SGA Execs hope to amplify student voices

Sarah Freyermuth ’19 and Abbie Haug ’19 were elected as the Student Government Association (SGA) President and Vice President, respectively, for the 2018-19 school year. They ran last spring with the campaign, “Putting the ‘student’ back in student government.” Through student feedback, they plan to let students advocate for themselves.

One of Freyermuth’s goals for the year is to invite the student body “to the table,” or to allow them to participate in the conversations SGA and administration have on students’ behalf.

“We’re trying to figure out, what are ways that administrators can invite students to the table at the front end so that all of the big decisions on campus that are really going to impact student life are made – not only with students in mind – but with students actually at the table advocating for themselves,” Freyermuth said. “Which students are the ones being heard?”

To stay connected with the student body, the pair collects extensive feedback from students by tabling on Mondays and having discussions with students around campus. Haug believes that if SGA can proactively act on this feedback, they can stay ahead of campus issues.

“It is still important to be responsive as things come up, but in what ways can we engage with the students or engage with the administration on different campus concerns and student issues before they get too big or too bad or dangerous,” Haug said.

The two executives work as a liaison between students and administration, presenting this feedback at Senate each week. From here, Haug says they continually revisit the issues brought forward through student concerns.

“We want to pay extra attention to make sure that there is follow-up and make sure that from those ideas, policies change,” Freyermuth said.

In order to create a more inclusive and responsive SGA, Freyermuth and Haug are conducting a year-long  audit and reallocating funds to reflect their findings.

“All the money we are spending has an impact and [we are] really looking at – what is every dollar going to? What is the way that we can use each dollar to its fullest?” Haug said, explaining their goal of advocacy in their budget and programming.

After their audit, they plan to do more inclusive and intersectional programs and events that “reach as many students in as many pockets on campus as possible,” according to Haug.

“We’re hoping that data will help us and help further years make informed decisions and make sure that SGA is really reaching all students equally,” Freyermuth said.

They plan to analyze the data and implement the changes by spring 2019.

“[SGA] really does have the capacity and potential to serve a lot of students and advocate for the students to the administration,” Freyermuth said, discussing their reasons for running for SGA President and Vice President.