This semester Texas Wesleyan’s Student Government Association is making several changes, including bringing back a contest for organizations to win money for attending general business meetings.
“My major goal is that majority of the student body knows who SGA is, what our mission is and all the resources we provide,” SGA President Zahraa Saheb said.
Saheb said she authored the bill and it became effective Feb. 9. The legislation states that it will reward university recognized organizations who attend the most meetings.
Three hundred dollars will be given for first place, $250 for second, $200 for third, $150 for fourth, and $100 for fifth, according to the bill. Organizations must be in “good standing” with the university and participants must sign in, stay for at least 30 minutes unless excused and attend at least five meetings to be eligible.
“The money is really just an incentive for them to come to our meetings,” Saheb said. “Really the purpose of it is for them to be in the meetings, learn about their representatives (and) watch how the meeting is run.”
The program is being brought back to SGA after not being offered for several semesters. Saheb said she wanted to bring it back because it is a great program.
“In the past, the vice president has been the one to have this program and last year under my administration, the vice president did not like the idea, so it was never brought to the floor,” she said, “although it was something I disagreed with back then and pushed to have it back on the floor (now).”
Secretary Alison Baron, a sophomore theater major, said she heard from former SGA members that when the program was in place in the past it was effective in bringing students to the meetings.
“From what I heard, back in the day, they had to keep the door open because they ran out of seats,” Baron said. “There were so many people involved in SGA and they wanted to be here.”
Psi Chi Vice President Angel Wren, a junior psychology major, is participating in the program. She said the organization could use money could help Psi Chi fund events that they plan like “Maximize Your Major.”
“We bring in presenters to talk about things related to psychology,” Wren said. “We usually bring in places like ‘Warm Safe Place.’ That money would help us with funding those events and also with donating to those places, too.”
When SGA had this program a few semesters back, Wren said, she originally attended for the funding, but she became interested in SGA and how they make decisions.
“I think Zahraa is a really good president, and I think she is doing a really good job. I am actually glad that she is the SGA president,” she said. “I think she knows what she is doing and the vice president, Alyssa, she seems really dedicated and like she knows what she is doing, too. I am hoping that it will go well this semester.”
There is also a change in the SGA positions this semester. Five new members have joined SGA and Vice President Alyssa Hutchinson, a sophomore psychology and biology major, said that compared to last semester, SGA now has a stronger team dynamic.
“We have a lot of new reps,” Hutchinson said. “Over half the governing body has been moved around, but I think it has been good.”
Kendyl Lopez, a senior business management major, is one of the new members of SGA and she serves as the School of Business representative.
“I act as a liaison for the students in the School of Business. Basically anything they want to see happen I bring it to SGA and see if it is something that is even possible, or we try to get funding for certain events,” Lopez said.
Lopez said she decided to join SGA to become more involved and to learn skills she can use later in her career.
“I really have enjoyed the experience of getting to watch how things operate around the school that I didn’t necessarily know like all this work went into and working with such a diverse group of people has been really awesome too,” she said.
Freshman political science major Nicholas Davis joined SGA last semester as a freshman representative and is now serving as treasurer.
“I really enjoy the job,” Davis said. “There was lot that needed to be changed when I got in, but I am working really proactively to make change and get students’ input in terms of honorariums and ways that we can actually give back to the community.”
As well as working on honorariums, Davis said he is “wanting to look at the budget, make sure that the budget is proper, we are allocating what we allocate and things of that particular nature and really just changing the treasurer position to be a proactive position that is working towards looking at different things like stipend structures, looking at where are money is going and being very diligent in that.”
Baron said she is working to improve SGA’s paperwork.
“(In) the paperwork a lot has been changing,” she said. “Not changing as in making it different, but making it more solid because when I came in at the beginning of the year, a lot of the reports we were submitting didn’t have a solid way to send it, so we made templates for that. I have been working with President Zahraa to make templates for everything because at the end of the year, all of our work goes into an archive, which are in the library. It has all of our bills, all of our reports, like everything from that year.”
Baron hopes to increase SGA’s awareness as well this semester.
“I have heard stories from other representatives, other people who have been in SGA from years past, and they were really big on campus,” she said. “Looking at it this year, it is not as big, like people don’t know that we made the bonfires out there near Stella. They don’t know that the Ram statue is us.”
Baron said she wants students to remember SGA.
“I hope throughout this next semester we keep rocking and rolling and making SGA great,” she said.