By John Connolly
The Student Government Association (SGA) held its last secession on Monday night. During the meeting, members of both the senate and the public gave insight into the student government’s inaugural year and provided suggestions for the future of the Student Government Association.
Conceived to replace the Student Association General Assembly (SAGA), the SGA senate is made of up 32 senators. There are two senators from each academic school and two senators for each class year. In addition to the body as a whole, various committees oversee the different sectors and issues that play a role in life on campus. Task forces were also created to help address specific areas such as health and wellness, diversity, and green initiatives.
Many in the senate felt that the first year of the new student government was generally beneficial. While many of its issues had to be worked out during the year, it helped show what areas of operation need to be evaluated for next year, as Kristina Pinault and Lauren Werling prepare to take over as President and Vice President.
Senator Tommy DiBenedetto, a junior representing the Business School, said that while the task forces were beneficial and productive, the Student Government Association’s relation with the rest of the school needs work.
“A problem that SGA is facing is our image with the rest of the student body…As far as still being connected to our constituents…I think we need to work with both College Democrats and College Republicans to have a voter education panel for people not only interested in these issues but so SGA can work as a check and balance to ensure not one group forces on their agenda” DiBenedetto said.
DiBenedetto also proposed a livability agenda, which he said he wants to work on to make life at Catholic University “not simply bearable but joyful,” for its students.
“I think through SGA, we can bring about conditions that make students be proud to be CUA students. I think that for students that stay here, there is a decreasing excitement about coming here,” DiBenedetto said. Senior senator Matt Hanrahan proposed bringing back the student court.
“I’m such a firm believer that there needs to be some outside body for disputes between student organizations, for disputes in elections, but there needs to be an outside entity so that problems will not tear our student government apart,” Hanrahan said.
Other students proposed better representation on the Board of Trustees, more clear and streamlined procedures in regards to flyers and student organization recognition with the Office of Campus Activities (OCA), an oversight committee that investigates tuition increases, and several other proposals.
Before the close of the meeting, Student Government Association vice president James Benedek continued a tradition of allowing graduating students the ability to address the senate before they depart.
Seniors Teresa Morris, Evan Gillissie, and Matt Hanrahan all shared their thoughts and gave advice to the senate.
“When you think of your time here, think of it authentically…don’t talk bad about this place. You are choosing this place and stand by that decision,” Morris said.
“Don’t get involved in the politics of everything…don’t try to be the chair of every organization because there is probably someone more passionate for the role,” Hanrahan said.
“I am incredibly envious of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors because you have more time here yet I’m leaving…live it up; have so much fun…and if you think something needs to change, change it” Gillissie said.
Pinault and Werling will be inaugurated for their executive positions on May 1st for the next school year.