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Throwback Thursday: Student Government Association's Fall Semester Highlights

With the academic year half over, leaders of the Student Government Association (SGA) are more than halfway through their terms.

The leaders recently shared a few things they accomplished in the fall and what they hope to tackle during the remainder of the spring semester.

Undergraduate SGA

“My favorite accomplishments from the fall semester were when SGA worked with campus to welcome our first EXCEL member, and the re-development of the Freshman Leadership Organization, FreshGA,” said Nagela Nukuna, undergraduate SGA president. Excel is a four-year certificate program for students with mild intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Some accomplishments highlighted in the undergraduate SGA’s End of Semester Report include:  

  • On Oct. 6, 2016, SGA held a town hall on student policies regarding sexual misconduct.  Vice President and Dean of Students John Stein, Associate Dean and Director of Student Integrity Bonnie Weston, Director of Compliance Programs Burns Newsome, and Victim-Survivor Advocate Jennifer Gagen were present to answer questions from the campus community. [View the current Sexual Misconduct Policy and Code of Conduct.]
  • SGA worked with the Student Athletic Advisory Board to promote its events and increase communication between the general campus and student athletes. SGA representatives also met with leadership from the Technique.
  • A social media campaign was developed to promote the Counseling Center’s Tech Ends Suicide Together initiative. The initiative represents both an aspirational goal and a call to action to create a linkage of programs and support that work together to end suicide at Georgia Tech.  
  • Chief of Staff Ben Nickel headed the Home for the Holidays project, which paired international students with local members of the Georgia Tech community, who hosted the students over Thanksgiving. In 2016, 117 students were paired with 79 hosts.
  • Vice President of Campus Services Sujay Peramanu worked with Parking and Transportation Services on completion of the Tech Square Express project, which added a bus route from the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons to Tech Square.
  • Vice President of External Affairs Sara Dada led the #WreckTheVote Campaign to encourage students to register to vote before the 2016 presidential election. More than 300 students checked into the event and were reminded to register and to vote on election day.

Nukuna has high hopes for spring semester. Her personal goals are to find ways to make course instructor opinion survey (CIOS) data more effective for students and faculty, set the groundwork for a research career fair, continue work regarding sexual misconduct issues, and create greater transparency between SGA and the student body.

Graduate SGA

President of Graduate SGA David Scripka said, "Last fall Grad SGA worked hard to address a number of different issues that graduate students face. In particular we wanted to address two major sources of stress for graduate students: qualifying exams and finances."

Graduate SGA, along with Graduate Studies and the Office of the Provost, created a task force to better understand the state of qualifying exams across campus. Graduate students must pass qualifying exams to begin working on their doctoral dissertation.

Graduate SGA also worked with Health and Well-Being, Campus Services, and Undergraduate SGA to start a Financial Adviser pilot program. This program allows students to schedule an appointment with a financial advisor for confidential and individualized financial services including general financial planning, budgeting, debt management, investment planning, and tax strategies. Students are encouraged to take advantage of free advising from Feb. 14 through April 13. Appointments can be scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room 204, Campus Recreation Center.

This semester, Graduate SGA hopes to gather feedback from graduate students about their experiences with the Student Blue Health Insurance to prepare for potential changes in that program in the near future. The perspective of graduate students will be an essential component of that process, and Graduate SGA will work hard to ensure that their voice is heard.

Undergraduate and graduate SGA also recently worked together to pass a joint statement related to the White House executive order on immigration. Read the full statement here

Stay up-to-date on undergraduate SGA’s spring activities by checking its Facebook page, attending SGA office hours Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Student Center SGA office, or going to an Undergraduate House of Representatives meeting on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Room 117, Flag Building. For Graduate SGA updates, visit its website or Facebook page.

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