As you may be able to tell since my name is listed right above, my name is Elina Tuder. I’m a freshman. Coming into college, I knew I wanted to remain as involved in extracurricular activities as I was in high school, so I decided to run for a freshman senator position in the Student Government Association (SGA) to help make meaningful change on campus.
Over the years, the SGA has evolved into much more than just a budgeting committee. It serves to represent the interests of the student body and to enhance each student’s experience at Stevens. I, along with other members of the SGA, recognize that the Student Government’s presence needs to be greater, and with this column, I hope to keep you updated on what we’re doing in the SGA.
Currently, the SGA has eight standing committees. Though I was recently elected, I have been able to witness their initiatives this semester. Academic and Curriculum Advancement Committee (ACA) focuses on receiving student feedback and strives to improve various curriculum-based issues, such as math and physics recitations. Yes, you and I are not the only ones who have gone to recitation and thought, “Why is this impossible?” and “How will this help me on the test?” ACA surveyed students for statistical evidence of the discontent and, boy, were people unhappy. On a 1 to 5 scale, students rated each recitation’s effectiveness. Math workshop scored a 2.66, math recitation scored a 2.85, and physics recitation scored a 2.33. Following the survey, ACA drafted a proclamation which was unanimously supported by the Senate, leading to meetings between the administration, the SGA Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the chair of ACA, in order to improve these recitations for the spring semester. As a result, TAs will now be observed in classrooms to ensure that they are engaging with the students, and they will explain the relevance of problems in workshops. Although I will be done with Calculus this semester, assuming I do well on the MA 124 final, I am glad that future students will have a better Calculus experience.
Another initiative that I am very excited about is extended library hours. As students expressed interest in a 24/7-hour library, Campus Life Committee (CLC) was able to get the 24/7-hour library finals period to start on Dec. 4, a whole week earlier than years before. Here’s to even more all-nighters! Furthermore, there will be a pilot program next semester to have the library stay open until 3 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Instead of being politely kicked out of the closing library at 2 a.m., I will now be asked to leave at 3.
Finally, another change that was spearheaded this semester was expanding Student Health Center Hours. Thanks to living in a dorm and being exposed to copious amounts of new germs, coupled with “freshman plague,” I have already had the pleasure of visiting the Health Center at least three times. However, with the limited clinician hours, I was wilting away in bed and waiting for the clinician’s hours to start so that they could confirm that I was, in fact, not dying. Fortunately, Health and Wellness Committee recognized this issue and, due to successful communication with the administration, starting Dec. 4 the Health Center will have a clinician 25 hours per week as opposed to the current 15 hours, so there will be a much more convenient window to figure out if a plague is just another cold.
Changes like these are a reflection of why I wanted to join the SGA. As students brought up what was making them unhappy, the SGA collaborated with Stevens administrators to provide solutions to the issues, thus enhancing the experience of Stevens students.
There are many more initiatives that the SGA and its committees worked on this semester, but including them all along with passed proclamations in this piece would warrant enough material for an essay. So, if you want to learn more, you can go on the SGA’s DuckLink page, or feel free to contact me or any other SGA official!
Although the SGA does its best to know what is going on around campus, your Student Government can never be fully aware of every single problem you are having or change you want to see if you never say anything about it. So please contact your senators, and they will try their very best to help you and improve your experience at Stevens. SGA meetings take place Sundays at 7 p.m. in Babbio 122 and are open to all members of the student body. At the meetings, we provide two times for students to address the Senate. You can come speak to everyone at that time as well, or just come to see what’s happening — we’d be happy to have you!