North Texas Daily

Student government looks back on semester of progress

Student government looks back on semester of progress

December 03
03:20 2015

Lisa Dreher | Staff Writer

@lisa_dreher97

Student Government Association members were relieved and relaxed during their semester banquet Wednesday night in the University Union. Dresses and suits were the attire of the night as members mingled to celebrate a semester of progress for the undergraduate government.

“We wanted to do a big thank you for SGA,” vice president of SGA Chris Lee said. “These are the kind of events where you have conversations about issues and the interns, and senators can talk with each other. There’s a lot of networking.”

Senator of Session for the Summer, Senator of the Session for the Fall and Intern of the Session were given to three members praised by SGA leaders. A plaque was given to each, signaling the formality of the night that would end SGA’s fall session on a celebratory note.

College of Business senator Caroline Roberson, College of Arts and Science senator Aaron Lara and intern Sierra Johnson were given the accolades respectively.

Freshmen interns thank Karen Alday, University of North Texas' SGA director of leadership and development. SGA held a banquet for their executive, senate and freshman interns December 2, 2015 in the student union at UNT. Tomas Gonzalez | Contributing Photographer

Freshmen interns thank Karen Alday, University of North Texas’ SGA director of leadership and development. Tomas Gonzalez | Contributing Photographer

“Everyone that got nominated [was] worthy of the title because we all worked really hard,” Johnson said. “I’m really happy to be a part of this organization.”

Many applauded during a presentation of the budget, where expenses were well under the limit. Members laughed at how well they managed to spend the minimum amount of money for smaller products.

The organization spent $19,505.60, or 44 percent, of its semester budget.

SGA made significant changes to its legislative process, moved its office to the University Union, appointed three senators, renovated its website and began live-tweeting Senate meetings.

Christa Coffey, who became SGA’s adviser this year, believes the new office location will encourage a flow of communication between the student body and student legislators.

“I’m excited about the potential for students actually being able to voice their concerns because they have a good space now for them to come in and talk about those things,” Coffey said.

The section is shared with the Graduate Student Council, Student Activities and the University Program Council. Coffey said she appreciates that the space allows SGA and GSC to work together in one area, especially when considering the split between the two legislative bodies.

Karen Alday, director of leadership and development for SGA, presents Sierra Johnson with an Intern of the Session award.. SGA held a banquet for their executive, senate and freshman interns December 2, 2015 in the student union at UNT. held a banquet for their executive, senate and freshman interns December 2, 2015 in the student union at UNT. Tomas Gonzalez | Contributing Photographer

Karen Alday, director of leadership and development for SGA, presents Sierra Johnson with an Intern of the Session award. SGA held a banquet for their executive, senate and freshman interns in the student union at UNT. Tomas Gonzalez | Contributing Photographer

The two governments can now discuss and create referendums presented to the whole student body.

“It was important that a system like this was in place so that when there is an issue that affects both the undergraduate and graduate students, we [can] fairly gauge student input from both bodies,” SGA president Adam Alattry said.

Annabelle Weber of the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, Alana Tosca of the College of Education and Adam Miller of the College of Engineering were the new senators to join SGA.

College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism senator Julia Small believes Weber will adequately represent their college, which only has two senate seats because of its small size.

“She’s really ready to get out there and talk to the people in our college and see what they want and need,” Small said. “Our college is a lot smaller, and because of the nature of our majors some of our constituents don’t tend to be as involved like SGA, so I’m excited that we finally have good representation.”

SGA has made its activities more transparent, a goal of Alattry’s coming into the semester, through its revamped site in the Division of Student Affairs’ online location. The site features senator office hours, the student constitution, by-laws and the budget.

“You can always see what we’re spending money on [because] students need to know where their money is going,” Alattry said.

Coffey hopes senators will continue reaching out to students.

“I think they made progress on their internal workings,” Coffey said. “What I’m going to keep pushing for them to do is start talking to their constituents, which I think they’ve started to do more of.”

Featured Image: Christopher Lee, SGA Vice President, presents Aaron Lara with a Senator of the Session Award during a SGA banquet held for their executive, senate and freshman interns in the student union at UNT. Tomas Gonzalez | Contributing Photographer

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