Posted at 11:45 a.m. Oct. 19, 2015

SGA needs to get to know the students

True leadership means occasionally making unpopular decisions; it is getting out of your comfort zone for the greater good of a cause.
Out of Laramie County Community College’s organizations, we believe the Student Government Association is the most important on campus.

For an organization whose responsibility is “to connect, represent, guide and advocate for the students of LCCC,” getting students excited about campus affairs and involved as a community is first on the agenda.

“This semester’s batch of SGA leaders is more open to voicing their ideas during their meetings than the past two semesters,” said Danielle Kienzle, president of SGA.

“If they have an opinion, they speak it.”

We at Wingspan believe that SGA is chock-full of good intentions. With a leader like Kienzle, who says her Christian faith is the catalyst for her personal growth, we believe the group is headed in the right direction, but we also think it has hit a plateau.

We applaud SGA for recognizing that student input is important, however, we believe there is discord between SGA’s philosophy and actions in gaining the cooperation and support of the student body.

If SGA’s goal is to capture student hearts in such a way that inspires campus-wide change, it will take several courses of action.

SGA’s suggestion box is one example of a plan that was well meaning but ultimately didn’t work. To some it provides anonymity, which undoubtedly has its perks. Yet, to others it invokes a sense of impartiality, a feeling that whoever is reading it may not even care, so why bother?

Acknowledging a problem is only powerful if a goal is set and backed up by action. The amount of action taken by any group is the best indicator of their progress, and the lack of progress made by SGA suggests a lack of action.

As the voice of the college’s students, our governmental student body should be unafraid to speak up. They should seek to spark debate on topics that affect our community, and as a next step, take action to encourage an ongoing dialogue between students, faculty, the Board of Trustees and the college’s administration.

SGA senator and ex-officio Noah Cheshier acknowledged that the box was not working at a recent board meeting and said they were currently “brainstorming ideas on student suggestions.”

We ask SGA to allow us to brainstorm alongside of you.

We understand the power of a survey; it allows students to fill-in-the-dot on matters that affect us personally, yet with the security of knowing our answers will remain anonymous. But there are a few changes we suggest be made regarding the content and distribution of SGA surveys that could have a drastic effect on student involvement and encourage more actionable results.

How a question is asked is important, and with so many options in today’s high-tech world, the methods by which a question can be asked could easily fill an entire Wingspan issue.

One of SGA’s recent proposed survey questions caught our attention. It was extremely long-winded, complicated and molded with overthought political correctness.

“As a member of the LCCC community who self-identifies with co-cultural groups, such as international students, incoming freshman, nontraditional students, LGBT+ community, online students, English as a second language, veterans, students experimental health barriers, or low-income households, what activity opportunities or supportive programming do you feel are valuable to address the needs of your co-cultural communities?”

Surveys that achieve the greatest outcomes are user friendly and easy to understand. This question, as inclusive as it may seem, is counterintuitive and may limit the creative process and obstruct the results for which it was created.

SGA has used EaglesEye as its favorite method to reach students and get their opinions. But students and faculty alike are well aware that most of us do not check EaglesEye on a frequent basis, which is apparent when instructors asks students for an email address they actually check.

Relying on tools like EaglesEye and suggestion boxes that discourage face-to-face interactions undermines SGA’s aspirations to reach students and downplays their passion to make a lasting difference at the college.

With the few surveys students have the option of participating in at the college, the method by which most students participate is in the classroom. Why not introduce the survey as SGA senators, giving students a face to put with the questionnaire, reassuring those who take the survey that they care enough about the results to be there to administer it?

We encourage SGA to step out from behind the podium and really get to know students.

We believe in SGA’s ability to communicate more effectively with students, and we are excited to see how the college changes by setting a higher standard for future members of SGA.