The formerly known ASB (Associated Student Body) has set up many new changes starting this semester and proceeding into the years to come.
ASB has adopted a new name: SGA (Student Government Association). Jake DeVries, VP of Community Engagement, said there had been troubles with the old label.
“ASB leadership doesn’t really define what we do,” DeVries said. “So we started thinking, ‘How can we change it to be more descriptive?’ We came to the name SGA.”
On a referendum in this year’s Senate elections, 63 percent of students voted to change the organization’s name. This prompted ASB to pursue further changes.
“This restructure has been in the idea phase for three years,” Aric Wood, Executive VP, said. “We have known for awhile there’s something not quite operable about the way ASB conducts business.”
In this change, SGA has three major goals. Wood listed them as follows: to be more efficient in serving student needs, to gain the trust of the student body and to become more democratically responsive to student interests.
One of the biggest changes is that the cabinet will no longer be voted on, but rather hired.
“The only elected position on the cabinet is the president,” Wood said. “The president will be in charge of hiring, firing and managing the cabinet positions. They can only hire cabinet members with a two-thirds majority from the Senate. But basically, it makes it a much more professional environment.”
Because of this, much of SGA’s power will be shifted to the Senate.
“The Senate is going to have a system called mandates, which are basically laws,” Wood said. “They will be able to dictate how SGA does their business. They will set the goals of SGA.”
Major policy conversations will be handled by the Senate, while more administrative concepts will be brought to the cabinet. The Senate will also have control of SGA’s funds. But, the Senate won’t be completely check-free.
“Under this system, Senators will be elected on a semesterly basis,” Wood said. “This means every semester there will be a new Senate election allowing students to directly offer their democratic input in the middle of the year, rather than having to wait.”
This puts more responsibility on the Senate to do its job well.
“It is easier to lose one’s position,” Wood said. “But it’s also easier to retain it if a senator does a really good job.”
SGA is also adding a new position: Student Chaplain.
“The Student Chaplain will do his best to purely represent students’ spiritual formation on campus,” said Eugene Song, VP of Student Ministries.
The president will nominate a candidate for the Student Chaplain position. However, the recommendation must pass through the Senate unanimously.
The chapel responsibilities will be shifted to Student Life.
“The vision is to have a team of students that are organizing chapels, just not connected to SGA,” Mo Schmidt, SGA President, said. “But we’ll be encouraging the Student Chaplain to have a seat at the table and still have that representation there.”
These changes will begin with the presidential elections. Applications are live until Feb. first. The new constitution has been posted on SGA’s website.