Midway with SGA

Nickiforos Mastorides and Maguire Franko after asking President Tressel questions from the student body. Photos courtesy of the Student Government Association.

By Shianna Gibbons

It’s about midway through the academic year, and the Student Government Association executives are working on their campaign promises. 

Nickiforos Mastorides and Maguire Franko, the president and vice president of SGA, ran for office in the spring of 2022 with four main initiatives. These initiatives focused on student voice and administration transparency, food insecurity on the campus and community level, mental health services and a cohesive platform for academic advising.

Beyond the original initiatives, Mastorides and Franko added a fifth initiative, the Make It Happen campaign.

“The goal of [Make It Happen] was to really initiate engagement with the student voice, and it’ll give them a platform to directly affect our campaign,” Mastorides said.

Mastorides said students mentioned wanting electric scooters on campus. SGA has spoken to YoGo Bike Share, which has recently moved into the Youngstown area.

“We talked with [YoGo Bike Share], and they said [Youngstown State University] is a potential docking site for those electric bikes in the future here. We’re really excited for that partnership,” Mastorides said.

Mastorides and Franko said to increase transparency, they’ve been inviting administrators to attend and speak at SGA body meetings. SGA also recently launched a new social media campaign connecting students directly to administrators.

“We just started a social media campaign where we are allowing students to fill in a question box on our Instagram story to ask different administrators,” Mastorides said. “Our first interview was with President Tressel. We got nine or 10 different questions, and then we’ll be releasing all of that soon. Every month, we’re hoping to meet with a different administrator and give students an opportunity to ask questions.”

The second initiative aimed to tackle food insecurity on the campus and community level. Franko said the Penguin Pantry was started by the previous administration, and SGA was able to build upon the original idea.

“When we were forming our initiatives [we saw] that we could give it better legs by moving it out of SGA’s ownership,” Franko said. “We moved it to the Dean of Students, and they’ve done a wonderful job with the relocation. They’ve got a lot of graduate assistants to help out. They’re getting a lot of donations, and they’re getting a lot more curb appeal.”

SGA also hosted a week-long event for Swipe Out Hunger. Mastorides said this was a success.

“Through Swipe Out Hunger, we were able to raise $1,500 for students, and all of that is going directly to the Penguin Pantry in Cushwa,” Mastorides said. “We were able to donate around 15 blankets to the rescue mission, engage with students through different learning events and we were able to donate over 400 swipes.”

For expanding mental health services, Mastorides said SGA’s goals were difficult to achieve, but it focused on student engagement. 

“We wanted to create an on-site opportunity for grad students to do their clinical work as opposed to leaving the university,” Mastorides said. “It’s a lot more difficult than what we had anticipated. So instead, we’ve been putting out a lot more student opportunities, different events, with Student Counseling Services throughout the semester.”

For more information on SGA, go to its website.