Vice President of SGA, Brad Firchow, explains how SGA operations work in time for SGA elections.
With declaration forms for Student Government Association (SGA) now live on OUConnect, a lot of people have been asking me, “What is SGA, and how is it organized?” The following is a broad overview of SGA’s make-up and spheres of influence.
SGA is the student-led body of decision makers for student life at Oglethorpe. It has the goal of creating positive student experiences through effective programming and advocacy for student interests. SGA can be thought of as a three-pronged organization that can be sliced into the Executive Board, the Senate, and the Programming Board. These bodies work independently and collaboratively to serve students.
The SGA executive board is comprised of the Student Body President, the Vice Presidents for Senate, the Vice President for Programming Board, the Treasurer, the Secretary, the Parliamentarian, and Class Presidents. To be Student Body President, a Vice President, or Treasurer, one must have served at least one prior year on SGA (or Programming Board, in the case of Vice President for Programming).
The Student Body President facilitates weekly meetings and town halls and represents the student body to faculty, staff, and administration when called upon. Contrary to popular belief, the president actually has no vote on SGA. Their role hinges on fostering productive discussion, making sure a variety of voices and opinions are elevated. The president’s job is currently one of the more time-consuming positions, as there is an expectation that the president meets with various people such as the Dean of Students and the Provost on occasion to ensure the rest of SGA is kept in the loop on administrative changes, school policy, and other matters.
The Senate is made up of four Senators from each class, totaling 16, and is overseen by the Vice President for Senate. The senate is the originator of ideas for improving student experience on our campus. Projects led by senators in the past have included things ranging from getting Chick fil A Days in the TLCC to revitalizing the OgleTrail. Senators are charged with representing the members of their class and being accountable to them. The Vice President of Senate assists the Student Body President and ensures senators are initiating and accomplishing projects.
The Programming Board is comprised of three members from each class, totaling 12, and is overseen by the Vice President for Programming. This arm of SGA meets weekly and plans major campus-wide events such as QuadFest, Boar’s Head, and Dead Days Eve. Programming board members should be in-tune with how fellow students want to spend their free time. A deep understanding of user experience is key to a Programming Board member’s success.
Class Presidents work with the Senators in their class to execute class-targeted programming that will assist students where they are in their college experience. For example, the Junior Class often does programming centered on internships and study abroad. Class presidents must be able to lead a team to accomplish tasks.
The Treasurer runs weekly allocations meetings to fund clubs and student organizations. For the past two years, the Treasurer has overseen a large-scale allocations meeting three weeks into each semester that approves semester-long budgets for Programming Board, clubs, and student organizations. The Treasurer is responsible for managing SGA’s finances, which total around $250,000 per year. The treasurer must work closely with the university CFO and the SGA advisors.
The Secretary maintains records of all SGA meetings, organizes monthly InterClub Council meetings, and works on PR for SGA. This role is critical for publicizing SGA events and news updates to the student body.
The Parliamentarian ensures all SGA meetings are run in accord with Robert’s Rules of Order and the SGA Constitution and Bylaws. The Parliamentarian also facilitates first-year class elections in the fall semester and upperclassmen elections in the spring.