Splitting AS: The right move

Student Government Association and Student Programming Activities brings a new hope to campus.

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Student Government Association and Student Programming Activities brings a new hope to campus.  |  Illustration by David Rhree/THE CHIMES

Catherine Streng, Writer

Associated Students have not been as effective as they could be as a spokesman for student thoughts and needs. Thankfully, a split of AS starting in fall 2015 will allow more time for the student government to focus on the main importance — the students. This division will also create several opportunities to have the Biola community grow even stronger.

AS will divide into two programs — Student Government Association and Student Programming Activities. Instead the governing body handling events as well, SPA will now control the large scale one-time events such as Mock Rock and Study Break, as well as smaller events like Catch Me If You Can. SPA will also run outdoor excursions, clubs and intramurals. SGA’s primary focus will lie in advocating student interests and needs on campus, which has not been focused on intently in the past.

“A lot of AS’s time has been spent focusing on ‘How do we run Mock Rock well,’ or ‘How do we advertise about this event or that event’ and sending senators on rounds to do focus groups,” said Laura Igram-Edwards, Director of Student Programming and AS Advisor. “Rather, we will be sending senators on rounds to advertise events.” Separating event programming from the role of SGA allows the new organization to truly work as the voice of the students to administration.

SGA will also have more time to focus on service-oriented administration.

SHARK TANK

“I would love to see us do some kind of ‘Shark Tank’ so students can come and present their ideas to the senate and get funding to start their own company or non-profit,” said Igram-Edwards. At the current moment, nothing concrete is in place, but because of the split, it is something that can be determined next year. “They [student government] are not worrying about events, and they can bring in more of those types of things.”

When SPA exists, the coordinators will have the ability to express any concerns over events directly to administration, rather than through the SGA president. This allows quicker communication and easier planning for both SGA and SPA. In the past, the AS president and vice president had little to no training with event planning, Igram-Edwards said. Having a separate event planning organization creates swifter and better coordination for events.

It also allows more flexibility in funding to coordinators from SPA for their semester events. Coordinators will not need to request money from SGA because their budget will have already been set for the semester, Igram-Edwards explained. SPA will have their own amount to control and allocate throughout the program.

SAME AMOUNT OF JOBS

“This [the split] will make things run more smoothly in the future,” said current AS President Tyler Hormel.

Fortunately, the restructure of AS into SGA and SPA will not diminish the number of student workers, Igram-Edwards said. The amount of jobs available for students remains the same, and through those jobs students will continue to run the show. Students are the only ones who know what other students want. These positions in SPA and SGA allow the students to have a more influential voice over concerns with student government or events.

Because of all the pros and opportunities the divide of AS will bring, we should take this change positively. It will give the student government more time to focus on the students and a whole committee dedicated to making school events better. The power of the students lies in bringing their voice to administration, and this split strengthens that voice.

 

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