In its official capacity, the Student Government Association stands to “provide for the general welfare of the Student Body” and “govern the Student Body, and represent its interest”. Essentially the SGA is the backbone of the Steven’s student body, but to most students its actual job may be not as clear as it should be.
The SGA’s job in a nutshell is to act as an advocating body for students. It bridges the gap between Steven’s administration and Steven’s students, ensuring student interests are made apparent to the administration and provide insight from the administration to students. It works with the students, the faculty, and the administration to come to solutions on a wide range of problems ranging from water fountains, to the overall plan and direction of Stevens. In the words of SGA President Thomas Daly, “The SGA make strides for the students to ensure their voice is heard and that their education and student experience is the best it possibly can be.”
After understanding what it is responsible for, it becomes safe to assume that there is always a lot going on within the confines of the SGA. Compared to other groups and organisations on campus, the SGA has way more on their plates, perpetually. Just last weekend, it passed a proclamation to urge the Office of Residence Life to repeal recent changes in the SLH dining plan policy. The Gender Neutral Housing Committee, an entity run by the SGA, also passed a proclamation to petition the administration to reserve portions of housing for optional multi-gender cohabitation. Daly himself, recently spearheaded the creation of “The Presidents Council”, a council that brings together the various governing bodies of Stevens such as SAAC, MGC, Women’s Programs, and IFC, to name a few. Daly believes this can help improve communication among these bodies, and foster collaborative problem solving.
At the end of last semester, there were two massive changes that occurred within the SGA. The first was the addition of the position of Vice President of Academic Affairs to the [SGA] Cabinet. This new position allows the SGA to help students to take control of their education and improve its value. The other change was the restructuring of the budget committee, by introducing Members at Large who look at budgets holistically rather than from the perspective of specific subcommittees.
“The SGA and the community at large is constantly making strides to improve the student experience. Some of our goals with school pride include creating fun and meaningful campus traditions, improving student-faculty relations, and making sure the school’s curriculum and student life is centered around the students,” Daly commented when asked about the more long term goals of the SGA. “Many of us believe that it is important for students to take pride in their institution, but of course to take pride in your institution you need to be proud of your institution.”
As the President, it is on Daly’s shoulders to oversee the Cabinet and set the vision and general path of the Student Government Association. “As President I am expected to have a high level understanding of pretty much all that is going on. Its somewhat intimidating, but its also really cool to have my finger on the pulse of the campus,” he says.
The SGA has a very exciting event in the works right now, called Stevens for Solidarity. Soindos Abdah, Vice President of Student Interests is working with many student organizations to bring students together, for unification and for providing a safe space for all.