This year the House of Student Representatives is getting a new face in the form of 80 percent new members.SGA President Jace Thompson said a lot of students have conflicts with meeting times and if a participant has class it is difficult to be involved in the House. He said this leaves positions open to be filled by other students, which may explain the increase in new members.
Thompson said because being a Student Government Association representative in the House is an elected position, the increase in new members is not so much a rise in participation but rather a rise in the number of applications SGA receives.
“One hundred and sixty-four incoming students expressed interest in SGA and 70 or more students applied for Frog Aides alone,” Thompson said.
Thompson said he thinks about 200 people are involved in SGA, including people holding positions in the Programming Council, Frog Aides and many more branches of the student government.
Jonathan Leer, who was in SGA for three years, said he thinks the reason for the large increase in new students is overcommitment.
“Students become overcommitted,” said Leer, a senior finance and accounting major. “They pile on all these social clubs and organizations and when they do poorly on a test they think ‘Oh, what can I get rid of?'”
Leer said he resigned for similar reasons.
“Well it wasn’t anything student government did or didn’t do that I was mad at, but as I thought about it, if I became a rep, that was a yearlong commitment,” Leer said. “Since I’m graduating in December, it wasn’t fair to take a spot from someone who could make that commitment.”
Although Leer has his own reasons for having left, he said he wishes the number of new faces was not so high.
“You always want new faces, new voices, new ideas for the future but I think the problem is that when you have a lot of new people you have to train them and if they leave you have to train more individuals to come in,” Leer said. “When that happens we lose the effectiveness of House.”
Haley Murphy, parliamentarian and junior class representative, said she’s been involved in SGA for four semesters and plans to stick with it.
“Over the past few years we’ve done a lot of new good things,” said Murphy. “We’ve started some good resolutions and I think I would regret walking away from it with all that’s going on.”
Murphy, a political science and history major, said she thinks it is great there are so many people interested in the House.
“This is the first time I can think of that the house has been completely full,” said Murphy. “I think it’s great and I hope they stay interested.”
Thompson agreed the growing student interest in SGA is exciting as long as the students interested are in it for the long haul.
“As long as executive and upperclass leadership is not new, then getting new members is a good thing,” Thompson said.