Category Archives: SGA

Keeping tabs on Elon’s Student Government Association.

Get to know your SGA representatives

by Grace Elkus
Senior Reporter

SGA elections for the freshman class took place last week, and I got the chance to interview the new president and vice-president.  Not only are they excited to get started, but they are also eager to meet the rest of the SGA council and voice their opinions.

Joe Incorvia from Harwinton, Conn., was elected president and is adamant about creating class unity.  He admitted that most people knew who he was before school even started because they had watched the video he posted on the class of 2015 Facebook group.

He told me the video was “philosophical,” and in it he asked his peers how they wanted to be remembered as a class.  He admits that sometimes it’s creepy because people he’s never met know his name, but that also it was helpful when he ran for the SGA position.

Sarah Paille Jansa from Atlanta was elected vice-president.  Although she has no experience in student government, she is looking forward to learning from the other officers and trying something new.  She says the process of writing a speech and getting signatures for her petition was a “whirlwind,” but it was definitely worth it.

The class senators include Robert Iachenauer, Joe Duncan and Kristopher Jiles.  Adrienne Euler is the class secretary, and Ciera Martinez is the class treasurer.  Martinez, who was president of her high school’s student council, is excited to be involved in the college level.

“My goals are to make our freshman year memorable!” she said.  “I’m looking forward to being a member of a team that will make significant changes.  Being a member of something bigger than yourself.”

The freshman class should be excited about their new leaders and what they will bring to their class and to the Elon community.

Look for Grace’s story in this week’s issue of The Pendulum, on newsstands and online Sept. 14.

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Transparency in the Government

While the Blog had some exciting international news this week, I am going to turn the focus back to Elon and Student Government Association. Throughout the semester, The Pendulum has tried to cover SGA more closely to ensure that we are fulfilling our duty as watchdog of the government. News publications, throughout history, have been charged with the responsibility of educating the people about government policies in order to protect the people from potential government abuse and hold politicians accountable for their actions.

Nevertheless, with the rise in social media and the Internet, the government is able to communicate directly with the people. This is not to say that newspapers are no longer necessary, but it does transfer some of that “watchdog” responsibility to the people.

Elon is no exception in this trend. Matt Campbell, senior class vice president, redesigned the Facebook fanpage for SGA in order to better communicate with the student body. The new page will include photos, a page titled “Meet the Execs,” and links to twitter, Elon’s main page, YouTube, FunFund and recent Elon related videos. Campbell said he wants to have 25 percent of the student body be a “fan” before Christmas break.

Continuing with SGA’s efforts to remain transparent, Neima Abdulahi coordinates PR for the organization. She created a video about the four executive positions and said she hopes to create six more videos next year to better communicate with the student body. Abdulahi also challenged the senators to interact with other organizations more regularly.

While it is important for SGA to utilize more modern methods of communication, this also means that students must assume responsibility for their own knowledge concerning SGA. The “watchdog” role is no longer restricted to reporters and media. All members of the Elon community can participate in conversations about student government.

-Melissa Kansky, assistant news editor

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What’s happening around campus

Below are a few items discussed at the SGA meeting Thursday. Look for more in-depth articles in The Pendulum to better understand how these changes will affect you!

Hiring process– in addition to hiring a chaplain they still have to replace Niki Turley and Leigh-Anne Royster because they were promoted earlier this year. They also have to replace Greek Life director Carrie Ryan. And 2-3 resident life positions. Why are there so many spaces left open? Why leave the hiring process until the end of the year- who assumed those responsibilities during the year?

Since Elon leased the entire Crest complex the cost is $75 more per room per month. Also, because they are tearing down North area and building more Colonnades type dorms, those are naturally more expensive to live in. Basically, the less expensive living options are become more rare. How does this factor into tuition and the type of student Elon can attract.

Construction leads to change in parking areas and plans. There will be a decrease in parking space in North Area, but more parking locations throughout campus.
Phi Kappa Phi induction on Monday. The ceremony concludes CELEBRATE week.

SGA has received complaints about the Homecoming concert options. Senate members fear that if students are not familiar with the band then the concert will have poor attendance and the funding would have gone to waste. Given that the Homecoming concert is funded by SGA money (student money) to what extent should students have a say in the concert/ should money be spent on a concert if students are not supportive of the event?

SGA redesign fan page on Facebook to increase transparency and make students more aware of executives’ responsibilities. Part of the reason a reporter from The Pendulum attends SGA meetings every week is to make sure that we are fulfilling our responsibility as watch dogs for the government. Nevertheless, with the rise of social media, the governing body as well must also take on some responsibility and promote transparency.

Melissa Kansky, assistant news editor

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SGA passed new resolution following

SGA passed two new resolutions in an effort to demonstrate support of the victims of the  two recent natural disasters. It is customary and normally appropriate for a legislative body to pass a resolution following a tragedy in order to demonstrate sympathy for the victims, according to Darien Flowers, junior class senate member.

SGA voted 29-0-1 to pass S.R. 11-4.3 A Resolution to Express Sympathy Following the Devastation in Japan.

Article I of the resolution states, “The Student Government Association of Elon University offers their expression of heartfelt sympathy to all the family and friends of the men, women and children that were injured or killed in the disaster on March 11, 2011.”

The senate also voted to pass S.R. 11-4.4 A Resolution to Express Sympathy to Shaw University Following the Tornado Devastation.

As written in the resolution, SGA will also allocate $100 to the Mechanics and Farmers Bank Shaw University Relief Fund.

Although there was discussion among the senate members regarding the potential effectivity of $100, the majority agreed the donation was important and demonstrated Elon’s support for the tornado victims.

-Melissa Kansky, assistant news editor

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We the People:

In the interest of student accountability, the entire student body, not only SGA, should be aware of the Elon Student Government Association constitution and bylaws. At tonight’s SGA meeting the senate body voted 31-0-0 to pass amendments to the Elections Packet and voted 30-0-0 to pass amendments related to the Student Government Association Bylaws.

S.B. 11-4.1 A bill to amend the elections packet crafted an Elections Packet specifically for First-Year students and clarifying procedures for First-Year student elections.

S.B. 11-4.2 A bill to amend the Student Government Association Bylaws eliminated legislation concerning Acorn Society provided that it no longer exists as a committee. It also indicates that roll call votes are only necessary for legislation not procedural votes.

“It takes too much time and things like voting to vote are not necessarily things senators need to be held accountable for,” said Rachel Long, executive vice president. “What they need to be accountable for is how they vote on legislation and things like that.”

Roll call votes during procedural issues diluted the importance and clarity of what legislation was being voted on, according to Sam Warren, executive president.

Therefore, senators simply raise their right hand to vote on procedures. Nevertheless, if senators feel a procedure is deserving of a roll call vote they have the right to ask for a roll call vote.

-Melissa Kansky, assistant news editor

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New General Studies Program

Dr. Mould presented ideas concerning the new general studies program at the SGA meeting Thursday. The GST program has not changed in 15 years, and the review process began two years ago. The new program will begin in 2013 and be effective for the class of 2017.

The new general studies program has not been determined and are still in the development stage.

“We are trying to bring all the curriculums in the general studies program more in line with (the university’s) missions and goals,” Mould said.

These goals include a commitment to diversity and community engagement, he said.

The new proposed plan first year courses include Global Inquiry in place of Global Studies and Writing for the Global Citizen in place of College Writing. Calculus or Statistics will still be required as well. Foreign language requirements may increase and include an emphasis on the culture of the language as well.

Students may also need two Experiential Learning Requirements rather than one, which is the current requirement.

The categories for the distribution in the arts and sciences will change as well. Furthermore, categories will contain specific classes instead of entire departments.

The new categories better reflect the skills the university has deemed important, he said.

“We are taking hours away from some of the ‘grab anything distribution hours’ and repackaging them so you can take them in an integrative way,” Mould said.

The new categories consist of textual analysis; scientific quantitative reasoning; the natural world; cultures and societies; invention, creation and critique; and global issues. Students will need to complete eight credit hours in cultures and societies and four credit hours in each of the other categories.

Again, none of these decisions have been finalized.

For more information about potential changes, check out The Pendulum article by senior reporter Becca Tynes.

The Senate also approved executive president appointments. Check out The Pendulum to see who is representing you!

-Melissa Kansky, Assistant News Editor

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Contributing to Elon development

Dr. Brooke Barnett facilitated discussion at the SGA meeting concerning Elon’s number one theme in the 10-year Strategic Plan, which is an unprecedented commitment to diversity and global engagement. The goals for the decade long plan include doubling need based financial aid, tripling international enrollment, establishing some signature domestic study away program, ensuring 100 percent access to study abroad and constructing the Mutli-faith Center. The administration will be sending out a survey.

The survey will help the administration measure the campus climate in terms of diversity, Barnett said.

She said she also hopes to infuse diversity with the five current Elon experiences and proposed the creation of a diversity council.

Evan Glover, the SGA representative for the Multicultural Center expressed a concern that only those active in the Multicultural Center will be involved in the diversity council. According to Glover, in order to the diversity council to be effective it has to truly be diverse.

Neima Abdulahi agreed and challenged the administration to make the diversity commitment attractive to the entire student body and not solely those belonging to a minority group.

Programs should be inclusive so it is more representative of Elon’s demographic, said Sam Warren, executive vice president.

SGA members also discussed improving career services at Elon. Dean Jodean Schmiederer encouraged SGA members to think of “big ideas” for the quality enhancement plan required for SACS reaccreditation.

“Because SACS requires this it will get done,” Schmiederer said. “A lot of times we come up with ideas, but it doesn’t get to the level of fruition we want, but here it has to get done.”

Any other students interested in contributing ideas for the QEP can submit ideas to qep@elon.edu

-Melissa Kansky, assistant news editor

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