Student Government Association Implements Big Changes on Campus

Student Government Association Implements Big Changes on Campus

The College of Charleston Student Government Association (SGA) has been very busy since the start of the academic year in the fall of 2018. From reduced prices for Green Taxi rides to free feminine hygiene products, SGA wants to improve the campus for all Cougars.

To review all of the 2018-2019 accomplishments, SGA will meet on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center, Room 101. But this isn’t just listing the wins – the group wants more students to join the association. Details regarding SGA election information sessions for students interested in running for a position with the association next year will be discussed, and these details were also emailed to all students in case they can’t make the meeting.

2018-2019 Student Government Association members.

“It is important for students to get involved with SGA because SGA is the students’ voice to the administration, faculty, city and beyond, and it gives them an opportunity to make real, lasting and meaningful change in our campus community,” says SGA president Tripp Keeffe.

One such effort was to help students without cars have access to free or affordable transportation around the city. That led the SGA to partner with Charleston Green Taxi.

“For the Green Taxi Pilot Program, we negotiated a deal with Charleston Green Taxi, a local ride share and taxi company started by an alum, for SGA to fund 1,000 free or reduced cost rides around the Charleston area for students,” says Keeffe. “The program works by signing up for the app with your email address. You are then invited to join the CofC SGA account and, once you do so, you have the option to enter the promo code ‘COFC’ which takes $7 off your ride.”

For those who have noticed free tampons and pads in some campus bathrooms, SGA worked with Student Affairs to secure permanent annual funding for the feminine hygiene products, and they worked out a permanent distribution plan with facilities and custodial services.

This semester, Keeffe says the association has turned its focus to making sure the College is a welcoming place for all students.

“The main focus of what we are working on this semester is implementing changes that can improve the campus climate around diversity and inclusion,” he says.

Here is a list of ongoing SGA initiatives for the Spring 2019 Semester:

  • Work to create a program to incentivize students, through student organizations, to attend events that would be beneficial for the campus, including events that would enhance the campus climate on diversity, school spirit and safety.
  • Increase communication further by creating a program whereby student organizations could request representatives from student government for the purposes of hearing out concerns or explaining SGA processes.
  • Work with the administration, faculty, staff, and student body to create a marketable pledge to uphold the institution’s values that could be given to incoming students.
  • Streamline the FAST Form to be more conducive to self-reporting incidents of discomfort or concern.
  • Work with the Office of Institutional Diversity to create a diverse lunch group to introduce students to those across various racial or cultural lines that they might not otherwise meet, to foster a stronger climate of inclusion on campus.
  • Work to create more networks for engagement between Alumni of Color and Students of Color.
  • Work with IT to roll out the LiveSafe safety app successfully over summer 2019.
  • Work to get more glove recycling options for science students in the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center.
  • Execute a social media push to make students aware of the various discounts available to them in the Charleston area.

Here is a list of completed SGA Initiatives for the 2018-2019 Academic Year (up to February 2019): 

  • Secured an annual funding and distribution plan for free feminine hygiene products around campus in collaboration with Facilities Management and the Division of Student Affairs.
  • Ran a successful pilot program of free ride sharing through Charleston Green Taxi.
  • Improved SGA communication with student body through the creation of a position for enhancing communication and running social media, through holding more meet-and-greet events on campus, and through a collaboration with CisternYard Media.
  • Aided the Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee by providing student input and feedback throughout all phases of the presidential search.
  • Worked with the faculty and administration to create an Open Educational Resource (OER) incentive program that began this semester (spring 2019).
  • Worked with the Office of the Registrar and IT to make unofficial transcripts easier to download.
  • Passed a resolution expressing student support for certain changes around campus that would enhance traffic safety, with implementation to be discussed with city officials this semester (spring 2019) in coordination with the President’s Office.
  • Got approval for the creation of a new crosswalk across St. Philip Street at Liberty and St. Philip Streets.
  • Organized and completed a safety walk with Public Safety and facilities staff to make both areas aware of parts of campus that are less safe so improvements can be made.
  • Created a dedicated diversity council to ensure SGA is hearing concerns from as many different communities on campus as possible.
  • Organized and executed a successful bike auction and donated some of the available bikes to the Office of Sustainability to further develop their Bike Share Program.
  • Aided the Division of Student Affairs and Office of Institutional Diversity in conducting listening sessions about how to respond to an incidence of racism on Halloween and, in response to the concerns expressed, passed a sweeping resolution of initiatives aimed at fostering a more inclusive and diverse campus climate.
  • Worked with Aramark to provide student feedback and student concerns to improve Dining Services and catering experiences.
  • Expanded the Excess Food Distribution Program begun last year, and worked with the Food and Housing Security Task Force on other initiatives to address these issues.
  • Worked with the Faculty General Education Committee to pass a resolution in favor of expanding materials, such as website space, that explain the purpose of general education requirements for the liberal arts tradition to students.
  • Expanded the Pep Club committee on SGA which collaborated with Athletics to hold several events aimed at increasing school spirit and athletic event attendance such as a successful tailgate before a home basketball game.
  • Worked with Facilities Management and IT to bring a synchronized electronic clock system to campus, beginning in Maybank Hall.
  • Collaborated with Public Safety and the City of Charleston Fire Department to distribute new smoke detectors given to the city by a First Alert Grant for students living off campus.
  • Created a blanket and inflatable couch rental program in Stern Student Center.