UWSP SGA – What’s up with it?
I’ve always been big on signing up for things. This is probably the first thing and possibly the most important thing to understand about me, other than my awful, dry, and sarcastic sense of humor.
My friend Ryan Specht, with whom I worked on an independent writing credit, suggested last spring semester that I consider joining the Student Government Association. I was interested in it, partially because he was so excited, partially because he was campaigning for president, and partially because he said he really wanted me to join and I was flattered. But I softly turned him down because I was gonna take care of me and not spread myself too thin. So I thought.
I believed that truly all summer, and then school started. I’d been living in a fool’s paradise. On the very first day of school, I ran into now-President Specht, Vice President Boardman, and who I didn’t know at the time was the Speaker for the Senate, Parker Smith. Two minutes later, I decided to join. Two days later, I attended my first Senate meeting.
Watch out for those guys. They’re very persuasive.
It didn’t take me long to fill out the little application and get the signatures and turn it in, although I did have vaguely embarrassing difficulty finding the room in which Senate meetings are held. I jumped right in, and by unanimous consent I was voted in to Senate. Two hours later I became a caucus chair. (Guys seriously I don’t even do this on purpose these things just happen to me.)
That’s when things started to get real interesting for me. Because at the time when I joined I knew absolutely nothing about SGA other than that it was apparently fun and it was a great way to become seriously in-the-know about campus issues. That was good enough for me!
But SGA is a remarkable organization. See, in Wisconsin there exists a statute [called 36.09(5)] which allows SGAs in our state to be active participants in the university. Our students, administration, faculty and academic staff may directly participate in, and affect, the administration of the campus. What that basically means is that SGA isn’t just a play club where you go and pretend to be a senator. SGA has a real effect on campus. SGA has real authority and real ability. It also is responsible for allocating a considerable sum of money–the allocable portion of the segregated fees each student pays, which comes out to be millions.
SGA is very involved with faculty, staff and administration as well. It is very current in campus and community news. It is a phenomenal opportunity–a set of them, really–to be in-the-know, to impact campus in a tangible way, to connect with professionals and other students.
It’s also incidentally a great excuse to dress up on Thursdays.
The best part is that as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, you are already a member of the Student Government Association. How dope is that!
And there are multiple levels of involvement. Any student is welcome to attend the weekly general Senate meeting at any time; they are called to order each Thursday at 6:15 p.m. in the DUC Legacy Room. Students are also welcome at any time to contact SGA at our office in the basement of the DUC, right across from SIEO.
That not enough for you? Do you have interests? Consider contacting SGA to get involved of one of dozens of university committees that require and encourage student membership. There are committees for most any passion, interest, or major, and SGA is always looking for student representation.
You can also apply to be a voting member of either SHAC (Student Health Advisory Committee), UCAPB (University Centers Advisory and Policy Board), or SUFAC (Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee).
If you’d like the full package, consider applying–as I did–for the student Senate. As a member of Senate, you will sit at least one university committee and one SGA committee (I’m on Student Life and Academic Affairs, it’s neat), attend the weekly Senate meetings on Thursdays, and spend time communicating with students to find out more about issues on campus.
Truly, stop by the SGA office to find out more. It’s a phenomenal way to represent yourself and your school, to meet friends, to network. It’s great company, important work, and extremely rewarding. Or check out the website at: http://stuorgs.uwsp.edu/sga.
And if you see a senator, greet them warmly! They’re here for you. It is literally their job.
Coincidentally, I am one.
(say hi to me)
Amy Vida is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in family & consumer sciences and English.