One of the changes in SGA rolling out this semester is the significant alteration of the structure of UHR’s leadership. A recent amendment to the bylaws created a new house leadership system intended to bring a more efficient and impacting system.
“[UHR] created these new positions…to really organize and streamline the House”, said Speaker of the House Mike Mosgrove.
According to Mosgrove, the most significant leadership position created was the role of UHR Pro Tempore, whose role will be much like the former Chief of Staff, acting as the right hand man or woman to the speaker.
The position of Pro Temp will go into effect for the 2013-14, and the role will be filled in Spring 2013 when the 2013-14 Speaker of the House is elected The timing is intended to allow the pair to work together through the summer, aiming to have an efficient and fluid system in place by the 2013 fall semester.
“[The Pro Temp is] going to help organize these new, or existing positions in a meaningful manner so that [representatives] can be more empowered to reach out to organizations,” said senior representative Gregory Jones.
For now, the only action taken has been to reach out to current UHR representatives inquiring into any interest in the position.
Along with the Pro Temp, a system of caucuses, each with their own leadership position, is also being developed. A caucus will be created for each of the six colleges of campus and will elect its own leader, with an intent to help representatives deal with those issues that are specific to their college for their constituents in a smaller setting.
“Instead of trying to speak up in front of the whole SGA…you can speak in front of your caucus, and bring up issues before a committee and…be able to challenge things, and come up with solutions better,” said CEE representative Evan Boyce, who was also on the steering committee that dealt with this amendment this past summer.
Caucuses are intended to make it easier, quicker and more effective for organizations to come before SGA.
“With the creation of some of these new leadership positions, we have the ability to start getting information from those representatives as to what their constituents want and then hopefully, start utilizing SGA’s power and influence to serve the needs of those constituents in a more meaningful way than just getting funding for their clubs,” Jones said.
“There was a policy to create some sort of caucus, but it was never utilized before. So we’ve just taken [the idea] and just kind of rebranded it with this new position,” Mosgrove said.
While these changes are intended to make representatives more accessible to students, Mosgrove regarded the overall matter as strictly an “internal thing.”
“Hopefully…by having a more organized and streamlined system…we will be able to open up better lines of communication with constituents as well,” Mosgrove said.
SGA is emphasizing that taking the initiative to communicate with constituents is a responsibility of the representatives. They have not, however, outlined any specifics as to how that will be done.
“It is honestly up to them how they choose to do it. Ways that Representatives have reached out in the past include dining hall visits, holding office hours in their respective academic buildings, etc.,” Mosgrove said. “I trust the representatives and their new leaders to coordinate effective and consistent communication initiatives in order to stay informed.”
Aiming to recruit new SGA representatives, a New Membership chair position has also been created to focus on building a mentoring program for the newer representatives to get them more involved in the organization as a whole.