Student Government Association plans for spring semester

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Student Government Association executive officers have many plans and ideas for the Spring 2019 semester including issues of parking, Senate legislation and events.

Junior political science major and SGA Attorney General Lauren-Hunter Gaudet said the SGA judicial board has many plans that she said should benefit the student body. The SGA judicial board is the branch of the SGA that governs over appeals and interpreting the SGA’s governing documents.

Gaudet said the judicial board is in the process of polling and surveying the student body about how much they know about parking.

“We want to know what [students] don’t know about parking,” Gaudet said. “We want to get that information, so we can work in the future to get information out.”

Gaudet said the judicial board works with parking management during the appeals process, meaning that the board helps to decide if an appeal is worth considering by striking the appeal or reducing the fee.

Gaudet also said they constructed a record of precedence, which is a record of every decision the judicial board has made and will be used to help determine on-coming appeals. The record will be public to judicial board members and regular students alike.

“Over eight meetings we kept a record of precedence and we wrote down the type of appeal—maybe a quick reason. Just a quick summary of the appeal and how we voted on it,” Gaudet said. “We are working to make [the record] look clean.”

Gaudet and the judicial board are only one side of the multi-branch organization. SGA Senate, headed by senior psychology major and SGA Vice President Corai Jackson plan on creating more legislation that Jackson said will help the student body.

“This semester we are looking to produce a lot more quality legislation,” Jackson said. She also said she is looking to make the Senate more productive.

Senate’s first session will occur Thursday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. at Scianna Hall, and Jackson said the session schedule will not be completed until Tuesday, Jan. 29. She also said she and the Senate are excited to get the opportunity to pass more legislation that will affect the student body as a whole.

Jackson said that one piece of legislation is being made with association with Parking Management to reduce parking fees with donations to Eagle’s Nest.

“If you donate X amount of non-perishables, you get X amount taken off of your parking ticket,” Jackson explained when asked what the process would be.

Corai said they would also tackle parking concerns, mentioning the legislation that Senator Andrew King created to take faculty parking spaces out of Pearl St. by the Liberal Arts Building. Though the legislation was not passed, Parking Management did decide to remove the spots and changed commuter parking in the Theater and Dance building to staff and faculty.

“[The spot removal] is definitely something we can harp on and we are proud of that even though we didn’t have to create any piece of legislation,” Jackson said.

Jackson also said the SGA plans to do a plethora of events during the spring semester starting with The Big Event, which will be Feb. 24.

“The Big Event is underway right now, so that is one of the biggest events in the spring that we have to look forward to,” Jackson said. “It is one of my favorites.”

Senior communication studies major and SGA President McKenna Stone said the big event is a day in where students meet and volunteer for community service projects across Hattiesburg.

“All the students [participating] are going to meet at The Rock for an hour-ish pep rally and then they will be disseminated across Hattiesburg to do community service for a couple hours,” Stone said.

Stone said the SGA plans to collaborate with the City of Hattiesburg more in the spring semester, and her personal goal is to further develop Varsity, the volunteer program Stone created with the help of executive officers and implemented in the fall semester.

“I think we did such a good job in the fall rolling [Varsity] out. We had over 200 students find a home in varsity,” Stone said. “It is really encouraging to know it is doing what it is supposed to be doing intentionally.”

Stone said she was happy to see Varsity’s retention rate. Many students that signed up for Varsity have also gone on to look into working with the SGA formally.

Stone said they plan to expand varsity to a wider platform, using Varsity volunteers at Southern Miss or Hattiesburg events not sponsored by the SGA.

Stone said the SGA is also gearing up for elections, and that many people have already begun to announce their running. Starting Monday, Jan. 28, students will be able to sign up to run for executive officer positions. On Feb. 26 and 28 the student body will vote.

“Right after the Big Event, students will go out and vote for their next SGA officers,” Stone said.

photo courtesy Southern Miss SGA website