A Look into YSU Student Government

By Rachel Gobep

The Youngstown State University Student Government Association gives students a platform to make real changes at the university, according to SGA’s president. 

Caroline Smith, president of SGA, said the association hopes to take ideas from the student body and transform them into plans for the remainder of the academic year.

According to Smith, student government is one of the best ways to engage students at YSU. 

“I want [the student body] to know that student government is not just for student government representatives,” she said. “Any person at any time can walk into our office and ask us for something or tell us something or give us an idea. We are constantly open to the student body. That’s our job. Our job is to serve them.”

SGA held its first legislative body meeting of the semester on Monday where it passed changes to the governing documents and bylaws to rearrange the structure of the association.

There are four committees on student government: student life, academic affairs, assessment and enrichment and financial affairs.

SGA plans to alter the structure to meet the needs of the students.

“We want to eliminate one of those, which is academic affairs, and replace it with a public relations committee to address the needs of students on campus,” Smith said.

She said the transition can help SGA correspond with students.

“I think what we often find in student government is, we have great events, we have awesome freebies for students and we appropriate to student organizations, but it’s really hard to get into direct contact with students in a way that makes sense and is meaningful to them,” Smith said.

She said SGA could promote itself on social media through the use of a public affairs committee.

“We want to make sure that we’re constantly updating our social media. That we’re always sending out emails to the student body, and just getting as close to them as we possibly can,” Smith said.

Justin Shaughnessy, executive vice president of SGA, said this is a way to promote transparency through student government.

“We’re trying to introduce a vice president for public relations that would work within student government but also within our student organizations on campus and get the word out about different events and different things that we’re doing,” he said.

SGA updated its website to have a “Share Your Voice” section, allowing students to electronically submit concerns, questions or ideas to student government.

Shaughnessy said this can be done anonymously and the association is always open to new ideas. 

Visit SGA’s website at sga.ysu.edu to “Share Your Voice,” discover student discounts and find out how to join a student organization.