SG to join the American Student Government Association
March 19, 2008
Future SG elections may employ electronic ballot
The Student Government (SG) voted before the spring break to join the American Student Government Association (ASGA). The SG might use the information and connections ASGA offers to attend conferences and seminars in the US, and implement electronic voting in future Senate elections.
“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,” reads the mission statement of the ASGA. The association provides an online resource database meant to help senators deal with various issues, such as student participation.
The initiative of joining the association belongs to SG senators Maria Droganova and Vadim Marasanov. “It was one of our goals [during the SG electoral campaign],” said Marasanov. Becoming a part of the ASGA will promote AUBG, connect it to other universities, and offer our SG the possibility to learn from the experience of other student governments, Droganova said.
“We [senators] are working hard, [but] we sometimes lack information [and] knowledge,” said Marasanov. “We realized that we can be more efficient [by joining ASGA].” Marasanov said he hopes the association will provide ideas on how to address issues like boosting student participation, increasing voter turnout in SG elections, and introducing electronic ballot.
“We applied and […] we expect that in a day or two we will be a full member of the Association of Student Governments,” said Marasanov. The membership, valid for one calendar year, will connect AUBG to the 672 student governments of other American universities which had already joined ASGA. The SG covered the membership fee of $297 from the contingency account.
“I think [the utility of joining the ASGA] depends entirely on how much the students who belong to the SG actually use the information that is available on the web page,” said Dean of Students Lydia Krise. “If they use all of the information […] available to them, then yes, it will be very useful.”
“ASGA is […] an association of student governments that does not necessarily help student governments solve their issues, but it gives them advice on how to operate better,” said SG President Nikola Tomic. The association cannot provide specific instructions on how to handle a certain situation because AUBG is unique, Tomic added.
Marasanov said senators may attend conferences and seminars organized by the ASGA in the United States, but at the moment the SG does not have a budget big enough to allow such ventures. Students, as well as senators, can rely on the university Travel Fund if they wish to participate in any event abroad, he added.
“[The SG] sent a senator to leadership training a long time ago - he graduated 3 years ago,” said Krise. “He did some leadership training when he came back, it helped him, but I am not sure how it helped everybody else.”