The Student Government Association is under new leadership after an election held last December. The study body elected Brenna Hill, junior urban studies and sociology major, as president, and Shivani Parmar, sophomore economics and entrepreneurship major, as viceâ€”president.
Hill and Parmar anticipate several changes to SGA under their leadership, including a plan to make SGA a more studentâ€”focused environment.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to give SGA a stronger presence on campus. We want to create events where students can provide more feedback,â€ Hill said. Â
The first step in increasing student participation is having students know who their senators are, according to Hill.
â€œWe want to have an â€˜Improve Trinity Week.â€™ There will be events every day where students can come and meet their senators. We want to have more class representation so that students know who their senators are,â€ Hill said. Â
Improve Trinity Week is slated to be in March this year. The goal is to have students express the issues they want SGA to address.
SGA plans to change the funding request process for new organizations this year.
â€œWeâ€™re making changes to our funding process. Right now our funding process goes through two stages: you submit a funding request to finance committee, who will then submit present you request to the entire senate to vote,â€ Parmar said. â€œBecause the finance committee is made up of senators, we want to cut out one of those processes and have the funding committee able to vote on your requests. Itâ€™s an expedited process.â€
Parmar added that the new funding process will not apply to funding requests that exceed $1500, which will need to be presented to the funding committee and the entire senate.
The new funding request process will be a new amendment to the SGA constitution that the student body will vote on in the future.
SGA wants to increase student participation by holding weekly hours in the Coates University Center.
â€œWeâ€™re going to have hours in Coates where an SGA Senator will have hours and be at a table, so students can stop by. Weâ€™ll have a suggestion box this year and a white board with an issue of the week where students can write feedback about the issue of that week,â€ Hill said. Â
SGA, in conjunction with Sheryl Tynes, associate vice president for academic affairs, is currently discussing the prospect of having â€œactivityâ€”friendly schedulingâ€ on campus.
â€œActivityâ€”friendly scheduling is basically having a block of time once a week where there are no classes scheduled. So everyone on campus is free for professors and students to meet as an organization, to have sports practices and to have meetings. We know that itâ€™s really for Trinity students who are over-involved with many of these meetings overlap and itâ€™s really hard to choose. So weâ€™re hoping to make everyoneâ€™s lives easier,â€ Parmar said.
In the future, SGA anticipates collaborating more with organizations on campus.
â€œWeâ€™re working a lot on sexual assault and general campus climate issues. Weâ€™re working with the Trinity Progressives on campus climate and mental health. We have senators going to Trinity diversityâ€™s on race relations,â€ said Hill.
Both Hill and Parmar have been involved in SGA since they were firstâ€”year students. Hill was elected as a firstâ€”year senator and then a sophomore senator before applying for president, and Parmar was a firstâ€”year senator prior to running for vice president.
Jamie Thompson, director of Student Involvement and co-adviser to SGA, has worked with Hill and Parmar since they were firstâ€”year students.
â€œOur two new officers bring experience and a level of motivation to lead that is exciting. Iâ€™m thrilled by the ideas they are bringing to the table,â€ Thompson said. â€œEvery time there is new leadership, it is so refreshing to see what they come up with.â€
Hill was motivated to run for SGA positions in an effort to give back to the university.
â€œI wanted to give back to Trinity, a school that has given me so much already and trying to make it a better place and listen to student concerns. Iâ€™m interested in government and public policy as a career path, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to experience being a leader on campus,â€ Hill said.
Parmar was driven by the desire to make a difference.
â€œI was immediately driven to the leadership aspect of it and that you can immediately make a change if you want to,â€ Parmar said. â€œIf you have a complaint, you can actually do something about it, given the chance. I think thatâ€™s really important.â€