SGA leaders discuss goals for the upcoming year

The Student Government Association (SGA) has a myriad of goals for this upcoming year. One of the major concerns of SGA and Tech as a whole is the recent spike in crimes in the past year and efforts to combat it. Additional issues include further attempts to reach out and communicate with the student body as well as faculty members. The student government plans on implementing various policies and events over this course of this school year that will go towards achieving these stated goals.

With regard to achieving increased safety, SGA will be focusing most of its efforts towards raising the student population’s awareness of crime happenings and ways to stay safe around campus. One new strategy is the creation of the student safety task force. Alina Staskevicius, undergraduate student body president, explained the reasoning behind the task force’s creation.

“Student government members felt the need to create a task force so that we can better voice student concerns and try to get some students directly involved with and fix the issues and address crime around campus,” Staskevicius said.

The task force has already been formed over the summer but it will be organizing an off-campus student organization. This organization will be composed of and will be open to all students. Examples of the off-campus organization’s responsibilities will include presentations on neighborhood watches.

According to Staskevicius, SGA hopes that eventually the organization will come to represent students in home owner’s associations.

“I think it’ll be a great body for lobbying and giving input for things like broken gates or increased lighting,” Staskevicius said.

The SGA safety task force is organizing a safety awareness night that will take place on August 27 at 7 p.m.

“It will be open to the larger community,” Staskevicius said. “We really wanted to focus specifically on freshman who may be unaware of some of the safety programs they may be taking advantage of, especially as they’ll be living in the city, as well as some of the international students who are coming in from different areas…we’re also looking at students who are living off campus because there are so many prevention tips they could be taking advantage of.”

According to Brenda Morales-Pico, chair of the Institute-wide committee in SGA, the Georgia Tech Police Department will be giving a presentation at the safety awareness night.

“They’ll be giving safety tips and crime prevention…they have in turn invited the Atlanta Police Department to speak. We have also invited one of the students who have been involved in crimes to come speak,” Pico said. “We’ll also be handing out fliers and safety tips [at the event]…I know that the police department as well as Georgia Tech communications and marketing have been working with Papa Johns on Tenth Street to try to get fliers with safety tips put on all the pizza boxes that are sent out to the area.”

Another area the task force is looking at is transportation. Currently there is ongoing discussion with Parking and Transportation about the possibility of providing different off-campus transportation options at night.

One example is Stingerette service, which has expanded to include Home Park, Centennial Place, and the Marta station over the summer. However, the expanded service seems unlikely to remain in the fall due to the influx of students and subsequent higher demand.

“They’re expecting more students to take advantage of the service. At the busiest times last year they were having 800 calls in one night” Pico said.

To compensate for the lost service, the task force is entering into discussion with other car companies to see if they are willing to assume off-campus transportation responsibilities.

Other areas on SGA’s agenda involve academic areas at Tech. One proposal involves extending the add/drop deadline, while another involves an elaboration of dead week policy.

“Right now the policy is pretty much just a sentence and we want to elaborate on it and hold professors to it because a lot of the time we find that students are cramming and turning in projects or homework and taking tests during dead week when really there shouldn’t be any of that happening,” Staskevicius said.

Change is also occurring to SGA itself. Freshman elections will be held for the first time to give the incoming class of students a voice in the legislation. Elections will be held late in the fall.

In order to help students hit by the economic downturn, SGA has procured 8,000 notebooks and 8,000 planners from different companies and will distribute them free to students at the student center and the library.

A welcome back party, scheduled for the same day as President Bud Peterson’s investiture, is also being hosted by SGA. The celebration will be held on 7 p.m. at September the third. The event will showcase different student organizations, a performance by the GTG’s and a fireworks show. SGA was also responsible for the football ticketing changes that take effect this year.