Student Government Association President David Watson says he is in the process of making several changes within SGA.”I’ve been very involved with student government, and over time I’ve created a vision for student government and seen its potential,” Watson said.
Watson, a junior entrepreneurial management major, previously served as a representative, permanent improvements chairman and treasurer.
After working as treasurer, Watson said he can create a better system to disperse activities funding than the system in place.
Currently, requests for funding are submitted throughout the semester and considered by SGA when they are received. However, organizations will soon submit their requests a semester in advance and meet an early deadline to be considered for assistance.
“The problem is a lot of these organizations that come to us, it’s unfair how they get money because some of them come later in the semester, and we don’t have as much money left in the budget,” Watson said.
Hunter Duncan, a junior English and business management major and president of the Interfraternity Council, said he disagrees with the one-deadline system.
Duncan ran against Watson in the last semester’s presidential race.
“Before, you could ask for money whenever you needed it, but now you have to ask a semester ahead,” Duncan said. “Sometimes you don’t know so far ahead if you will be short.”
The one-deadline system was presented and passed at the end of last semester after Watson became president. It is in effect for the fall 2005 semester.
Watson also increased the amount of money SGA will provide.
“Instead of holding onto the money, we’re giving more back to the students and the student organizations,” Watson said.
In addition to his work with activities funding, Watson created a task force to research more accurate ways to represent the student body.
Currently students are represented by where they live. Residents living on campus and commuters get one representative for roughly 70 people. Each fraternity and sorority housed on campus with at least 20 residents gets a representative.
The problem, Watson said, is commuters do not have enough representatives in the House of Student Representatives.
The task force will consider options to change representation, including choosing representatives by class, choosing by student organizations or refining the system based on where students live.
Also, becoming the president of SGA made Watson chair of Intercom, a group of students who preside over about 12 organizations on campus.
This group will meet with the student relations committee of the Board of Trustees this semester, and preparing for the meeting is high on Watson’s list of priorities this semester.
Watson said he wants to discuss increasing financial aid and scholarships with Intercom members in the hopes that it will be presented to the Board of Trustees.
Duncan and Watson will work together on Intercom because Duncan is the president of IFC.
“Despite the history between Watson and I, I feel that any grudge either of us could’ve had was let go, and I look forward to working with him,” Duncan said.
Watson is also working on creating a campus calendar of events to avoid scheduling conflicts, implementing a system of peer advising, getting student input about the new Student Center and improving communication from SGA to the students, faculty and administration.
House Vice President Trevor Smith, a sophomore entrepreneurial management major, said he also believes communicating with students is important.
He said he wants to find a better way to keep students informed of accomplishments in the House.
“We could put a big plaque (on our contributions around campus), but it’s not to say we did it, it’s to say ‘this is where your money is going,'” Smith said.
Although Smith ran on a different ticket than Watson, he said they work well together.
Watson said he considers all the changes he is in the process of making to be important.