those are the minimum meeting requirements.”

Henson also said that the meetings allow different opinions on issues that the student body has at Georgia State to be discussed.

President Whyte said OU is something that he wants to continue as a part of his legacy at SGA.

“When you do something like this OU, you are giving back [to students and the University] in a different way,” he said.