ENC students elected new Executive Student Government Association members this past February and followed it up with the class council elections in April. Besides seeing smiling faces on posters, ENC students are entitled to have more substantive knowledge of what these elected officials are doing for them.
Initial qualifications for running for SGA include the candidates being full-time students with a GPA above 2.7 and the ability to put together a poster with their face on it. These posters are the equivalent to a declaration speech at a pep rally as they are the official documentation required to run for president.
Once a candidate has declared his or her intention to run, an election is held by the student body. Following the popular vote is the controversial electoral vote by the Electoral Board that serves as a governing body over all campus elections. The E-Board makes sure that the candidates have more to offer than just a smiling face and a name that that can rhyme with a catchy slogan.
Members of SGA have their powers limited, in part due to the descriptions in Article 3 in Section 2 of the SGA Student Body Constitution. Anyone who runs for president so they can bring back the Theater major or legalize the usage of marijuana on campus is going to be in for a rude awakening when they find out that they don’t have the authority to influence such decisions.
So what do SGA elected officials do? SGA officials are required to be accountable to the student body. The executive duties that are accomplished with this accountability relate to promoting school spirit, attending SGA events, and being a responsible, role model of the college’s Christian ideals.
Professional politicians face scrutiny from professional journalists who play their part in the transparency game by informing the public about past actions that might affect current policy-making decisions. Fortunately, SGA candidates don’t have Veritas News reporters looking for skeletons in the closets from their high school days. Because we attend a Christian college focused on maintaining religious values that include forgiveness and compassion, this makes sense.
However, one area of transparency that might be open to scrutiny is how SGA allocates money to different student organizations and events. According to Article 5, Section 2 of the SGA Student Body Constitution, the student fees fund the SGA budget. Much like how taxes pay for the government projects to employ citizens, student fees fund student events to engage students on campus. Any complaints concerning how SGA operates their budget are directed to the Executive Vice President, who also serves as the Director of Finance.
The relationship between the SGA Executive President and Vice President is similar to the relationship between a lieutenant and a soldier. The President keeps everything running through their ability to manage SGA, but the Vice President is the one who is most at risk in performing their duties.
Serving as the business manager of SGA, the VP is responsible for creating a budget that is in accord with all other SGA positions and be able to manage that budget throughout their term. With 37 positions across SGA, there is little room for error as far as budget goes. Similarly enough to military repercussions as stated in the constitution, the Vice President, not the Executive President, is subject to review by the Vice President of Student Development, Julianna Oates, if questions arise regarding the Vice President’s performance.
The Director of Spiritual Life’s responsibility is to coordinate any spiritual or service-related events on campus. This position could be as broad as deciding who speaks at a chapel or as limited to deciding what day chapel speakers talk, but the constitution does not outline this. The Director of Recreational life and the Director of Publicity both hold self-explanatory positions; however, these roles limit themselves to attending meetings rather than delegating tasks.
SGA is the older sibling among the students who make up our campus family. As such, SGA can stand up to their parents in administration, but still has to listen to them since they live under their roof. At times, it may appear that the rest of the student body are the younger children left in the living room without a voice in the family, but we all do have say in what SGA does. Members of SGA have office hours for a reason. They welcome student input in the form of complaints and suggestions, and if you can’t visit during their office hours, they have a drop box where you can leave them a message.
However in order to do this, students have to want to be informed in the first place and take an active role in peeking into the room and asking about the conversations being held between their siblings and their parents.