SGA making strides in voicing student opinions

The Student Government Association (SGA) of Gannon University has been making strides to maintain a strong relationship with the faculty, staff and administration in order to voice the opinions of the student body.

SGA is responsible for various aspects in regards to all recognized clubs and organizations on Gannon’s campus. Conferences, retreats, funding and other basic operating costs are a few examples of SGA’s duties.

For the 2014-2015 school year, SGA has developed a vision statement to help keep the staff members focused and on the right track throughout the progression of the school year.

The vision SGA has developed states: We, the Student Government Association of Gannon University, uphold a vision to act as an open, cooperative body willing to act as a voice for the student body and a catalyst for change on campus. We aim to prioritize the students’ needs above our own to create a unified community with open opportunities to advance personally, professionally, and spiritually.

Taylor Shaffer, a senior accounting major and this year’s SGA’s president, began her term in April of last year. Shaffer is excited to keep the staff members and herself headed in the direction of the vision.

Already this year SGA has held conferences and chosen a group of eight students to attend a NCLS leadership conference in Orlando Nov. 20 – 23. One of the more recent conferences SGA has held was the G.O.L.D conference Oct. 4 in the Yehl Ballroom.

The G.O.L.D conference was a teaser for the 2015 fall conference. There were activities, free food and prizes to be won at the end of the function.

Shaffer said the purpose of the teaser conference was to get students interested in the 2015 conference and she was pleased with the turnout and overall participation by the students. She said they decided to have activities instead of lectures to get the students more involved and she thinks it worked out well.

“It was amazing to see such a large interest from the students,” Shaffer said. “This is a whole year process and I hope that in the end it pays off for the students who get the chance to participate.”

Applications for the G.O.L.D conference are available at the front desk of Waldron and online at the EngageU portal. All applications are due by Oct. 30.

SGA does not just hold conferences for leadership opportunities. It is also involved with every organization and club on campus, from helping the senior class representatives decide the senior present for this year to helping the Marketing Department figure out new and effective ways of reaching the students.

Kelsey Bright, a junior athletic training major, said she likes that SGA is there to provide students with the fun activities and functions throughout the school year. They are an outlet for students to have concerns heard and opinions about the school voiced, Bright said.

“Having SGA has provided me with an experience at Gannon that I never thought I would have had,” Bright said. “They hold conferences to help develop leadership skills, help sport teams and organizations get the fundraising they need to function and much more. I am glad the SGA at Gannon exists because I don’t know how else the school would know what its students want and need out of this life experience.”

Anyone can become a part of SGA as either a member or a volunteer during activities and functions. If students wish to join as a class representative they must complete a petition package and collect 75 signatures from students within their class. Contact Hannah Smerker, SGA’s vice president of academic affairs, for more information on the application process.

Only nine representatives are assigned to each class and if there are more than nine applicants, a vote will be conducted online and the top nine students will be selected as class representatives. Students wishing to join or become a part of the executive board must complete the petition package and collect 150 signatures from any class.

“Becoming involved in activities will enrich your time at Gannon as you strive and work toward achieving your possibilities,” Shaffer said. “It is a great feeling to help others and know that your work has helped improve lives of others in the community.”

A general assembly is held every other Thursday and any student, organization, club or staff member is welcome to attend. Students can raise concerns or make suggestions for functions they think would be beneficial to Gannon, clubs and organizations can discuss events they wish to have or any general concerns and school departments are welcome to present or discuss ideas as well.

For the Thursday meeting held at 7 p.m. in Room 213 of the Waldron Campus Center, Alan Swigorski will be doing a presentation on Blackboard. Shaffer said he will show students and faculty how to operate Blackboard because the program will begin being used in the spring in place of Angel.

Information about SGA’s budget, conferences, executive board, class representatives and how to get involved can be found on its website,

“It is our job to serve as you, the student body’s voice,” Shaffer said.


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