The past two weeks at Lipscomb University have been filled with posters, emails and events surrounding the election of the 2018-2019 Student Government Association.
On Tuesday, Sierra Sparks won the election for President, Annie Moore for Vice-President, Macy Glassco for Secretary and Emilee Goss for Treasurer. Five students for the three upper classes of Sophomore, Junior, and Senior were elected to be senators.
However, despite students knowing about SGA’s existence, some students still don’t know what SGA does, or how it all works.
The Student Government Association’s motto is I Kings 3:9: “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Aside from the four executive officers and five senators for each class, there are also five freshmen elected by an interviewing committee comprised of the president and three additional senators or officers; this is done in the fall during the freshman’s first year on campus.
Finally, there are eight “Senator At-Large” positions of candidates that lost the position they were originally running for, but who still want to be a part of SGA. They represent the student body as a whole and advocate for the entire body of undergraduates here at Lipscomb.
According to the SGA Constitution, any person who meets the proper criteria can run for these positions. But what are these criteria?
According to the Constitution, for a senator to be elected, he or she must have a GPA of 2.75 and have spent two semesters at Lipscomb, and they must also be a part of the class they represent, which doesn’t necessarily mean by credit hours.
Executive officers must at least be a junior or have spent four semesters at Lipscomb, with two being lived on campus. A president must be a senior or have spent six semesters at Lipscomb. Four of these semesters must have been spent living on campus. Finally, any person who wishes to run for any position must have attended at least four of the SGA meetings before running.
However, not everyone supports these criteria, including Dean of Student Life, Josh Roberts.
“I don’t think it’s a wise policy to have a GPA requirement for SGA,” Roberts said. “I’m a big believer in the only thing that qualifies someone to be on SGA is that they receive the majority votes of their peers.
“There is no limitation for how many students can run for any position. Last year we had three sophomores running for Senator, and 21 juniors running for Junior Senator. There has never been an uncontested presidency before. If the senatorial seats don’t fill up, such as when there are only three Sophomore senators, the Executive Officers will vote on who to fill those vacancies with, typically a member of the class who did not run. That way, SGA can always have its 32 members.”
These 32 members comprise SGA. The president splits the 32 into four different committees depending on where the members’ interests lie.
The four committees include the Spiritual, Social, Academic and Communication Committees. As their titles denote, they typically handle the events in those fields. For example, the social committee handles the Spring Concert, while the spiritual committee handles Room in the Inn and Spring Break Missions, and the communication committee handles posters and emails and promotions for these events. The academic committee helps bring classes to campus that are only typically online, and recently, according to SGA, the committee has been advocating for students to receive Good Friday off.
But how does the Student Government Association pay for all of this?
The social and spiritual committees get the most of the budget per semester, approximately $15,000 each. The communication and academic committees typically receive approximately $5,000. Since these committees don’t typically put on events, they don’t need the higher budget of the other two committees.
That brings the added budget to $50,000 per semester or $100,000 per year. Where does the final $50,000 per year go? It goes to the Proposal committee, and to any events you as a student want to put on.
Every Monday, SGA meets in Club 1891 in the Mezzanine of the Bennett Campus Center, right next to the Caf. They alternate between committee meetings and proposal meetings. Any student can attend any meeting, and as stated earlier, attendance is necessary for those who wish to run for office. Any student can make a proposal during the proposal meeting.
“Very rarely do we ever say no, because our budget allows us to say yes to a lot of things,” newly-elected SGA Treasurer Emilee Goss said. “We can’t give money to be donated.”
If you wish to have your voice heard or to have SGA sponsor an event you’d like to put on, go to Club 1891 on a Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Photo courtesy of SGA
View the SGA constitution attached below.