BY RAEGAN NEUFELD
The Fall 2022 semester was full of different events and accomplishments for the Student Government Association. President Ryan Stanley and Vice President Austin Ruff are excited for what the Spring 2023 semester holds.
Some of their goals are to build off of what was accomplished last semester, such as the addition of an international student seat in the Senate. According to Stanley, this addition is the “first indication of SGA’s commitment to helping international students.”
“I think it would be an injustice to my presidency if I didn’t do something about those needs that have been brought to me, so that’s one goal for me,” Stanley said.
According to Ruff, there are around 150 international students here in Hays.
“That’s just too big of a chunk of campus to not set aside some specific goals for and really look at their needs,” Ruff said.
Along with the international student senate seat, SGA is also working towards establishing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion position on the executive staff. Facilitating different means of transportation is another way SGA is looking to address the needs of international students.
“There’s not a ton of options,” Ruff said. “We helped promote Tiger Transport, came up with a few flyers for that, and this semester we’re looking at some new ways, maybe like a rideshare program of some kind for students. Just to make their lives a little bit easier.”
Communication across the governing bodies of campus was one of the main SGA goals at the beginning of the school year. Ruff noted that goal has gone very well so far, with representatives from the Faculty and Staff Senates coming to SGA meetings and vice versa.
Stanley noted that this communication is not just between the governing bodies but between all sorts of groups on campus.
“I shared with the faculty and staff at convocation that I was interested in collaborating, co-hosting events,” Stanley said. “I feel like they really heard me. I’ve gotten tons of emails throughout the semester. We’ve been able to use our funds to help student groups, or help promote different events in different ways. I would definitely say that’s gone up quite a bit since last year, so I’m really excited about that.”
For Stanley, communication continues to be a goal this semester, specifically among himself, Ruff and the other executive staff members.
“Letting each other know where we can help one another and just collaborating with one another more often, I think we get better results that way,” he said.
Looking ahead at the rest of the semester, SGA has two major events coming up. One of those is the Big Event, an annual community service project day in April, and the other is Higher Education Day. On February 15, senators, students and anyone else who wants to be involved are able to go to Topeka and talk with legislators about various higher education needs.
“A lot of times, that’s funding,” Stanley explained. “Last year, we spoke specifically on the needs for the mental health of students.”
Stanley said that Legislative Affairs Director Ella Burrows has scheduled 25 meetings with legislators so far.
Both Stanley and Ruff expressed their satisfaction with how the year has gone so far.
“I feel like we have a very good working relationship with senators this year,” Ruff said. “We’ve had a lot more informal gatherings. It’s been really fun.”
“I’m really excited about the direction SGA as a whole is headed,” Stanley said.
Other SGA highlights for the fall semester include moving the Tiger Food Exchange to the Memorial Union, the safety walk, promoting the health center and its services, and engaging with student organizations and the community with events like Trunk or Treat.
The first SGA meeting of the semester is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday in the Black and Gold Room.