SGA Presents Success Initiative at Campus Debate

By Frank George

Michael Slavens (right), president of the Student Government Association, and Jacob Schriner-Briggs (left), executive vice president of SGA, presented their Student Academic Success Initiative at last week’s political debate between the College Conservatives and the College Democrats. Photo by Dustin Livesay/ The Jambar.

During last week’s debate between Youngstown State University’s College Conservatives and College Democrats, Michael Slavens, president of the Student Government Association, and his executive vice president Jacob Schriner-Briggs, publically revealed their Student Academic Success Initiative — a set of “policy recommendations intended to increase the academic success of [YSU] students.”

SGA’s Student Success Initiative

SGA’s initiative calls for the following: 1) professional advisers that would help students stay on track and graduate in a timely manner; 2) a reformed scheduling process whereby students could schedule an entire year, not just a semester; 3) a clarified list of required general education courses that can be easily understood; 4) an appeal for degree programs that require just 120 credit hours for completion; and 5) an incentive program that rewards academic success.

While these proposed policy amendments pose obvious concerns — as their implementation could prove costly and time consuming — Slavens indicated that they are goals for the university to work toward.

“This would be potential for change that could have a lasting effect,” he said. “We view it as a very positive change and hopefully it continues to be viewed that way.”

As revenue from state funding becomes increasingly tied to a school’s retention and graduation numbers, Slavens said implementing the aforementioned policy recommendations could help bolster YSU’s graduation rates.

“They are changes that could make the process more efficient,” he said.

Slavens: “I want to make a
mark on YSU”

Slavens said that, as SGA president, he has a personal desire to make a lasting contribution to the university and that SGA’s Student Academic Success Initiative could act as this contribution.

“Since I’ve gotten so involved, I feel like I have a deep connection with [the university],” he said. “I am very thankful for what it has given me and I want to make sure it can continue and be even better for those who come later.”

Though Slavens is set to graduate this spring, he said he maintains an interest in the future success of the university.

“I want to make a mark on YSU. I want to feel as though I’m actually accomplishing something that will help students,” Slavens said.

Informative Debate Ensues

After Slavens and Schriner-Briggs presented their plan for student success, the College Conservatives and College Democrats engaged in political debate.

Both sides made positive comment on this debate, calling it an informative event that helped educate voters before Tuesday’s midterm elections.

“More than anything, we have to be informed voters,” said Ernie Barkett, president of the College Democrats. “This raised awareness and hopefully got a couple of kids to decide to want to vote. It also gets them educated and involved.”

Mark Stanford, president of the College Conservatives, agreed with Barkett and declared the event a success.

“I thought the debate was very successful,” Stanford said. “I was really impressed by everyone’s preparedness and I was glad to see so many people show interest.”