By Megan Senseney
(Webster Groves, Feb. 4, 2010) Once every semester, the Student Government Association (SGA) sends out a survey by email asking students to express all of their concerns about life on campus.
For the past 12 years, the Officer’s Summit and Delegate’s Agenda have been a way for students to voice their opinion about common issues and seek solutions.
Before the Officer’s Summit, SGA members sift through student surveys and prioritize the issues, ranking them in the perceived order of importance. All of the issues are then presented to students at Officer’s Summit, where they vote one last time for their top issues.
“All of the issues go on a board, and every student gets five stickers,” said Dana Gruber, director of public relations for SGA. “They walk up and put their stickers on the issues that are most important to them.”
Justin Raymundo, president of SGA, said that for the past summits he has focused on student populations that are typically overlooked.
“We really wanted feedback from transfer students, first semester freshmen and non-traditional students who only come for night classes,” Raymundo said. “They tend the be less involved on campus and sometimes can’t be on campus when the regular summit is.”
For these students, SGA formed a program called ‘What’s Yo Problem?’ Last semester, a separate voting was held during night classes so that students who aren’t on campus during the day could vote without being inconvenienced.
“These students may not be as involved as others, but it’s still SGA’s job to reach out to them and get their opinion,” Raymundo said.
After students vote, the five issues with the most votes are presented to President Stroble and administrators during Delegate’s Agenda. Presenters, selected at the Advanced Leader’s Retreat, receive one of the five topics, research it and then give a presentation to clarify the issue and come up with ways to fix it. One month later, administrators respond to the possible solutions given.
John Ginsburg, director of student activities, said the process has evolved since it started 12 years ago.“It used to be more like a protest,” Ginsburg said. “Students would say, ‘This is what we want!’ and administrators would say, ‘Well, maybe.’ There had never been a response element before.”.
In past Officer’s Summits and Delegate’s Agendas, solutions have been found and applied for many of the issues students previously faced on campus. Extended library hours during finals, double majors being printed on diplomas, a crosswalk being made at Edgar Rd. and Garden Ave., and Marletto’s update have all been a result of these events.
The Officer’s Summit and Delegate’s Agenda are not just for SGA members to attend. Any interested student is encouraged to come vote at these events and share stories and ideas about all of the issues.
“Students need to be in the room so they can talk about their experiences with the issues,” Raymundo said. “The more students that are there to give context to the issue, the better the solution will be. This is really the best platform to make changes on campus.”
The Sunnen Lounge will accommodate the Officer’s Summit on Feb. 4 at 12 p.m. and the Delegate’s Agenda on March 3 at 3 p.m.