North Texas Daily

SGA hopes to remain active during slow spring semester

SGA hopes to remain active during slow spring semester

January 21
03:37 2016

Lisa Dreher | Staff Writer

@lisa_dreher97

Student Government Association is determined to have an active semester, unlike previous spring semesters when the governing body tended to not get a lot of stuff done, SGA president Adam Alattry said.

Alattry said he will make it clear that student legislators will follow its mostly productive fall semester with more strides in progress for the student body.

“I want at least 40 pieces this semester,” Alattry said. “I think that each and every senator is capable of doing their duties.”

Three bills and one amendment to the bylaws of SGA’s student constitution were passed in fall 2015.

Last semester, SGA moved to resolve a long-standing representation problem by abolishing the SGA House. The problem continues this semester, but in 2016 the question is whether a senator who changes majors should represent their previous college or represent the college of the new major. In a November SGA Senate meeting, senators clashed over which college should be represented in such a situation.

“You were elected into your seat because you had a platform for that college,” College of Arts and Sciences senator Owen Saenz said. “You have to stay in your seat until eligible to be relocated at the end of term.”

Because the SGA House had represented student organizations, meetings once a month between the orgs and SGA will commence to ensure those groups are still heard in the halls of the student government.

“For the entirety of last semester, I was trying to figure out a way to get all of the organizations together because there are over 450 on campus,” SGA director of campus outreach Mikayla Barnes said.

Barnes spoke with Billy Poer, former speaker of the SGA House who suggested the idea, knowing there would be a need to solve the representation puzzle for the organizations. Representatives and executive leaders will learn about the resources SGA and Student Activities provide, including OrgSync, the Eagle’s Nest Fund and travel grants.

Alcohol in the Union

SGA’s biggest priority this semester? For Alattry, it’s whether to allow alcoholic beverages to be served in Fuzzy’s Taco shop in the Union. A referendum was drafted last semester but not voted on. Student legislators have been quiet about plans on this issue, but SGA officials have said it will be resolved soon.

“I think the alcohol resolution is going to be biggest monster we have to overcome,” Alattry said. “We’re fortunate that we worked so hard this past semester drafting and researching that at the beginning of the semester we can hit the ground running and go from there.”

Honoring UNT’s fallen students

Another project is the Fallen Eagle’s Ceremony to memorialize students who have died. SGA has created a committee to revamp the program and are working with the university’s music department to create a song similar to “Silver Taps.” The tune is played at Texas A&M University for students who have died.

“We’re trying to make it more intimate and making it more so for active students and active faculty and staff,” Alattry said.

Again, voter turnout is an issue

For upcoming senatorial, vice presidential and presidential elections, Alattry hopes to raise the student voter turnout from 3 to “at least 10 percent” through student outreach strategies. In last semester’s vote to remove the SGA House, about 0.6 percent of the student body participated in the referendum.

From Jan. 27 to 29, SGA and student-run political groups will pass out registration cards in a voter registration drive at Library Mall. Those present are the College Democrats, International Socialist Organization, Young Americans for Liberty, Young Conservatives and College Republicans.

“Every year in Denton county elections, about less than 8 percent of people who go are college-aged, so we’re trying to increase that number and get students more politically involved,” Alattry said.

Featured Image: File Photo Ryan Vance | Senior Staff Photographer

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