SGA Year in Review

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

An overview of SGA’s initiatives from 2023-2024

As the elections for the next Student Government Association (SGA) president and executive vice president come to a close, we at the Technique wanted to take a moment to reflect on the work done under Aanjan Sikal and Harrison Baro’s term as undergraduate president and executive vice president, respectively. While they were not the endorsed candidates of the Technique last year, we were highly impressed with the work they were able to accomplish alongside their capable cabinet.

We sincerely felt that each cabinet member was truly an expert in their field and demonstrated a thorough understanding of the needs of students, as well as avenues to achieve those needs. The work of Dae’Shawn Taylor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and that of Chisom Onyia, vice president of student life in cultivating communities for underrepresented communities on campus stood out in particular. 

Taylor’s focus on lowering the barrier of entry for Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR), boosting house membership and establishing the Black caucus demonstrated his dedication to promoting accessibility and representation within student government. Onyia’s work surrounding the completion of the Divine Nine Plaza, spearheading Underrepresented Groups in Education (URGE) town halls and increasing accessibility to Ferst Center are only a few examples of her immense efforts in promoting student engagement within all groups and raising awareness of groups like the Divine Nine on campus. We appreciated both of their commitments to creating a safe space for underrepresented students on campus. 

We were also highly impressed with the work of Maxwell Oglesby, joint vice president of finance. His new budget policies were successful in maximizing equality and equity across the board, especially given the current financial circumstances, and we appreciate any efforts to push external sponsorships and funding resources. We also offer our kudos to those involved with the budget overhaul for addressing these issues within this administration rather than pushing them to the next. One initiative that we wish to highlight is the SGA emergency fund, which attempts to support events of financial crisis in students. The fund provides up to $500 in aid for students to bridge gaps in paying for necessities such as housing or textbooks. We agree that donors — here, other students — want to see where their money goes, and strongly believe in the sentiment surrounding students helping other students. We also found it encouraging to see the cabinet working on initiatives that did not simply rely on administration agreeing to help students. The initiatives of Derin Aladesanmi, vice president of well-being, will likely have lasting impacts throughout campus, specifically surrounding sexual violence, mental health and public health. We specifically commend her work with the Georgia Harm Reduction Coalition and their joint efforts to pass out Narcan, advocacy and tabling to spread resources for sexual and domestic violence and period product availability in public bathrooms. Some very tangible changes were provided by Amanda Johnston, vice president of campus services. Her work resulted in the extension of dining hall hours to 11 p.m. and specialty vending machines, as well as remediation of clashes between religious and cultural identities with gender-inclusive bathrooms. 

Going forward, we would like to see a bit less focus on Greek groups around campus. For example, the overdosing-Narcan program should be expanded beyond Greek organizations. We were impressed by how every cabinet member was able to factor well-being into their work. However, we feel this was not the case for diversity, equity and inclusivity (DEI). We would like to see DEI initiatives, such as those realized by Taylor and Onyia, as part of every cabinet member’s focus. We hope to see the next administration conduct themselves as successfully as the current, and confidently affirm that the work done under Sikal and Baro has had a notably positive impact on Tech’s student body.

The Consensus Opinion reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.