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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

SGA closes fall semester with campus outreach

After a semester focused primarily on the promotion of school spirit, SGA hosted three outreach events last week to hear student feedback and gear up for next semester.

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From left, freshman Sara McComish writes suggestions as freshman Student Government Association assistant Robert Hohn and senior Ruthanne Goff, vice president of business and finance, host a table Dec 1. in IC Square. PARKER CHEN/THE ITHACAN

SGA invited students to spend a “Night Out” at tc lounge on Monday to meet SGA representatives and voice concerns. About 50 students attended the event. In partnership with Dining Services, SGA offered free food samples, gave away T-shirts and raffled prizes. On Dec. 1 and last Thursday, SGA senators held another event to get student feedback at IC Square during the lunch hour.

Senior Christie O’Shea, senator for the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, said the main goal of these events was to inform students about what SGA does and improve the level of communication they have with the students.

“I saw three people come up to someone over here and say, ‘I didn’t know you were a senator,’” she said. “We think the main purpose is to let students know that we want to hear what they have to say, but a lot of it ends up being letting students know that we have a student government.”

Every year, SGA holds outreach events to take students’ opinions and requests. Julia Dunn, vice president of communications, said SGA keeps track of these demands and checks off the ones that have been addressed.

At this year’s events, SGA gave away chocolate treats and condoms at each table. Dunn said the condoms were placed to advertise SGA’s new initiative for next semester, “Ask Alice,” which is a website launched by Columbia University in which students can ask experts about topics relating to health.

“It’s not just sexual health, it’s mental health too,” Dunn said. “So we are going to be launching a campaign to promote this website.”

Most of the concerns SGA heard through the outreach events dealt with either Internet, food or parking, Dunn said. The complaints revolved around offering longer hours at dining halls and adding more parking spaces.

The most mentioned complaints related to Internet were about HomerConnect and Apogee, Dunn said. Many students said they do not get Internet access in their dorms or wireless is too slow.

“We are having people from those areas — the Office of the Registrar and Information Technology — come to our meetings to talk to us about that, so we’re better equipped with answers for students who raise those questions,” SGA President Kevin Fish said.

Sophomore David Bourne said though he originally attended the outreach for the food samples, the event allowed him to meet his SGA representative and realize the importance of SGA’s role on campus.

“It would be a good idea for students to be more aware of [SGA],” he said. “That’s what it’s there for — for us to influence the school.”

Among SGA’s top priorities this semester was to promote school spirit through the “Gold Rush” campaign, which advertised support at athletic events. It grew from a small idea, and later became a huge campaign with T-shirts being sold at the bookstore and a group being formed on Facebook with more than 180 members, Dunn said.

Fish said another important initiative SGA pursued this semester was the “Good Neighbor” campaign that encourages students to be positive facets of the local community.

“South Hill Civic Association members brought up concerns with the amount of students traveling from Ithaca College down to the Commons and disturbing the residents along the way,” he said. “So that initiative is something important that we worked on.”

One of SGA’s biggest accomplishments was providing students with safe transportation to the Cortaca football game for the first time in SGA history, Dunn said.

“That was one of our really huge projects that was just run very well,” she said. “We had many people involved in it, and there we were again supporting school spirit and safely transporting students to and from the game.”

Dunn said SGA has been working on a shuttle proposal that would offer transportation from the Circle Apartments to campus. SGA is planning to present the proposal to the administration next semester.

“We have been infamously working on [it] forever,” she said. “It is a very huge proposal; it is a huge undertaking, so understandably it has taken us a long time.”

Fish said next semester SGA will also try to collaborate more with the Cornell Student Assembly to strengthen ties between the college and Cornell University and encourage future projects between the schools.

O’Shea said she hopes the organization will continue reaching out to students through future events and programs.

“A really big thing is just letting students know that if they want to see something happen on campus, we are here to help them,” she said.

For more information on SGA events for the rest of the semester, visit www.ithaca.edu/sga.