By Cole Schnieders, Copy Editor
It’s a new school year, which means Student Government Association has new leaders with new ideas.
SGA President Gabrielle Altenor says she has lots of ideas for improving campus but will focus this year on the platform she ran on: “NU Vision, NU Voice, Same Values.”
“We’re going to ensure that we have a new vision, a new voice, and advocate the same values for our students,” she said.
Part of that new vision has been a summer-long project to update the student center. Updates include new paint, carpet, lounge chairs and a pool table.
“We’re kind of creating a space where students can kind of gather and have, even despite COVID, a place to have fellowship with other students and to live,” she said.
Altenor said it was hard work, involving price negotiations, making decisions about furniture and colors, and managing work crews. But now, much of the work is complete.
“The only thing we have to do is assemble the new pool table, gather some pictures from University Relations of students that are current, and after that we'll have an official unveiling,” she said.
Altenor said other SGA work over the summer included reviewing partnerships and past allocation of student fees. One of those partnerships was the student gym membership with Genesis that’s included in student fees. Altenor looked into the YMCA, but decided against switching, she said.
“Based on mostly money...we determined that Genesis would be the best option for students,” she said.
SGA has also voted against renewing the Student Accident Shield Insurance because it only covered student accidents, not primary care, Altenor said.
“Right now we have a committee, the Student Insurance Committee, working on gathering information about health care options for students,” she said. “Whether it be telemedicine, whether it be primary care at a clinic, whether it be making our own clinic, we're looking into every possible avenue.”
Altenor said other projects subcommittees are looking into involve making cafeteria to-go meals more environmentally friendly, creating a lounge dedicated to commuter students and commissioning a mural.
“[The mural] is especially to kind of commemorate all that we’ve gone through, especially this year COVID wise. I think it would be incumbent upon us to have something that showcases how different this year was for us as well as the amazing students we have, the community we reflect,” Altenor said.
Vice President of SGA Mac Foley said the reason he joined SGA was to increase communication between student groups on campus.He said one of his first goals is to organize the different groups that ran free flu vaccine clinics on campus.
“Last year, we kind of had three different waves of the flu shot. We had student government fund some, and then we heard student athletics was funding some and then the rest of Resident Life wanted to fund some as well,” Foley said. “This year we’re trying to collaborate together so that we can get a better estimate and do this a little bit more organized.”
More importantly, Foley said, he wants students to know that SGA is there to support them and make their voices heard.
“That’s what SGA is: We’re the champions for the students,” Foley said. “Whatever people have ideas for COVID-friendly events or COVID-friendly stuff that we can do…at least bring it to a student organization, even if it’s not SGA.”
Students can attend the SGA general meetings at noon every Tuesday in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center and online on the Newman University Facebook page. Students can meet with SGA members during their office hours in the Student Center. Office hours are posted around campus and can be found on the SGA page on the Newman website alongside an electronic suggestion board.
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, University Relations