THE STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 350 Ferst Dr NW Atlanta, GA 30318 (404) 894-2814
GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Student Government Association Communications Board
November 10, 2010
BI-WEEKLY NEWSLETTER BY Vice President of Communications, Brooke McDaniel
Fellow Yellow Jackets, After a brief hiatus for SGA week, the biweekly briefing is back to inform you of all things SGA. We’ve made it through midterms, are so close to Thanksgiving Break and better yet, only a month away from freShGA’s annual all-night sporting event in the CRC, One Night Stand! See below for what we’re doing for you! It’s Your Voice: External Affairs Month: Each month, as we focus on a different sector of SGA to inform you about what we’re doing, we hope to hear from you on issues as well. This month we are featuring the External Affairs Board, chaired by Elle Creel. Please plan to attend Open Forum at the UHR meeting on Tuesday, November 30 to share your opinions on all things involving community relations to SGA! Everyone is encouraged to attend and to speak up with anything that is on your mind! See a message from Elle below: In recognition of the interconnectedness of our campus with the greater Atlanta community, this year SGA is seeking to expand opportunities for Tech students to engage in the greater Atlanta community through the Community Outreach Board. The Board is made up of 3 committees: the Student Lobby Board, the Community Relations Task Force and the Institute Partnerships Taskforce. The Community Relations Taskforce is working on large-scale initiatives to expand opportunities for Yellow Jackets to get involved in our surrounding communities. Francis LaRossa and Michael Toney and their team have been planning Tech the Halls, more information below. The Institute Partnerships TaskForce seeks to improve the Institute’s support of Tech students participating in service activities in the Atlanta area. Justin Keating has been working on Tech Cares which seeks to encourage communication and collaboration between both student organizations and individual students in the event of a disaster, like the one in Haiti this past year. The Student Lobby Board seeks to provide opportunities for Tech students to be engaged in local, state and national politics. Kristen Greig is working on planning Georgia Tech Day at the Capitol. Look out for more details soon! If you are interested in joining the team and want to make an impact on our campus and on Atlanta, please contact Elle Creel, Director of External Affairs, at email@example.com or 404-625-3225.
Tech the Halls: Tech the Halls is a holiday philanthropy event organized through the Community Relations Taskforce of Georgia Tech’s Student Government Association. Our mission is to provide underprivileged children in the surrounding Atlanta community with a great holiday experience and to provide Georgia Tech’s students an opportunity to become involved in our surrounding communities. We will take underprivileged children shopping during the upcoming holiday season. Each child is paired with two Tech student volunteers to assist them during the day. The inaugural Tech the Halls event will take place on December 4, 2010. To become a shopping mentor for Tech the Halls, check out the Facebook page and register by November 12, 2010 at 4 PM. Contact Francis LaRossa (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michael Toney (email@example.com) if you have any questions or want to know more!
One Night Stand Fall semester is quickly coming to an end, and that means only one thing at Georgia Tech... ONE NIGHT STAND! The Friday night before Finals Week, freShGA brings to you One Night Stand (ONS), the award-winning, action-packed, fun-filled event to take your mind off of studying for those dreaded exams. ONS is an all-night event full of all kinds of sports-related competitions and awesome free prizes organized by freShGA, a committee of SGA, at the Campus Recreation Center. The fun will start when you walk in the doors at 10 p.m. and will last all the way until 4 in the morning. Over 2,000 Georgia Tech students attended last year’s One Night Stand, and we hope to have even more people come this year. There’ll be no better way to end your semester with a bang than at One Night Stand – after all, it’ll be the one night where everybody’s got game! Registration is now open at www.freshga.gatech.edu/ons Dr. Bras Lunches
The first Friday of every month, SGA is proud to host lunches with Dr. Bras, Tech’s new Provost. The lunches are open to students and we encourage you to join in on the conversation so he can hear what is on your mind. November’s lunch was held in the Student Center and topics of discussion included GT1000 improvements. Look out for news about where the next lunch will be held at www.sga.gatech.edu/provost.
Virtual Campus The Imagine Lab in the Georgia Tech College of Architecture, in partnership with the Georgia Tech Library and Information Center, will launch a demo of an interactive, virtual environment of Georgia Tech’s campus in the LEC Performance Space on November 16, 4 pm to 6 pm. The launch event will give the entire Georgia Tech community an opportunity to help envision and articulate the possibilities for a “virtual” Georgia Tech. In the environment, users can explore a portion of campus on a computer using a mouse and keyboard, similar to other virtual worlds like Second Life. Additionally, multiple users can interact in the environment in real-time, facilitating virtual meetings among multiple parties. SGA has partnered with the Imagine Lab to explore more opportunities to expand this technology to make it useful for the Tech community and we hope to see you at the launch!
UHR Reaffirmation At the October 26 meeting of the House, UHR passed a letter responding to a critical Opinions article in the Technique and a resolution reaffirming the dedication of the representatives that felt the representation was unfair. Please see the end of this briefing for the letter that appeared in the Technique on October 29, in case you missed it.
Student Government is here to serve you, so please know that we are always willing to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me at any time with concerns or questions that you may have, or if youâ€™re interested in getting involved in what weâ€™re doing!
Best wishes, Brooke McDaniel firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President of Communications Student Government Association
Response to Technique Opinions Article on the UHR In the October 8th edition of the Technique, an article in the opinions section made a number of suggestions regarding Student Government Association’s policies and practices with regards to the allocation of the Student Activity Fee (SAF). While this letter does not attempt to invalidate some of the concerns that have been raised, it does intend to address some of the concerns about the nature of the Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR). Each year, the Student Government Association is entrusted with the funds from the Student Activity Fee, which amounts to nearly $5 million. At the end of the spring semester, the majority of those funds are allocated through the budget process to the Student Center, Campus Recreation Center, and over 100 student organizations. The remaining funds are allocated the following academic year through the bill process. This year, after the budget approval process, SGA was left with $247,038 in its Prior Year Account and $580,192 in its Capital Outlay Account. Thus although $5 million is allocated by the UHR annually, only $827,230 can be spent from August 2010 through May 2011 through the bill process. This money can go quickly, and to avoid emptying any accounts, representatives strive to be fiscally responsible. There is an underlying assumption that only bills requesting large sums of money are discussed at length, but it is not unusual for the House to spend 45 minutes or more on bills requesting fewer than $1,000. Regardless of the amount of funding requested in a bill, representatives strive to focus on certain pertinent factors during its consideration. These factors include the number of members in the club, the potential for the bill to improve student life or Georgia Tech, and most importantly, whether or not our constituents would agree with the allocation of an amount of the SAF for the proposed purpose. The Technique article voices a concern about the discussion on a bill requesting nearly $27,000inSAF funds. The House debated the bill for over 45 minutes. Many questions were asked of the organizational representatives about which line items were more crucial and time dependent. Time was given to the club to explain their request and which line items took priority. In the end, after a week of speaking to constituents and 45 minutes of discussion on the bill, a portion of the requested amount was approved in an effort to be fiscally responsible and to allocate the students’ money in the best way possible. SGA strives to help every student organization meet its mission and goals through the responsible allocation of the SAF, but organizations should be mindful of SGA’s limitations and attempt to find alternative sources of revenue when possible. Submitting a bill to SGA should be an organization’s last resort. Clubs should try to obtain corporate sponsorship, host fundraising events, increase membership dues, or seek out donations, especially for large events or items. SGA works hard to help you and your organization in any way possible, so please do not hesitate to contact your representatives with any questions or concerns that you have about any campus issue or financial request. Like all other forms of government SGA is not perfect; however what sets us apart is that we make an active effort to make life better for our fellow students. Our priorities are to represent the student body and responsibly allocate your Student Activity Fees, so we want to hear from you, our fellow students. Please visit www.sga.gatech.edu to get in touch with any of your representatives. After all, it’s your voice!
Our Opinion: Counseling Awareness Students are constantly plagued with worries of grades, graduation requirements, job searches and general life burdens. It is important to note that oneâ€™s health and well being take precedent over these issues. Recent unfortunate events on college campuses around the country have drawn attention to the pressures that students face and the increasing need for support of members of college communities. During the last few weeks, the students at Rutgers University and the University of Texas have faced tragedies involving these issues. Our thoughts also go out to the student body at University of Michigan Ann Arbor, where the persistent antagonizing of a student by a community member is causing a disruption on campus. It is imperative that we recognize that these are not distant issues. Devastatingly the Georgia Tech community has been affected as well. On September 29, a Georgia Tech PhD student passed away, apparently taking his own life. Without speculating on
the factors that contributed to the heartbreaking loss of Derek Benicewicz, we encourage all students to support each other in coping with academic, occupational, and personal trials. SGA is extremely concerned about this pattern of occurrences and would like to remind all Yellow Jackets that they are valued members of our community, and that we simply will not accept any negative treatment of our students. Georgia Tech should be a place of mutual respect and reinforcement. The Counseling Center is the greatest resource available on campus for students because it offers a variety of services that cater to every type of issue. Please recognize that taking advantage of their services is a sign of ownership of your well-being, not a sign that you are not in control. Visit http://bit.ly/dxPSES for more information, and please be sure to take care of yourselves! In Progress and Service, Brooke McDaniel Vice President of Communications Undergraduate Student Government Association Georgia Institute of Technology