Larson Hall Senator Sasha Kazharskaya ’22 presented plans for a new “Senator Coffee Hour” to increase engagement between senators and students during the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Nov. 5 meeting.
The proposed Coffee Hour would be an event where multiple senators would be available to sit with students and answer any questions, address concerns or simply chat over a cup of coffee or tea. Although details as to where the event might occur are still up in the air, Senator Kazharskaya indicated that a central location such as Fireside, which is located across from the post office, are in consideration.
“Our idea is to make students feel like they can approach senate when they want to,” Kazharskaya said. “We want to hear feedback from students and then discuss it with other senators.”
The justification for having a Senate Coffee Hour stems from the study conducted by SGA which confirmed that students are unaware of the student government’s purpose. This resulted in their lack of involvement. Since student senators serve to represent the voices of students on campus, Kazharskaya urged the Senate to pass said proposal in order to increase student involvement and hence representation.
On Nov. 11, Board of Regents Student Committee (BORSC) Senator Melie Ekunno ’21 presented results from the above mentioned survey of 613 students gauging their opinion of SGA. The results showed that 43 percent of students did not feel like senators were properly representing them. Overall, SGA received a 3.3 out of 5 rating for the question, “How good of a job is SGA doing?”
Not only will students be able to put names to previously unknown faces, they will get a better understanding of what senators do on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, if students have any concerns, they could bring those up to senators which would then allow the latter to offer better representation.
Senator Kazharskaya hopes that Coffee Hour will open doors to more opportunities for student involvement in SGA other than merely talking to senators. Students are allowed to stop by any SGA meeting and even present potential proposals. However, without any knowledge of the senate members or how SGA functions, this is less likely to occur.
“We wanted to do this Coffee Hour so that students wouldn’t be scared when they are present,” Kazharskaya said. “If they already know senators they won’t be as terrified.”
Although the proposal has not been implemented yet, Senator Kazharskaya said that the plan is to do so as soon as January or February. As far as the frequency of the event is concerned, it is intended to be held once per month, although twice per month is not entirely out of the question according to Kazharskaya.