Student Government holds first meeting of year

Photo courtesy of the Board of Elections | SGA executives: Vice President Eduardo Patron (left), President Zeina Farhat (center) and Vice President Ryan Fitzgerald (right). The executives kicked off their final semester with the first meeting of the year on Monday.

The Student Government Association’s (SGA) first meeting this year set an example by being both serious in its delivery and optimistic in its mood. Because numerous developments made during the summer could not be addressed until this first meeting, a wealth of information significant to all students was shared.

•Dr. James Snodgrass was invited to the meeting that afternoon. He announced significant changes to academic advising, stating it had possessed “variability and unevenness” in the past. Faculty truly care about how students are doing, he said, but given their numerous other commitments they can only arrange one formal meeting per semester. For this reason and the fact that they may not be equipped to handle a student’s issues outside of academia, Xavier has rebranded “Success Coaching” as “Student Success Center.” Using a new system called EAB, every incoming first-year and sophomore student will be assigned a four-person team of people they can turn to: a faculty professor, financial aid counselor, success coach and career advisor. This program aims to ensure the early success of students. Snodgrass stated that the university makes promises to students and “every now and then we find out we didn’t do as good a job as we could’ve done.”

•Snodgrass announced that the university had applied for a grant that would provide emergency funds for students The grant will allocate $45,000 for the next two years, a total of $90,000, for student emergency grants. Eligible students can receive up to $1,000 to cover emergency expenses not directly related to university expenses such as rent, transportation and food.

•To be eligible, students must be undergraduates, have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $7,000. As such, emergency grants are oriented toward Xavier’s undergraduates at highest risk of leaving school due to financial emergencies. The university has pledged $10,000 to $15,000 per year as part of the program.

•The Health United Building (HUB), the new health facility planned jointly by Xavier University and TriHealth, is planning on breaking ground in December.

In between mentions of two vacancies in the senate, requests to change club names and a reminder of campus event dates was a light atmosphere. A snack list for the council was quickly proposed. Senators occasionally cracked jokes.

“(The beginning of the executive team’s term) started off as very formal because we wanted it to be taken seriously – SGA’s not a joke, we have a lot of responsibility,” SGA president Zeina Farhat said. “It shouldn’t be taken as a joke, but there also needs to be some lightheartedness to it.”

“We don’t want to scare away the students we’re trying to represent,” SGA Vice President Eduardo Patron added.

SGA meetings are conducted weekly on Mondays at 3 p.m. in the Office of Student Involvement and are open to everyone. The organization hopes to maintain its friendly, transparent atmosphere and encourages first-year students to attend and expose themselves to information significant to them while fostering an enjoyable environment.

By: Soondos Mulla-Ossman ~Copy Editor~