SGA aims for new direction

| Marcus Clem reporter |

Students can be active about causes or ideas, but in the end, about 40 of them serve as the voice for all their peers to the people in power over Pittsburg State.
The senators, president and vice president of the Student Government Association are elected every April. Cabinet officers and judicial board members, appointed by the president with the Senate’s consent, help run and regulate the assembly.
Its last election did not pass without incident.
“It didn’t get a whole lot of attention until the very end, when everything went haywire,” said Sen. Ashton Halda, junior in accounting. “It was kind of silly and ridiculous.”
Two parties of candidates, Letner/Hebrlee and Gorilla Alliance, squared off for weeks in a campaign that saw heated arguments in person and bickering on social media and other domains.
Eventually, Gorilla Alliance, led by Jordan Schaper and Jaci Gilchrist, won a majority of the Senate and the presidency. Their new governing cabinet now aims for reconciliation and a reformed SGA.
“That was just what I’d call a phase,” said Kyle Hostetler, SGA public relations director and junior in graphic design and marketing. “It’s all done. The only place to go from here is up. Both parties recognize that any beefs will be addressed, but nobody really has one.”
Consensus will be necessary for key decisions that will come in this next year. That includes allocations to student clubs, which will compensate clubs that demonstrate the need for their expenses.
Various organizations and petitions for SGA’s support, mainly through funding allocations, will be considered.
The big decisions come in spring with student fee recommendations. Fierce debate over the financial burden on students in a time of ever-increasing education costs is to be expected.
“The past few years, people have seen SGA as a big joke,” said Sen. Kristina Adams, junior in family and consumer sciences. “There has been some controversy within the organization. Our goal is to not let that happen, because it is a serious organization.”
Cabinet officer and committees of senators will have their own projects, and Schaper has primary responsibility as a liaison between the university and the students, as well as the students and the state government in Topeka.
Key to all of these things, Hostetler says, is student participation. SGA’s weekly meetings have a dedicated student-opinion time, allowing any student to speak on the floor about their concerns.
It is rarely used, and he says SGA is sometimes challenged to get any feedback at all. Raising awareness and bumping up involvement will be a key goal for him.
“People have plenty of other concerns or distractions,” Hostetler said. “Even though students don’t participate as much as they could, I feel that SGA is an asset to our university.”

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