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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) - SGA President, 04-05
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Accomplishments Category: Implementing/improving electronic communication methods, Speaking regularly to Board of Trustees
Accomplishments Details:
1. Implementing/improving electronic communication methods

The SG has identified communication as an invaluable tool necessary to facilitate the effective operation of the organization. To fulfill this need, two director positions have been established to assist the Executive Board: Director of External Affairs and Director of Internal Affairs. The primary objective of the Director of External Affairs is to maintain healthy relationships and open dialogue/communication with publics external to the immediate Embry-Riddle community such as ASGA and other Student Governments. The primary function of the Director of Internal Affairs is to facilitate communication within Student Government, between its branches and divisions, and to disseminate information to the student body in an overall attempt to better relations with various SGA publics. The Director of Internal Affairs chairs the SGA Communications Committee, which is comprised of one representative from each branch and division, with the exception that three Representatives are included from the SRB. This committee has met regularly to discuss SG business and to inform all parties of upcoming events and issues being dealt with. Committee members have written articles for the Avion, and have also developed a newsletter that will be distributed bi-weekly beginning in the spring. The Director of External Affairs has developed and is maintaining a functional website that suits the needs of Student Government. The website includes meeting times, locations and minutes as well as a section devoted to alumni. Officer position descriptions, pictures and personal biographies have also been included. The content of the site is designed to generate traffic both online and in the SGA office. For example, students can fill out a request for a SafeRide card, and obtain the card from the office. Clubs and organizations can submit budget request packets online, and then meet with the Finance Board to review submissions. Soon, a weekly poll will be posted and a forum will be hosted allowing SG officials to monitor the chatter of the student body. The website has been given an easy-to-remember address and also a prominent location on the main Embry-Riddle website.

2. Speaking regularly to Board of Trustees

An accomplishment of this administration is the establishment of a strong student voice and credible SG where the campus administrators respect the student leadership and actively solicit feedback and input. A strong student voice is derived from trust and respect from the university administration as well as the support of the student body. If the administration approaches the students prior to making a decision, student leadership can offer input and affect the outcome of the decision. This is much easier than fighting a decision after it is made. The student voice at Embry-Riddle is identified by the fact that students serve on almost all university-level committees, and are actively involved in shaping university policy and decisions. For example, SG officials are consulted regularly regarding Information Technology needs, Parking and Traffic issues, and Dining Services concerns. The SG President maintains regular communication with several members of the Board of Trustees. This is done through correspondence, telephone conversations, and the occasional lunch meeting or visit to campus. Trustees often call the SG President's cell phone in search of the student pulse or insight into campus activities. Each semester, the SG President submits a report to the Board of Trustees detailing student concerns and the accomplishments of Student Government. In addition, the SG President presents to the Board during the Student Life Committee meeting. The strength of the ERAU student voice is further evident in the office space that SG occupies and in the freedom enjoyed by SG officials with respect to budgeting and day-to-day operations. A strong student voice is not tangible and hard to identify or prove. While it is difficult to document each instance when an administrator has asked for student input, the Embry-Riddle SGA argues that it has a great working relationship with the administration. Ultimately, this working relationship allows for a strong student voice  just ask the Chancellor or Associate Chancellor what they think.

3. Developing the strategy to move the organization forward

Developing the strategy to move the organization forward is of paramount importance. Strategic planning is not a one-time occurrence, but rather, an ongoing process by which SGA will continually adapt the plan to accommodate changes as directed by student input, obstacles or even failure. This summer, a committee developed appropriate mission and vision statements that reflect the purpose of the Student Government Association. The strategic plan was then built in accordance with the mission and vision of the organization. The plan was formulated from the work of several roundtable discussions where SG strengths, weaknesses, values, goals and objectives were identified. Each idea was reviewed, discussed and prioritized. These efforts are already producing dividends in terms of providing a more defined vision giving direction for the year. The document can be found under SG documents.
Goals Details:
1. SafeRide

As the premier service that Student Government offers the student body, it is essential to assess SafeRide and continually address student concerns as well as find a more effective means of administering this program. Throughout the fall semester, the SGA has been analyzing SafeRide by encouraging SG officials to use the program and review the service. Additionally, SG executives have been meeting regularly with all levels of university officials. As a result of these meetings, the university has issued a RFP to solicit bids for the contract. The proposals will be evaluated, and a vendor will be selected no later than December 8, 2004. Over the holiday break, the program will undergo an extensive overhaul, whereby the new vendor is situated, new cards are produced and issued, and a detailed letter is written to the student body. The letter will include the reasons behind the overhaul, and also communicate the guidelines of the program. With the support of campus administration, a process has been developed that will enable the SGA to better track usage and eliminate abuse. For the spring semester, that process will include a database that will be housed at the headquarters of the cab company. The database will automatically time-stamp entries received via radio transmission, and will contain information such as student ID number, pick-up and drop-off locations as well as any other pertinent data. The implementation of hand-held devices capable of reading Eagle Cards is targeted for the fall semester. This will virtually eliminate fraud and ensure accurate invoicing. By converting the data into electronic format, the SG will be able to readily produce data necessary to justify sponsorships or to simply better understand the usage.

2. Bookstore

Across the nation, many public and private university bookstores are owned and operated by Student Governments. The SG Executive Board is working closely with upper-level administrators to explore the idea of vying for the ERAU Bookstore contract. The contract will become available in May 2006, and a comprehensive feasibility study is expected to be completed before the university issues the bookstore RFP to the public. The intent is to deliver lower costs to the student by reducing profit margins but to also diversify SGA revenue streams so as to provide more flexibility with respect to finances. The funds may find application in various areas of student life. For example, the extra revenue could augment the programming budget, enabling Touch-N-Go to secure big-name acts. Additionally, a portion of the money could be directed towards the construction of a true Student Union. A student-run bookstore where earnings support student initiatives may encourage more students to use the on-campus resource rather than turning to online sources. Also, sales of Embry-Riddle merchandise may increase as student and alumni confidence is restored in the university bookstore. Overall, this is an incredible opportunity for Student Government to strengthen its position on campus and to also broaden the services it offers the student body.

3. SG Strategic Plan

The SG Strategic Plan details the goals and objectives for the Executive Board, Student Representative Board, Student Finance Board and the Student Court. What follows is an executive summary of the major objectives. The SGA at Daytona Beach is committed to strengthening our student voice in administrative decisions. All accomplishments aside, a strong student voice is the underpinning of a well-represented student body. As a growing campus, it is essential that the SGA has input in the planning and construction of new facilities as well as the renovation of existing facilities. The SGA President will represent the students' interests on the Wellness Center Committee and Student Union Committee. The idea of implementing a Student Union Fee will be explored. Also, an effort will be made to educate the campus community and Board of Trustees as to the definition of a true Student Union. Under a fixed tuition plan, the university makes a pledge to the student and his/her family that annual tuition increases will not increase more than the Consumer Price Index for that year. The CPI averages to be about three percent annually. Fixed/guaranteed tuition plans allow for certainty in financing an education, and in fact, many state legislators are mandating that public schools adopt this policy. The SGA feels that Embry-Riddle should adopt this policy. As the Chair of the ICUF Student Alliance, the Embry-Riddle SGA should ensure further strengthening of The Alliance by enhancing communication, clarifying purpose and establishing a permanent residence for the organization so as to ensure longevity once current leadership has moved on. The ASGA will be pursued to help with this endeavor. In response to the overwhelming interest first-year students have expressed in Student Government, Task Force One was established last year. It is designed to introduce these students to SGA and expose them to leadership opportunities across campus. The SGA President shall continue to develop and cultivate this group. For more information, please reference the unabridged strategic plan.
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