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Press Clipping: SGA faces new challenges This article from The Maroon at Loyola University New Orleansmentions the American Student Government Association.
SGA faces new challenges By Lucy Dieckhaus
The Student Government Association gavel has been passed from Khaled Badr to Jasmine Barnes. But now that the ceremony is over, the question turns to how leadership is going to form the organization.
Although Loyola’s student government has moved into a new year with new leadership, the organization is still facing challenges such as a fragmented constitution, empty senate seats and some disengaged senators.
One challenge the organization will face in the future is leaving potential assets untapped.
According to Jerry Goolsby, director of the Loyola MBA program, “The way the human spirit works is that people get emotionally attached to causes and when people get emotionally attached to a cause they participate,” Goolsby said.
Without the “emotional attachment” people may not feel the need to participate, Goolsby said. Goolsby raised the question on the reason behind why people participate.
“Why do people not participate? It’s because they’re not part of anything,” Goolsby said.
Another challenge SGA will face in the future is the way they will set the tone for the umbrella of organizations underneath them.
Salvadore Liberto, vice president for enrollment management and associate provost, said he believes “a great leader is someone who inspires others, I think to be better.”
For change to happen, students have to be involved, Heather Roundtree, director of co-curricular programs and the Danna Center, said.
One example of how leadership can be seen throughout Loyola is with the current provost promoting a discussion about student success, Liberto said.
“The current provost getting together the entire Loyola community to talk about student success, and thinking about student success as everybody’s business on the campus including students,” Liberto said.
Student Government Association can drift directionally if leadership is substituted in other ways. “The mission, the vision, the values sets the direction,” Goolsby said.
It is important to focus on the overall mission, Roundtree said.
“In terms of aligning our mission with leadership I think that’s something we really believe,” Roundtree said. “You can substitute just about anything else in the organization but you can’t substitute leadership. There is no substitute,” Goolsby said. Goolsby explained the difference between leaders and leadership.
“Leadership is different than leaders,” Goolsby said. Leadership can be present at every level of every organization, Goolsby said. Some of the ways SGA have promoted leadership among their members is by attending retreats and conferences, said Roundtree. One of the timeliest challenges SGA is currently facing is the transitional period between current administration leaders. Roundtree said, she believes one area SGA and other organizations can improve on is the lessening the change that happens during the shift of administrations from one year to another.
“Continue to improve the sharing of information of what happened the previous year,” Roundtree said. During the past administration, SGA has used causes and issues as rallying points.
Roundtree said she believes leadership was present among the SGA executives this past year through the use of student money. “This year we have seen more tangible examples of SGA in terms of their contribution through student fees,” Roundtree said. “Everything from the bike racks to the hydration stations to let the student body know what is it are we contributing to, what is it are we doing.” Daniel Maxwell, American Student Government Association expert, said he does not believe SGA’s purpose is to purchase food or to plan events.
“The purpose of the student government is to provide a voice for the students and to create a kind of shared government with the university,” Maxwell said. “The student government should be concerned with hosting and publicizing multiple public for a that allow students to be heard. Even if every student doesn’t know who they are, most of them should. They’re responsible for the students, for keeping the students informed.”
Goolsby raises the question about what the purpose of the university is. “What is the purpose of the university? To have great hot dogs over in the Danna Center, is that the purpose of the university? No, the purpose of the university is for you to leave here a lot different than when you came in. That never came up,” Goolsby said.
Goolsby said that he did not know much about Loyola’s SGA; however, he said that he does not believe this is an isolated problem.
“But my sense of it is that it is a symptom of a much larger problem,” Goolsby said.
ASGA's MISSION STATEMENT:
The American Student Government Association will provide all Student Government leaders and advisors nationwide with networking, research, and information resources and will teach them how to become more effective, ethical, and influential leaders on their campuses. ASGA also will promote the advancement of SGs, conduct research as the nation’s only “SG Think Tank,” and advocate the importance of having a vibrant, autonomous Student Government organization at every institution in America.