New Student Government Association executive board stresses unity and direct student involvement for upcoming academic year

By: 
Ethan Castro
Date: 
Saturday, April 15th, 2017

As the semester draws to a close, the newly elected Illinois Tech Student Government Association (SGA) executive board is taking their formative steps to map out the direction they wish to take the organization in the coming year. Although the summer break creates an upset at the beginning of the new board’s tenure, it is imperative that the new heads of SGA form a solid understanding of the ideals and actions they wish to accomplish in the coming year. In their first meetings as an executive board, President-elect Morgan Peters, Executive Vice President-elect Alyssa DeLuca, Finance Board Chair-elect Nina Tamras, Vice President of Academic Affairs-elect Golzar Shobeiri, Vice President of Communications-elect Nathan Cooper Jones, and Vice President of Student Life-elect Beatrice “Trixie” Weiner have all outlined a series of priorities to focus on as a cohesive board. President-elect Peters expressed an overarching directive of the new executive board to “be united and strong together” as it pursues each of these items.

The first item on the new board’s agenda is to facilitate stronger visibility and accessibility of SGA project documentation. Regardless of what progress individual senators may make across SGA’s committees and across the entire campus, if the student body cannot properly attribute positive campus changes to SGA, then their overarching impacts are minimized. Having a focused, accessible platform that lists off SGA project progress and outcomes will constitute a major step in legitimizing the role and structure of SGA. Vice President of Communications Nathan Cooper Jones will likely play a large role in this directive through his planned expansions and advertising of the SGA website (found at sga.iit.edu) as a means of both providing information and sourcing feedback from the student body.

Another similar directive of the new executive board is to foster greater student involvement in the projects of SGA by utilizing more prevalent digital idea sourcing methods. Examples of this include hosting online petitions and surveys on the SGA website for students to contribute and vote on issues they wish to see become projects. Another historic example that the organization is looking into integrating is a third-party voting system known as VoteBox. Used in the past by the Illinois Tech SGA, VoteBox would allow students of the university to democratically select which ideas they wish to see become SGA projects through a simple up-or-down vote system, similar to online platforms such as Reddit.

A third, more specific item on the new board’s agenda is pushing for stronger student input in the future of on-campus dining through established SGA structures. Food Advisory Board (a joint effort with the Residence Hall Association) currently collects and provides student input on all on-campus dining experiences to the management of Illinois Tech Dining Services. President-elect Peters foresees this organization serving as the primary arm of the student body in collecting feedback, data, and suggestions on significant changes to the overall dining experience, such as the proposed conversion of the Pritzker Club into a coffee bar and the upcoming contract renegotiation with Sodexo.

The final item brought forward by the new executive board is one that is especially close to many of their personal standings: support of women's and minorities’ issues. With a board entirely composed of women aside from Vice President of Communications Nathan Cooper Jones, the new SGA leadership will be in a strong position of power to advance these rights at the university level for all generations of students to come.

While the new executive board has not officially began their tenures yet, a foundation is already being laid to bring about positive change in the name of SGA.