Story and photo by Anthony DeVera, repoter
The Student Government Association has had to start from the ground up this school year.
“We started off trying to find our sea legs,” William (Peck) Young, Faculty Sponsor and Director of ACC ’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies said.
In the absence of an advisor who resigned without any notice in the beginning of July this year, Young believes the organization has handled the situation well.
Along with Keisha Gray, Coordinator for the CPPPS, Young provides administrative support for the efforts of the student-run organization.
“The executive board is filled with some of the best young talent I have worked with in my entire life,” Young said.
The students have taken firm control of the direction of the organization, namely by reconstructing it from the ground up.
“We decided to create our own constitution just to have our voices in it and how we want to structure it,” Carrie Woodruff, an economics major who serves as Vice President, said.
President Alison Judice, who intends to major in Political Science, is concerned with the school community’s awareness of the SGA.
“A lot of people don’t know about [us]. A lot of people are still learning that we exist,” Judice said. “That is quite an issue. The student body has to know we’re here if we are going to be their voice.”
Attempting to maintain SGA representation on all campuses, members held a discussion which seemingly moved nowhere for more than an hour about the selection process for senators.
“We are arguing semantics,” Highland Campus Senator Garrett Grimmett said.
Throughout the discussion, senators provided opposing views in what can be described as back-and forth nonsense.
“There is a process in which we speak.” Ian Slingsby, Riverside Campus Senator, said in an attempt to police the conversation, referring to Robert’s Rules of Order.
Young advises the students to work more on listening to each other, and not waiting to speak next.
“They need to understand a bit better the Robert’s Rules of Order,” Young said. “The smartest thing they can do is listen to each other.”
In an effort to develop the skills needed to operate efficiently, SGA has hired Walter Wright J.D., a professor who teaches mediation in the Department of Political Science’s Legal Studies program at Texas State University. Wright gave a series of training sessions, which was open to all members of the ACC student body, based on a program of negotiation developed at Harvard Law School.
“We needed this yesterday,” Shant Soghomonian, the Constituent Senator for International Students said.
After a few training sessions, the students started to utilize their newly developed negotiation skills. Ongoing discussions on topics such as the senatorial selection process, now only take up to twelve minutes of the 3-hour long bi-weekly general assembly meetings.
In addition to preparing themselves for a career in politics, SGA’s efforts for the local community are currently focused on ACC’s “I CAN READ!” children’s book drive.
SGA Secretary Amy Calhoun recalled a conversation she had with a local police officer who expressed gratitude for the book drive’s efforts.
“[The officer] said there were some Christmases where [the officer’s family] couldn’t afford to get their kids gifts,” Calhoun said. “The drive allowed them to at least get something