Jan 28th, 2020, 03:33 PM

2020 New Year's Resolutions From SGA to You

By Jessica Cruz
Alex Lane; Communications Director / Original Photo
Alex Lane, SGA Communications Director / Image Credit: Jessica Fowler-Cruz
How SGA is maintaining transparency in the climate of change this year

As the American University of Paris concludes the first month of both the new semester and new year, it seems imperative to review what the Student Government Association (SGA) has in store for the AUP student body this spring. 

After the Fall 2019 semester, SGA and the AUP student body were pleased with yet another successful set of events and accomplishments on campus. Senate was able to pass many new plans and student resolutions and the annual back-to-school and Halloween parties had an impressive turnout. Along with another successful launching of the Liberty issue of the Peacock Magazine with the help of Senate. After the success of the Fall 2019 semester, the senate is eager to share its plans for upcoming and future semesters.

SGA’s weekly open board meetings, which occur Wednesdays in the Combes building, present an opportunity for the AUP student community to become involved in their school and events planning. During these meetings, students from different branches and positions of the SGA sit and discuss questions, comments, and future plans. In the last hour of each meeting, the agenda turns to an open forum, allowing other voices to take the floor. 

January Senate Meeting / Image Credit: Jessica Fowler-Cruz 

It’s no secret some AUP students occasionally vocalize lingering questions or suspicions in regards to the productivity of SGA. But with those questions in mind, may this piece lay as a treaty of transparency from the hard-working SGA members to the rest of the passionate AUP community. 

After speaking to Chris Turner and Nike Hartmann, individuals who dedicate copious amounts of time and effort to the success of the AUP campus and growth, it was clear that they are working hard to make this Spring 2020 semester one to remember. 

Nike Hartmann, who is the Treasurer of SGA and stands as a second-semester member of the Activities & Clubs Committee, sat down last week with Peacock Plume to share the exciting plans to come this semester. When asked what events students should be looking forward to, she begins with the mention of the International Student Soiree in March. 

“It’s going to be really exciting because we’re making connections with other schools in Paris and hopefully getting a bit more of an international community in the city between all the students.” 

Hartmann moved on to speak about the World’s Fair and Black History Month, which are being brought to life with the help of other AUP Clubs such as Black and Abroad, Diversity Club, and the HLS Board. Both events are expected to have high engagement rates and success with the student body.

Coming from a different bracket of SGA, Chris Turner, a well-known member working with the Environmental & Community Service Committee, Judicial Branch, Learning Commons Advisory Committee, and as Sophomore Representative, sat down to fill the Peacock Plume in about other unique aspects to look forward to. Turner was eager to share the news of the recent passing of the first Student Resolution which occurred at the end of last semester. SGA had voted on a resolution, on behalf of the student body, pledging to do their part in making AUP a carbon-neutral campus as well as a waste neutral campus. As Turner phrases it:

“We’re unapologetically going full speed ahead to take a stance on sustainability”.

Hartmann, when asked about the goals of SGA for this semester, also emphasized the focus on sustainability and addressing environmental concerns here at AUP. “There are a lot of very wide scale sustainability projects getting started but there are still a lot of smaller things that I think can be an easy fix. [...] That is something that can come from SGA, to see the things that can be changed, and hopefully have a campus-wide initiation occur.”

SGA Office Members / Image Credit: Jessica Fowler-Cruz 

As soon as SGA recognized the student body voicing their passion for this issue, they took action. As Hartmann pointed out, with regards to the smaller things that can help make AUP a more environmentally-friendly campus, SGA is quick to take the initiative.

Turner and others of SGA are expected to meet with David Horn, the Director of Campus Planning and Facilities, in the coming weeks to initiate new development towards a more sustainable campus. 

“Hopefully we will be getting the entire recycling system overhauled at AUP in all campus buildings, adding a compost system in Amex, and also completely overhauling and expanding the water fountain systems to hopefully have water fountains on at least every other floor in every building.” 

As hard as SGA works to enact new plans on campus, the student-run organization still occasionally receives pushback from the administration and student body. Turner points out that over the last semester or so, they recognized that “even if SGA followed every single rule in the book,” the administration would retaliate. Turner points out that this interaction can leave lingering effects on SGA's image and mission statement.

“This pushback affects the functioning of SGA as a student representation system because student representation is supposed to be represented by students, not a representation of students, filtered by the administration”


Chris Turner and SGA Member / Image Credit: Jessica Fowler-Cruz

Turner hopes to implement, with the help of other SGA members, a new structure to the SGA committee. As to maintain the student-run organizations' reputation and awareness, there is an even bigger need for mass communication among all facets of AUP this 2020. 

As for the other functioning members of SGA and their interaction with the student body, Hartmann reminds the community that SGA is students, too. 

“These are all student-run organizations. We all still take classes during the day. We’re not going to do everything perfectly. [...] A more general understanding of people's limitations could make things easier.” 

It seems that SGA is a well-oiled machine, eager to achieve the completion of a list of goals to better the school. Whether it be Turner, Hartmann, or another SGA member, their doors are always open to take questions, concerns, and advice.

Without the cooperation of all members of the AUP community, there would not have been nearly as many accomplishments last semester. Next time you're interested in what to expect in the future or what is happening currently, check your emails from SGA Communications Director, Alex Lane. Or hop online to the newly renovated website, AUP Engage, to see all club activities. And, of course, feel free to attend the Wednesday senate meetings and get a feel for the Student Government Association action here at the American University of Paris.