Commit SGA 2016

Houston Gaines, Sehar Ali, and Jacob Fucetola, who comprised the Commit ticket, pose for a picture after winning the 2016 UGA SGA student body election in Athens, Georgia, on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 . The three will preside over the student body in the 2016-2017 school year. (Photo/Casey Sykes,

As students pour into Athens in preparation for the fall semester, the Commit administration is looking ahead to what it would like to accomplish this year through its executive position in the Student Government Association.

Newly-elected president Houston Gaines said students should expect to see SGA working toward improving health, transportation and resources on campus, in addition to continuing to work on its other points from their campaign platform.

Gaines said the executive board also hopes to increase connectivity with students, which they plan to accomplish through meeting with organization leaders throughout the year. In the meetings, they will provide updates on what SGA has been working on and see how they can help.

“We’re going to focus on making our campus a better place,” he said. “We already go to an incredible school; we are so fortunate to be here, and we want to enhance that experience.”

Senators Jonathan Pelham and Mehak Ahmed said they are also optimistic about the upcoming year.

“Houston [Gaines], Sehar [Ali] and Jacob [Fucetola] have some great initiatives to share this year, and I’m eager to see how those play out for the student body,” Pelham said.

Pelham said he is also looking forward to the senators adding to SGA’s success by contributing their own new ideas. Ahmed said she hopes the new campus life senator positions will be particularly helpful in providing some of these new ideas.

In addition to all the plans for the upcoming year, Gaines said SGA has already accomplished one of its biggest platform points: achieving medical amnesty.

As of July 1, the University of Georgia’s Responsible Action Protocol was updated to give amnesty to both the reporter of a drug- or alcohol-related overdose and the individual experiencing the overdose. Previously, only the reporter would be given amnesty, leaving the overdosing individual to suffer the penalty of the law, a fact which potentially made some feel uncomfortable to request help.

Previously UGA did not conform with the state of Georgia’s policy regarding drug- or alcohol-related overdose.

“The new policy grants amnesty from drug- or alcohol-specific Code of Conduct violations for both parties and provides coursework on substance abuse for those who overdose,” according to a post on SGA’s website.

Gaines said the policy change was one of the biggest platform points the Commit administration had for this year, and he is excited to have already accomplished it.

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