SGA reflects on the past year and announces plans for the future. Collegian file photo.
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On Jan. 19, Butler’s Student Government Association Senate meeting included their second annual State of the Student Body Address.
SGA President Will Gigerich, who delivered the address, said it is an opportunity to speak to students about SGA’s past, current and future plans.
“From the executive perspective, it’s about being able to speak about the progress that SGA is making,” Gigerich said. “But then any new initiatives that we have, basically, it’s a time that we can have a look back at everything together.”
Sophomore entrepreneurship and innovation major Paul Ford said that as a former SGA Senator, he thought the address contained the right amount of information. He said he liked how SGA organized the address this year by making the certain aspects clearer and that he thought it showed SGA is working to make Butler a better place.
Senior psychology major Kathryn Aldstadt said she decided to go to the meeting because she was curious about the speech. She said that in her opinion, the speech went well and satisfied her curiosity, and she thought that it showed that Gigerich is doing his job well.
One of the changes Gigerich addressed in the speech is that SGA is making changes to its Constitution. Gigerich said the biggest change coming from the updated documents is the Executive Cabinet Advisory Board. He said the purpose of the advisory board is to be able to meet with representatives from organizations that represent different areas of student life and hear their opinions on proposals and initiatives.
Ford said he is hopeful that this new approach will have a positive effect on what SGA can do for students, by letting student groups lead.
“I think that having this kind of outlet for student voice to give them direction,” Ford said. “It allows [SGA] to be much more productive.”
Gigerich said SGA is also advocating for changes to be made to the student handbook to ensure there is a fair conduct process. He said they want to ensure the guidelines are clear about what a conduct violation is, the possible penalties and the appeals process.
Ford said the change to the student handbook is something that has been a long time coming.
“I think SGA kind of stepping into a representative angle for students in the conduct system is something that is desperately needed,” Ford said.
Another topic Gigerich covered in the address was expanded services provided to students by SGA. Gigerich said they have been able to expand the free Uber services to nearby grocery stores and allow students to get rides to off-campus mental health care providers. He said he hopes this solves the issue of Butler’s Counseling and Consultation Services being students’ only option, as the wait time for CCS can sometimes exceed a month.
In the address, Gigerich also said that SGA is adding four sessions of diversity, equity and inclusion, DEI, training into the requirements of being a member of SGA.
“[The DEI training] will invoke conversation and discussion on topics such as privilege, power, community and allyship,” Gigerich said. “With steps moving forward on how diversity, equity and student belonging can be integrated into the culture of SGA.”
Ford said he thinks SGA requiring a more extensive DEI training is a big step up. He said he thinks increased DEI is a very important addition, and that he hopes this leads to Senators having a better commitment to their constituencies.
The last topic that was touched on in the address was the planned “Atherton Union Refresh.” Gigerich said that SGA is looking to make Atherton Union more of a student union again, as many students think of it as just a dining hall. He said they want to take all the open space in the building and update it with new furniture, paint and signage. Gigerich said the goal is to make it so Atherton Union is a place where both students and organizations want to meet again. The refresh is planned to be proposed and passed this semester, and SGA expects renovation to take place this summer and be ready in time for next fall.