By Mary Kate Sheppard, Staff Writer—
With elections coming up in a few weeks, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Student Government Association (SGA) is working hard to prepare students for a change in leadership.
Starting Monday, Feb. 22, students running for SGA will be able to begin campaigning around campus.
SGA is a student-run organization that advocates for students and seeks to be a voice for positive change on campus.
The requirements to run are quite simple. All UTC students are technically a part of the Student Government Association, but those most closely involved with SGA typically hold senate seats or official positions.
To hold a senate seat or office, candidates must be a full-time student with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. For special roles such as president, vice president, or treasurer, the qualifications include more hours and a GPA of 2.75 and are elected from the senate.
In addition, each running candidate must attend one of the informational election workshops which were held this past week.
This week, students will be able cast their votes for their college senators depending on their major. There are a total of 40 seats in the SGA senate and includes all of the college categories on campus such as the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business. The number of seats per college depends on the percentage of students enrolled with that particular college.
The responsibilities of each SGA position include attending the weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., as well as being a part of a committee that is responsible for different areas of interest.
Isaac Williams is SGA’s Chief Justice, and keeps a watchful eye over the different committees.
“We have some great committees that host events on campus,” Williams said. “Our Social Issues, Equity, and Diversity Committee just wrapped up a four-week ‘USEEMe’ event that had lots of success.”
Each senator at SGA is assigned a committee based on their interests.
Kayleigh Barron, an SGA senator and a member of the Social Issues, Equity, and Diversity Committee, said that SGA creates fun and moving change on campus.
This spring, students will be able to vote for 13 new SGA senators. Voting will begin March 1 and will continue until March 4. Then, the votes will be counted and winners will be announced March 5.
“A lot of people think of SGA like a high school student council and that’s not right at all,” Williams said. “Our main goal is to advocate for students. Our faculty advisors listen to us voice the opinions and concerns of the students.”
Many of the issues that SGA works with involve problems on campus that affect students. This year, a large portion of SGA’s attention focused on upholding Covid-19 guidelines and isolation.
Students can vote via Mocsync or by scanning the QR codes that appear across campus. For students wanting to contact an SGA member, information on all of the organization’s senators and officials can be found on Mocsync.
Kendell Davis is a senator at SGA.
“In SGA, we have the power to make the university what we want it to be,” Davis said. “It’s really cool to be able to be in the room where the ideas about the university are presented and to be able to have a voice in what happens at UTC.”
SGA’s weekly meetings devote time for general discussion and are open to the public.