After reading a recent article that was written about the Student Government Organization and the comments that followed, I feel that a lot of people do not know what the Student Government’s responsibilities here on campus are. Every school gives their SGO a certain amount of power, and it is not the same in every school. As a result, one cannot assume that what another school’s SGO does is the same as what Carroll Community College does.
In the constitution of the SGO, it states rules, membership regulations, and, also, the objectives of the SGO at Carroll. There are exactly seven objectives, I will state them and it is up to you as the reader to come to a conclusion as to whether our SGO is doing their job as specified in the constitution, not by any preconceived notions. If you do conclude that I, or any of my fellow SGO members, do not perform these duties as we should, please feel free to come to me or one of them in person and we can talk about what measures can be taken to change that if the need should arise.
- Insure the privileges, rights, and responsibilities of all students as stipulated in the Student Bill of Rights.
- Acknowledge and support student clubs and organizations on campus that present themselves to the SGO for approval.
- Provide leadership and guidance to committees and clubs so they may organize and direct meetings and events that comply with the objectives of the organization’s constitution.
- Assist in explaining administrative views and policies to the student body.
- Seek problem areas in which student views and feedback can be represented either to faculty or administration.
- Actively encourage student involvement in all clubs, organizations, and activities and foster volunteerism both on and off campus.
- To develop a degree of professionalism in its members.
Looking at the objectives written above, it is clear that the SGO is here to serve the student body. However, the SGO at Carroll does not have power in issues such as tuition, curriculum, or class scheduling. Rather, the Student Government Organization at Carroll is here to serve the needs of students, their interests, and encourage student involvement at Carroll. There have been many times when the Board of Trustees, Academic Council, PAC, Senate, and the Foundation have asked SGO representatives what students think about certain issues when appropriate, and this opportunity is valued and appreciated by us. They have always expressed their thanks for our opinions, and have taken it into consideration. Not only do SGO members voice their opinions as well as the wishes of the student body to the fullest of their understanding at those meetings, it is their responsibility to voice the policies of the college to other students or aid them when they have a question regarding issues they have whether that be with their club or something else.
According to the constitution in bullet five, SGO representatives should, also, be actively involved in finding out what student interests and issues are and what can be done to help or resolve them. As a result of this, it is the responsibility of every SGO member to meet with the club presidents at least once a month and discuss what their needs are along with listening to any issues they may have. Clubs here at Carroll are a great way to discover what students think about topics that are relevant to the school. However, representatives should be taking other steps to reach out to those students who do not attend clubs or are not involved in other activities around the school. SGO should be unified voice to our administration all the while making sure the individual voice is still heard and valued.
The Student Government Organization of Carroll Community College is here to make sure that every student’s voice is heard. It ensures that if a student or a club has a problem with something, they can come to us. If they are looking for ways to be involved at the school we can provide them with the means. If they are unsure what to do, we are here.
When reflecting upon these objectives, there is no evidence to suggest that an SGO member has to be a good public speaker, or has to have previous leadership experiences. Although it is the SGO President’s responsibility to give the speeches at the New Student Orientations, while it would bode well for that person to have good public speaking skills, it should not be and is not required. If you look back at the objectives, the word “clubs” is listed in almost half of them. This leads me to believe that our primary objective is to encourage students to participate in clubs, and be there for the presidents of the clubs when they have issues. SGO is to be a role model to other organizations in the school, and as such should promote the qualities they wish to see while being held accountable for what they do. SGO is supposed to be a team working toward the organizational goals, but still maintaining openness to other opinions and other perspectives. The main goal of the SGO is to serve the students and encourage involvement. When doing this, it develops leadership qualities in the individual that that person will be able to use for the rest of his/her life. Some may perform these objectives better than others, but no one leaves the SGO untouched. My hope is that those same people have touched this school as well, and have changed it for the better.
SGO cannot be compared to what other Student Governments do, nor should they be compared to what the government of the United States does. It should be compared to how the school was from the beginning of the year, and how the SGO board has met (or not met) these objectives in their year. Have they changed the school for the better, or is it the same as when the year started? To avoid this, the SGO must set goals for each year and proactively attempt to reach those goals. Without the SGO, the student’s voice would not be heard and it is their job to ensure that it is.
As stated at the beginning of this article, if you feel that the SGO of Carroll Community College is not meeting the standards set in their constitution, please feel free to come to us and we will address these issues—that is a big part of who we are: having your voice and opinions heard. However, if you are not willing to come and talk to us than have some respect for the work that the SGO does, and do no criticize it. Do not hide behind an anonymous name but rather speak up, and your voice will be acknowledged and respected.
As a concluding thought, I would encourage every student here at our great community college to get more involved and make a difference in the lives of their fellow students. And if any student, age fifteen to eighty-five, feels that they can do a good job then I would encourage them to step up to the plate and run for SGO! I’d love to see more involvement from our students on campus.