By: KATE LUCE
With IU’s system-wide push for classes to go online, the Student Government Association (SGA) is not stopping to provide for students and function as an organization.
The SGA is currently looking into ways to help students and faculty who are affected by the university’s response. There is a lot of stress during this time, but the SGA is an advocate for students and faculty.
“The SGA currently wants to be an ally to students as they are going through these stressful times. Many students are getting forced out of housing, and now have to look for jobs at home, even when so many people have already been laid off. Along with financial stresses, there will be stresses with transitioning from what are normally lecture-based courses, into online courses. Many of the faculty understand the struggles students are currently having, and they are having the same struggles, but in cases where students are having a difficult time meeting their newfound obligations, the SGA wants to be a voice of advocacy for them,” Taylor Worthington, SGA Vice President, said.
Some things are set to change with the SGA. So far, the SGA will be hosting their regularly scheduled meetings via Zoom. The SGA is encouraging students to join their Zoom call, as they will be providing important information from the university and can answer any questions they may come about.
In addition to the change of these meetings to video conference calls, the SGA is looking to create a piece of legislation that allows each club’s funds that were given and not used this semester, to go over to the summer and fall semester. According to Rodger Pinto, no one in the SGA is opposed to this legislation.
“We did not want that to be something that ended at the end of this year,” Pinto said.
However, this leaves the SGA with unused funding still left over from this year.
“We have communicated with the administration that we do have a pretty healthy budget left with the Student Government. We are trying to figure out exactly how we can apply that to the end of the year or the next couple of months to support the student body in this difficult time. I say that because we have funds, and if we can help with those funds this year, we are going to do that, rather than roll it into next year,” Pinto said.
As of now, nothing has been finalized on where or how the SGA can help, but Pinto says there are a few things the SGA might be able to do with the leftover funds from the budget.
“There are a few ideas. From looking at the technology side, and maybe trying to get some more WiFi hotspots, so people can have access to the internet, to looking at insecurities [access to food],” Pinto said.
Committees are currently being reorganized. The Budgeting Committee and Philanthropy Committee are still working as they regularly do. As for the Student Engagement Committee is now focusing on sending out surveys focusing on how IU South Bend is handling the COVID-19 response.
Elections, Student Life, and SGA awards are still set to go this semester. However, the SGA is planning on figuring out the best way to have students actively participate in the elections, despite not being active on campus. Whether it’s a campaign through social media or another way to handle this situation is currently getting talked about.
“We are looking to see if it’s a good idea to extend the executive cabinet to the end of the summer to try to make it accessible for people to run … What we are working on now is how we carry out the elections in a manner that can have all of campus participate in and have the same amount of access,” Pinto said.
The forms on Titan Atlas are still available to interested students who are interested in being a part of the SGA. Students can fill out applications until Monday, April 6, and they can be accessed here: https://titanatlas.iusb.edu/submitter/form/step/1?Guid=5a70b411-80de-4129-adf2-f55b95950c19
Students or faculty that have any questions or concerns can contact the SGA at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.