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A shot of the Student Government Association logo sign at the 2019 SGA Inauguration on Apr. 9, 2019 at the University of Georgia Chapel in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

University of Georgia Student Government Association Senate discussed constitutional inconsistencies, Hurricane Dorian relief efforts and SGA Week at the Sept. 17 senate meeting.

First-year senators were given an opportunity to introduce themselves in front of the senate. After sharing their name, major and hometown, members voted to appoint them by slate. The first year students were inducted, and older members offered congratulations.

Trevor Williams, a freshman business management major, was one of the newly inducted members. He said that although he didn’t get the chance to serve on his student government in high school, he was certain he wanted to get involved at UGA.

“We have a purpose and we can change the campus. It’s nice being amongst other people working towards a common goal. I just can't wait to see what this year brings,” he said.

SGA members next voted on Amendment 32-01 regarding constitutional inconsistencies. This came after President of the Senate Max Sumner and President Pro Tempore Matthew McDaniel, , highlighted conflicting language in Article V Sections 1 and 4 due to Amendment 31-01. McDaniel and Sumner wrote a letter to Chief Justice Evan Oliver expressing the need for “clarification on whether the President of the Senate or President Pro Tempore shall Chair the First-Year Senator Selection Committee.” Members unanimously voted in favor of the amendment in a roll call vote.

Attorney General Ethan Pender spoke about the 2020 SGA Elections Committee, which “governs how the elections process is conducted.” Six people serve on the committee, four of whom are confirmed by the Senate.

“They have the highest honor, integrity, and call to public service that I could have found,” Pender said as he introduced his nominations. “They’re dedicated, they’re going to work hard. We're going to have one of the cleanest, most transparent elections that you've ever seen.”

Kelsey Coffey, Sam Driggers, Anderson Felt and Shiv Patel of the committee were subsequently confirmed and sworn in.

Last on the docket was Proclamation 32-04 regarding student-led Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Senator Max Harris praised the Caribbean Student Association for its work.

“This is an area where I believe student government should be seeking out and doing more to identify organizations and communities on campus that are affected by things such as natural disasters and global events,” Harris said.

Harris presented a flyer and a statement from CaribSA and suggested SGA issue a proclamation stating the body “recognizes and affirms the presence of students in the UGA community affected directly and/or indirectly by Hurricane Dorian and other natural disasters.”

The proclamation passed. CaribSA member Elkana Alexandre, a junior social work major from Marietta, said she’s worked alongside other members for two weeks to plan the drive to benefit those affected.

All donations and proceeds will benefit the Georgia Caribbean Student Alliance in Atlanta. Donation boxes will be set up in various locations around campus, including the Journalism Building, University Village Community Office and Memorial Hall. Members will accept non-perishable food, water, first-aid items, cleaning supplies and toiletries.

During the open forum period, students voiced concerns to their representatives. Logan Folger, an ambassador with the Office of Emergency Preparedness, explained the LifeSafe app, which is designed to keep students safe while walking around campus alone or at night. Folger reminded students to update their information for UGA Alerts prior to an upcoming test on Sept. 19.

The executive branch updated senators on upcoming events. President Rachel Byers gave a brief overview of SGA Week, which will take place during the latter half of next week. Wednesday is “Ask UGA Day,” where students can ask questions directly to their representatives and receive online responses. The program will serve as an “information collection opportunity” to see the concerns of students, according to Byers.

Thursday is “Dawg Tag Day,” during which SGA members will wear name tags around campus “to spark conversations among students who don’t normally interact.” This year, the tags will allow members to list their preferred pronouns. Friday will end the week with “Pizza with the President,” an event centered around Byers. Students will be able to get free pizza at Tate and have the opportunity to meet and speak with Byers.

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