The executive and legislative branches of the University of Georgia’s Student Government Association are sponsoring “SGA Week” on Sept. 25 through Sept. 27 to increase the organization’s visibility to students and connection with its constituents.
By hosting three days’ worth of student outreach-oriented events — “SGA Day,” “Dawg Tag Day,” and “Pizza with the President” — SGA is aiming to solve the problem of students not knowing about the work the organization does for the student body, according to SGA President Rachel Byers.
“I want to be more visible and accessible because some people may not even know that there's a platform where they can share their concerns,” Byers said. “So the hope is to make ourselves more accessible to UGA students.”
The week begins with the organization’s “Ask SGA Day” on Sept. 25, a program during which SGA representatives will answer questions and discuss concerns from students at the Ramsey Student Center and the Tate Student Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
SGA representatives tabling at both locations will help students fill out Google forms with information or questions they would like to relay to SGA executive members. The executive members will then address the questions and concerns on a livestream or video at a later time.
“Dawg Tag Day” will take place on Sept. 26, during which students will have the opportunity to pick up name tags from tabling stations at Tate, the Main Library or in front of the Chemistry Building to wear around campus. SGA members will also sport name tags as an attempt to put names to faces.
SGA organizes the event once every semester to familiarize students with their classmates and “bring communities together,” according to Treasurer Nav Singh.
With groups like Arch Society, Dawg Camp, the Black Affairs Council and orientation leaders participating in the event, Singh hopes students will take note of the involvement and integrate with one another.
This year, the tags will feature a new addition: a space to write preferred pronouns.
“This is just a small step we’re trying to take in order to be more inclusive and make sure everyone feels welcomed on campus,” Byers said.
The week concludes with “Pizza with the President” on Sept. 27, during which SGA will provide free pizza at the Tate Northwest Lawn from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for students to stop by and chat with Byers to learn more about the president.
Focused on inclusion
One of the organization’s goals this year is to eliminate the stigma that SGA is only geared for and made up of “North Campus students,” Deputy Chief of Staff Casey Smith said. To combat this, SGA has selected tabling locations for 2019’s “SGA Day” that are inclusive to more students, such as Ramsey, the Main Library, Tate and areas in South Campus.
“We have so many senators and cabinet members and first year program students who are chemistry majors, agriculture majors and within Terry, so we’re trying to show that the typical SGA member is not what the campus thinks it is,” Smith said.
Singh was involved with SGA his first year on campus but realized the organization can “seem exclusive” after taking a break from the organization as a sophomore.
Singh remembers reaching out to classmates in his pharmaceutical sciences major to encourage them to get involved with the group, but they didn’t know it was an option because they thought SGA was strictly for international affairs, political science or other majors typically found on North Campus.
Singh hopes that by hosting the event at multiple locations around campus, more people will recognize that SGA is open to everyone.
“It might spark a conversation either tomorrow or the day after that we're there for them,” he said about hosting the event at multiple locations around campus. “It's the best thing that we can do.”