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Press Clipping: Student Government officials discuss rebranding tactics

Student Government officials discuss rebranding tactics

September 10, 2014 - 11:06pm

By Nicholas Laughlin

Student Government (SG) is attempting to repair its reputation on campus after a negative evaluation from an outside consultant last spring.

Formerly known as Associated Student Government, the organization dropped ‘associated’ from its name following an evaluation from W.H. “Butch” Oxendine Jr., executive director of the American Student Government Association (ASGA). Oxendine came to the university to determine how ASG was operating. A number of changes were made after his report.

The number of senate seats was reduced, and a new constitution was written in hopes of adding more programming for the student body.

“The report was a rude awakening,” said Tiffany Young, student body president. “It was extremely brutally honest. It was a lot of stuff that we were aware of, but it was definitely hard to read.”

The report that the ASGA put out was “extremely helpful” and was a great document to reference back to during the restructuring process, Young said.

“We are working on it,” said Chief Justice Cody DeSalvo. “We will never be complete with working on the organization.”

Student Government rewrote its constitution to make the rules more succinct.

“We had rules in a lot of places,” DeSalvo said.

Senate terms are shorter, and the number of senators has decreased to make SG more effective. The first meeting of the fall went well, said Christian Carlson, senate pro tempore. This year the SG senate has many new senators who haven’t been a part of student government before, he said.

“We have taken the advice of the consultant who came down, and we have definitely changed things,” Carlson said. “With all these new incoming senators, it’s very eye-opening to them.”

Since decreasing the size of the senate, SG has tried to diversify the senators to hopefully make the chamber more effective than before, Carlson said.

“We don’t want people that are here for resume builders,” Young said. “We really want to make sure that students are here to do their job.”

Part of the rebranding was dropping ‘Associated’ from the organization’s title.

“Everyone abbreviated it to ‘ASG,’ and no one really knew what that meant,” Young said.

The new name change will hopefully make the organization stronger, Young said.

“It’s more blatant as to who we are,” Carlson said.

SG has plans in place to rebrand its new role on campus by updating its logo and seal, revamping the website and mission statement and recreating how it is seen on social media, Young said.

Advocacy, service, democracy, leadership and integrity are the core values or “pillars” of SG, Young said.

The ASGA included a question as to how SG knew what the student body wanted because it was not surveyed.

“It was a really great point that they made,” Young said.

SG was not taking the opinions of the student body into consideration before the evaluation.

“We want to make sure that we are clear and credible and we are being that voice for students,” Young said.

Another complaint from the ASGA report was that all SG does is “sit in their office,” Young said.

“SG had a reputation of being better than everybody else” Carlson said.

SG wants to show that they are here for students to provide for them, DeSalvo said.

“We need to be in The Quad and provide (students) with services and programming,” DeSalvo said.

At every other campus, SG provides something for the student body, DeSalvo said. SG doesn’t do a lot of programming, Young said.

“We have the freshman tailgate, which was very successful at the Arkansas-Pine Bluff game, but we want to keep doing things like that,” Young said.

SG provides a scholarship to students, but it wants to find more things that can be provided to the student body, DeSalvo said.

 “I would like to see us do something for students,” DeSalvo said. “We are there to advocate with you, and we are there to give you what you need. Its something that is new for us. It should not be new, but it is.”

Since the school year is just starting and there are so many new members, visible “positive change” will happen down the road for students, DeSalvo said.

“There will be results that everyone can see, but the other part of it is being more approaching and have a relationship with the student body,” Carlson said. “Then that makes us more relevant.”