Story by Courtney Muns, for The Muleskinner
What comes to mind when most people see the word government?
To some, it may be negative thoughts and feelings, and to others it may be a feeling of pride and a sense of unity.
Regardless, the importance of a governing body remains the same.
What most seem to overlook is that the relevance of a government extends beyond a nation and into a body of students.
At UCM, the governing body is the Student Government Association (SGA), made up of students whose mission is to empower the student voice, according to the SGA Web page.
SGA members, also known as ‘Senators’ and ‘House Representatives,’ strive to build a bridge of communication between student desires and possible campus improvements and deliver them to the faculty, staff and administration.
The Senate is composed of four members of each academic class and two graduate students.
The House of Representatives consists of four members from each college, such as the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, etc.
Right now, SGA is working on making the UCM campus 100 percent tobacco free, upon the student body’s request.
“We have it planned to have in effect by next fall,” said junior Senator Kristyn Grimsley. “The process isn’t easy because we have to get it approved and set the limitations, which not everyone agrees on.”
As far as upcoming plans, sophomore Treasurer Katie Weber said the most recent plan SGA has made is to add more picnic benches around residence halls.
Aside from being the spokespeople of the student body, SGA members have made contributions to UCM such as helping to fund the development of the Rec. Center, funding the playground for the campus daycare, and adding extra park benches around campus.
Along with the Office of Student Activities, SGA also sponsors the Night Ryder program, which transports students to go shopping at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, movie theaters, and to restaurants on Wednesday and Thursday night.
Night Ryder also transports students to and from Pine Street on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night to prevent drunk driving on campus.
Riding arrangements can be made through the Office of Student Activities.
SGA meetings are in the Union on Tuesdays for the Senate, and Wednesdays for the House.
Meetings usually include representatives from other student organizations such as USHA (United Student Housing Association), IFC (Interfraternity Council), and Spotlight.
The meetings are open to the public, and topics such as upcoming events within student organizations are discussed along with opportunities for campus improvements.
Any students interested in getting involved in the Student Government Association can become a representative or a senate member by picking up an application in the SGA office located in the Student Activities Center in Union 217.
For more information, one may visit the UCM website and type “SGA” in the search tab, or stop by one of the weekly meetings.