SGA postpones election, looks forward to spring semester
By Daria Sokolova
The cancellation of SGA elections, a “like” drive on Facebook and a new multicultural center were just a few torts of business that were discussed during the pre-holiday SGA meeting.
SGA President Joseph Knotts said the lack of candidates resulted in cancellation of the senate elections that were scheduled for the end of the fall semester. Knotts said SGA had already gotten two applications from Heller College of Business and now looks to get more requests during the final weeks of the semester.
“Dates for elections next semester have not yet been set but will be soon within the coming weeks in order to allow the Senate time to adequately prepare and advertise for them,” added SGA Vice President Daly Tongren.
Foundations of Excellence
Knotts encouraged SGA members to join Foundations of Excellence — a project guided by the Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education that is made up of nine committees: faculty, students, learning, diversity, roles and purposes, transitions, philosophy, organizations, and improvement.
Roosevelt University is one of 10 four-year universities to participate in the program over the 2013-2014 academic year with the purpose of creating a better environment for first-year students.
As Knotts said, the program currently has only 10 students serving on its committees while the faculty does the rest of the work.
“I would like to take it upon ourselves with the time we have left in the semester to see if we can ramp up direct student involvement,” Knotts said. “Right now most of the input from the student body is coming from the surveys. I think we really would like to see some more direct input from students by having them serve on those committees.”
According to the university’s website, Foundations of Excellence is primarily focused on self-study that is done by gathering data through various surveys and polls that exhibit the most important trends in academic experience from recruitment to enrollment.
The multicultural center proposed by Sen. Zaid McTabi and Sen.Tarek Amrouch was approved by Provost Doug Knerr.
“The multicultural center, or what we hope to call ‘The Center for Inclusive Excellence,’ will broadly focus on inclusivity of Roosevelt community members from all different walks of life,” explained SGA Trustee Chris Mich.
And while the project exists only on paper, Knotts said SGA has to make sure students know about the center and have “a sufficient vision” for what is going to be the next step toward bridging the gap between members of a diverse student body.
“The goals of this center are to create a safe zone place where students can go to learn more about the diversity of Roosevelt’s population,” Tongren said.
After SGA’s Facebook page didn’t get any likes during SGA week, Nov. 10-15, the Student Senate discussed some of the possible incentives that could help to garner more attention for SGA and bolster the overall student involvement in the organization.
Sen. Juliet Anderson from the Communications Committee suggested using an iPad mini as one of the giveaways that would be given to the to the winner of the raffle drawing.
Mich emphasized that getting “likes” is especially important, as events like SGA week help to spread awareness and better engage with the student body.
“The only reason we want to do a ‘like’ drive is because it makes communication ties between us and the student body a lot better,” Mich said. “There is no cost for us besides giving away [an] iPad mini. We don’t have to put up posters, we don’t have to put up flyers, and it seems like a lot of people are on Facebook.”
A plan to keep a few open slots for the incoming freshmen put forward by Sen. Gerald Hoselton sparked a heated debate among the members of student Senate.
As joining SGA requires 25 signatures, some senators expressed concerns over the potential pressure for those freshmen who may not feel comfortable asking people for signatures, which is seen as a “step toward integration” between the student body and members of student senate. While Sen. Victoria Ofenlock noted that some people aren’t comfortable approaching their fellow students to get signatures, SGA Treasurer Svjetlana Grbic said getting signatures from unfamiliar people is a surefire way to build relationships with the Roosevelt community.
“Getting time to sign signatures is like a way to say that you are capable of going out there and communicating with students,” Grbic said. “If you got terrified just being in front of your classmates in a safe environment, then you are not going to be that great of a benefit to SGA, because here you have to go out and talk to people.”
As senators were not able to reach consensus, Knotts proposed waiving signatures as one of the possible solutions before Hoselton puts the proposal in a bill format.
As more students show interests in disciplines outside their majors, SGA tried to come up with solutions for integrations between colleges. One of the colleges in discussion was the Chicago College of Performing Arts, whose students, according to Mich, don’t associate with anything outside of their realm.
Sen. William Padera said the situation can be changed by implementing a Work-Study Program for CCPA students that would allow them to earn money by tutoring students from other colleges.
Padera said although CCPA has general classes, it lacks specialized courses that would be geared toward students from other departments.
“Right now you have to be a part of CCPA to learn how to play the guitar,” Padera said. “The issue is that people have to get accepted in CCPA, and once they do they can’t do anything else.”
Following Hoselton’s and Padera’s proposals, Knotts said any senators who had ideas for development should put them in a written form and submit them to the executive board by the end of the semester.
“Plausibility and importance” are the main criteria potential projects would have to meet.
“We can debate those at the meeting in a couple of weeks in order to decide what are going to put our energy into next semester,” Knotts added.