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‘Their voice is valued’: SGA cabinet makes students top priority for 2018

The students and staff of VSU work hard, but SGA is working even harder.

Bringing in a new academic year, the SGA cabinet, consisting of President Jacob Bell, Vice President Amea Thompson, Secretary Rachel Tessin and Comptroller Krupesh Patel, have big plans for the students.

According to them, the students are their reason for joining.

“In the university committee, the student government serves a unique purpose,” Bell said. “We serve the mechanism to ensure that the students feel heard and feel that their voice is valued. That’s our job.”

The first order of business is tackling the issue of parking, a complaint that’s plagued students for years.

Though SGA attempted to establish a new tiered parking model last semester, it was shot down, and the cabinet has gone back to the drawing board.

“We sent out a communication, and the students and faculty felt it wasn’t a fair model, so we were faced with a decision. ‘What do we do?’” Bell said. “Do we move forward with this after receiving this feedback or do we not?”

Bell said the cabinet’s ultimate decision was no, so their next plan is to find the next best solution.

“We’re going to take another year, and we’re going to be focused on parking,” Bell said.

The second mandate is to focus on diversity and inclusion, especially in the wake of the nation’s current political climate.

“We want to leverage our influence on the things that matter,” Bell said. “That comes to having a good track record with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and ensuring they have a solid budget. It even goes past that and ensuring that the university community is inclusive of all groups.”

Bell said SGA also plans to keep up with VSU Pride Connect, VSU’s way to represent and connect its LGBT students.

“That’s something we’re serious about,” Bell said.

The third item on the docket is engaging the student body. This involves financially supporting other student organizations to increase events and boost member morale, mainly through the Blazer Allocation Fund. This allows students to request $500 per semester and $1,000 per year for use in events and campus engagement.

“We have $20,000 for organizations under Blazer Link,” Thompson said. “We look forward to doing a better job about that and letting the students know that we have this money.”

Overall, the cabinet wants to make clear that the university is poised to change for the better through listening to the students and compromising.

“I’m a listening leader,” Bell said. “I want to know how you feel about it. I have the opportunity to say how students feel. It’s not about how I feel because that really doesn’t matter, but I want to make sure we’re asking questions and that we’re all connected. So, I want to make sure we’re always listening.”

The next SGA meeting will be on Monday, Sept. 10. Bell said to look forward to the new senators coming in.

Written by Malia Thomas, Staff Writer. Photo by Selena George, Staff Writer.

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