SGA needs student input to succeed
(Editor's Note: Students, faculty and staff have a voice with University of Louisville administration through the Student Government Association and the Faculty and Staff senates. UofL Today is profiling the leaders of those organizations.)
Sana Abhari, a senior political science major from Louisville, is UofL's Student Government Association President for the 2010-2011 academic year. While at UofL, she's been involved in the Resident Student Association and Iranian Student Organization, and she is a first-year guide.
UofL Today recently spoke with Abhari. She talked about SGA's goals for the upcoming year and about her advice for new students on campus.
UofL Today: Why did you want to be SGA president?
Abhari: I actually really didn't want to become SGA president. What I wanted to do was run a campaign and raise some very important student issues. Thankfully, I won. And so now I'm in a position to have access to actually do something about those issues.
UofL Today: How has SGA been preparing for this school year?
Abhari: This year's SGA has been very unique in that most of us have been here every day this summer. We've turned this summer out of a transition period and into an actual working period. Staff has been here to work on things and get their hands wet in that regard and to see what they're comfortable with. We've accomplished some of our goals so far.
UofL Today: What goals do you have for SGA this year?
Abhari: Each of our vice presidents, our staff as a whole and I certainly have own specific goals. Aside from the goals that The 2020 Plan (pdf) establishes for us, I'm specifically working on an initiative that resonates pretty well with the campus community and students, and that is campus beautification. Our campus has come a long way since the late 1990s when I moved to Louisville. And I would only like to see that expansion grow. I'd like to come back here in five years and see that difference and say "Wow, UofL has really come a long way."
Certainly there are lots of other issues. Our academic vice president is working on reevaluating the plus/minus system, specifically pointing to the A+ and the 4.3 GPA that comes with an A+ and seeing if we can push that through. And he's actually got a lot of work done. We're looking at a lot of sustainability issues. One thing that we are working on as a team is accountability for SGA and outreach. Something we're doing this year that is unique is assigning RSOs (recognized student organizations) to our senators. That way senators can keep in touch with RSOs and get ideas for resolutions and have distinct constituents.
UofL Today: What do you need from students for SGA to be successful?
Abhari: I think the obvious answer is their input. Without them we couldn't function. We are student representatives. One thing that I ask is for students to hold us accountable - for them to hold the president's office accountable and senators accountable. Come to us and tell us what you need. That's our job. Like I said, without them, we wouldn't be able to function.
UofL Today: Do you have any advice for students who are new to campus?
Abhari: Again, something I've been preaching as a student and as student body president is, get involved. I focused on involvement during the student orientations. I'd like to repeat a couple of words of wisdom that my SOSer told me when I was freshman.
- When you're in class, don't highlight, take notes.
- Don't nap between your classes.
- And the first few weeks of school is pretty much when all of the free food is going to be here. So take advantage of that.