During the State of the Student address on Monday, Lauren Fuhring, the president of the Student Government Association, detailed the actions SGA has taken to make the voice of the student body heard, specifically with regard to the issues President Mercer spoke of in his State of the College address two weeks ago.
SGA focuses on advocating for the students, understanding the challenges they are going through and making life on campus better for students. According to Fuhring, in order to do these things, student input is necessary.
The College has undergone policy and schedule changes that have greatly impacted the social and academic lives of students at Ramapo. To make sure that these changes do not negatively affect the student body, SGA has created a petition that includes suggested fines and guidelines that will make “maintaining life on campus much easier,” according to Fuhring.
The petition is now in the hands of President Mercer and his cabinet, and has about 1,000 signatures from students, alumni and faculty. Those who signed also added comments about the new policy and schedule changes.
SGA also put together three separate forms of legislation to change specific fines and language in the student handbook. These documents are also in the hands of President Mercer and his cabinet, according to Fuhring.
The RamaPledge, another initiative by SGA, was made for students to sign, in promise that they will never be a bystander to sexual assault and will step in if someone is in need and utilize the resources Ramapo has made available. Students were not the only ones that signed this pledge – faculty, staff and a few deans also got involved, said Fuhring.
The RamaPledge will soon be merged with a project called “It’s On Us,” a nationally respected campaign regarding sexual assault awareness and prevention. Many departments, organizations and clubs will be joining SGA on this project.
Acting Dean of Students Melissa Van Der Wall asked Fuhring what she would do if she had the opportunity to change the social atmosphere on campus. Fuhring responded by saying that speaking to the students about the changes is important, rather than just enacting new policies without their knowledge.
"A lot of students feel as if they don't have a voice,” said Fuhring. "I want them to know that SGA is there for them more than anything else.”
SGA will be having a breakfast on March 5. In order to get food, all students have to do is tell SGA something they would like to see changed on campus.
"The relationship between the Student Government Association, College Programing Board, Commuter Affairs and Black Student Union have grown leaps and bounds," said Olivia Evans, graduate assistant for student activities and commuter affairs.
May 2015 is just around the corner, and SGA has many plans in the works to enact before the end of the year. A few of these include a discussion about the alcohol policy changes with the president’s council and continuing with the petition for schedule changes.
The address ended with Fuhring assuring, “I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday, this is what SGA can promise you. Every day we sacrifice our time to make this school the best it can for you.”