Evan Englander, SA President
The SA column has always been, and will continue to be, a fixture of the State Times, updating the campus community on what we are doing in the basement of Hunt Union. The column’s topic will vary from week to week. On a biweekly basis, Zachary Silver, the SA Director of Communications and Public Relations, will sum up our business from the previous two weeks. On the alternating weeks the other directors and executive board members will update the campus as to what they have personally accomplished and have in the works. For our first column, I would like to address the issues that Dan Pneuman raised in a column entitled “Administration, SA Do Little to Include Student Body” in the September 21 issue.
Many of the aforementioned concerns are already being addressed in order to make it as easy as possible for students to know what their elected officials are doing, as well as for them to have their voices heard. To quote the referenced column, “While there is an element of apathy within students, all students cannot be expected to come to the general meetings every Tuesday night. This is why most proper leaders understand that it is necessary to regularly connect to their constituents by taking advantage of the many forums available to them…” We understand that people have better things to do than to come to a Senate meeting every week. Regardless, all of these meetings are open to all students, faculty, staff and community members. All minutes from meetings of the SA Senate are public record and this year will be posted on Campus Connection as soon as all of the technological kinks are straightened out.
The Senate acts as a forum, not only for the governance of over 100 clubs and for dozens of services that the SA provides in order to benefit the SUNY Oneonta community, but also for students to come speak to their representatives on a regular basis if they recognize and wish to address a problem. Senate meetings occur every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Waterfront Cafe, located on the ground level of Hunt Union. Please give us notice at least 24 hours in advance so you can be added to the next meeting’s agenda—a little planning goes a long way.
When running for SA President, my main platform was open communication and that is what the Student Association offers. Communication is the key to anything and everything in life and is what led to such events as the SA providing vans for OSES to travel to Binghamton University to help with their disaster relief shelter after the extreme flooding ruined people’s homes. Communication is what led to a more frequent and reliable bus schedule, one of the many services provided for students by the SA. Aside from Senate meetings, we also have a variety of ways to be contacted in order for concerns to be addressed. The Student Association email account ([email protected]), Facebook page (SUNY Oneonta Student Association) and Twitter account (@OneontaSA) are all avenues through which the SA can be contacted by anyone with Internet or phone access. We are also looking into certain events to hear what the students have to say. One such way will be “Office Hours in the Quad,” during which the Executive Board will host their office hours publicly to be more readily available to students, in addition to holding such office hours in the Student Association office on the bottom floor of Hunt Union. We are also looking into some other open forum-type events to ensure that students feel connected to their government and to feel that their opinion matters, because on this campus more than any other, it certainly does.
There is one topic that I will agree on with the column and that is that the elected officials of the Student Association do not reach out to the community enough. On the whole, Senators do not reach out—that is, until now. As of the September 14 Senate meeting, each Senator was assigned a certain number of clubs to which they will serve as a liaison on behalf of the Student Association. As for those students who are not in clubs and will not have this direct line of communication, all senators are strongly encouraged to talk to those who elected them.
In the most recent Student Opinion Survey, which is conducted by the SUNY office in Albany and covers everything about our campus from parking and dining to academics and diversity, our Student Association was rated higher in student satisfaction than any other student government in the SUNY system; we were rated the same way in regards to how the Student Activity Fee is used. The SA is extremely proud of these statistics and we look forward to keeping our student satisfaction rates strong in the coming year. In summation, as our slogan states, the Student Association is here “For Students, By Students.” However, in order for this perfect union to exist, the relationship must be a two-way street.
If any student would like to meet with me to discuss any issues, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at [email protected] or via phone at 607-436-2785. I very much look forward to working with you to better our campus.