North Texas Daily

New SGA president to target student input, senate participation

New SGA president to target student input, senate participation

New SGA president to target student input, senate participation
April 10
00:20 2014

Matt Wood // Staff Writer

The Multicultural Center erupted with cheers as Troy Elliott and his campaign team received the news on March 26.

Elliott and Kamaeron Willard had been elected Student Government Association President and Vice President for the 2014 academic semester by 65 percent of the vote.

“I was shocked,” music sophomore Elliott said. “Kam [Willard] and I were prepared to go to a run-off. I was happy, though. Eager to get to work.”

As president, Elliott will function as the bridge between UNT students and administration. Willard, as vice president, will serve as speaker of the student senate and help manage SGA personnel.

In his campaign platform, Elliott promised to increase student involvement, create more opportunities for student involvement in SGA and inform students about administrative decisions that will impact them.

In preparation for fulfilling promises of his platform, Elliott has begun concrete plans to enact these changes, such as creating a Presidential Council to receive input from the student body.

“The key to success for this platform is implementation,” said Willard, a recreation, events and sports management sophomore, in their campaign’s platform.

In the running

Elliott decided to pursue the presidency last year after working as campaign manager for Precious Femi-Ogunyemi’s unsuccessful campaign.

In working with him, Femi-Ogunyemi said she quickly recognized Elliott’s passion and intellect.

“He’s able to identify a lack within his community and find ways to address it,” she said. “He wants to leave things better than how he found them.”

Though current president Zach Brown ultimately won the race, Elliott kept up with the association under Brown’s administration.

“The more I saw of SGA’s progression, the more I wanted to run,” Elliott said.

In observing SGA under Brown’s administration, Elliott recognized its strengths and weaknesses. He said senate participation and organization were going to be at the forefront throughout his presidency.

In order to improve senate participation, Elliott said he plans to more stringently enforce the SGA’s point system, a method of tracking each senator’s contributions, which was introduced under Brown’s administration.

Additionally, Elliott said he and Willard intend to increase the senate from its 35 current seats to its maximum of 45 senators by October. This is intended to remedy the attendance issues that plagued SGA this semester.

“It’s just unacceptable that at a meeting open to the public, you have a senate meeting that doesn’t even get quorum,” Elliott said. “That’s a problem.”

Elliott acknowledged that another factor in attendance is motivation through leadership. He said if senators do not feel a strong sense of purpose, they are less likely to show up.

“If you don’t provide opportunities as a leader of the organization, then you can’t really expect them to show up to not do anything,” he said. “Though attendance is an issue, it comes down to the leadership of the organization.”

Reaching out to students

Elliott has proposed various measures to help increase student involvement in SGA – another promise of his platform.

The centerpiece of his plan involves the creation of a President’s Council, which would consist of various leaders from student organizations.

More than 60 percent of students on campus are involved in student organizations, Elliott said, and less than 10 percent of them are engaged with SGA. By creating this council, Elliott intends to extend the reach of SGA to students rather than expecting them to come to SGA.

“If you take an involved student and you take SGA and go to them about something they are concerned about, you’re going to have way more input,” he said.

The council will feature members from Greek, athletic, spiritual and social organizations across campus. By having more student representation at SGA meetings, Elliott hopes to get a wider spectrum of student perspective.

Elliott helped implement a similar system within the UNT Black Student Union, an organization he is currently the president of, which he said has been effective in aggregating student opinions.

Additionally, Elliott plans to appoint a Director of Communications for SGA to manage its website and to interact with students through social media by conducting polls about student issues.

Becoming a leader

One of Elliott’s first leadership roles at UNT was as an orientation leader, where he met Stephanie Lee, assistant director for orientation and transition programs.

Elliott said he visits with Lee every day and that she is a strong influence on him. Lee said she could immediately tell that Elliott was looking for something beyond organizing activities for newcomers.

“He wanted to make an impact on campus as well,” she said. “He has great ideas and I’m excited to see how he does in his new role.”

As president of the BSU, he said his experience in leading is crucial to his new role in SGA. Willard agreed that Elliott has proven himself and already made a difference at UNT.

“I feel like Troy is an extraordinary leader,” Willard said. “His impact on this campus has just been outrageous.”

Current SGA President Zachary Brown has known Elliott since they worked together as orientation leaders in 2012, and thinks Elliott will excel in his new position.

“I think he’s going to do an amazing job,” Brown said. “He has all the leadership skills necessary to have a great year.”

In his leadership and plans to reorganize SGA, Elliott said his primary concern is in representing the students.

“All we’re trying to do is ensure the success and representation of current students,” Elliott said. “We are here to serve the current UNT student body. And we will do that, fighting tooth and nail.”

Feature photo: President-elect SGA president Troy Elliott makes his rounds at Stovall Hall. He shares his letter to the student body  published by the NT Daily, with Assistant Director of Orientation and Transitional Programs Stephanie Lee. Photo by Byron Thompson, Intern Photographer.

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