The SGA Senate met as usual Monday night to begin passing some of the first bills of the new Senate term.
The Senate began by unanimously approving a bill allocating $7000 for the creation of a technology bank that will be available for the use of all Student Activity Portfolios (SAPs). Senator Walker Byrd, the legislation’s sponsor, said, “SGA had a lot of technology, but a lot of SAPs did not have any technology. This new technology bank will standardize technology across all SAPs and allow all SAPs to have the same access to the same technology.”
Additionally, the Senate unanimously approved a bill randomizing ballot positions for future SGA elections, legislation passed during the previous Senate term but repealed because OIT was unable to complete implementation. Senator Savannah Silver, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, explained, “I have been excited about this bill since last year. This gives OIT the whole summer to work on where we stand [with ballot randomization]. It just levels the playing field…and makes elections as fair as possible.”
After passing those two bills, the Senate also passed a resolution endorsing making donations to non-profit student housing tax-deductible, legislation which would reportedly affect over 250,000 students nationwide. Whit Whittelsey, who is lobbying for the bill, told the Senate, “This is a bill trying to be passed by the US Congress. We would love to have the support of the student body at Auburn University.”
Later, introducing a new bill, Senator Justin Matthews requested $35,000 for new transmitters for WEGL Radio. Senator Matthews said, “Every day, the current transmitter is losing both clarity and range. The new one will be more powerful and also have the capability to upgrade to HD.” The funding allocation will be voted upon next week.
A professor known for making history come alive, one student says Dr. Bohanan teaches like she is telling a story.
“I valued the time she spent teaching my class every morning and the things I learned from her,” former student Lisa Robison says. “She was one of my first and favorite teachers at Auburn.”
On Tuesday night, Dr. Donna Bohanan will be honored for her service and dedication to Auburn students at this year’s Final Lecture. The Final Lecture is an opportunity for Auburn students to honor one outstanding professor for teaching excellence.
This award is unique because professors are nominated by students, and the honoree is chosen by a popular vote. The chosen professor is asked to speak on a topic of his or her choice.
Especially if you had the opportunity to take one of Dr. Bohanan’s classes, come to this event and show your appreciation for one of Auburn’s best professors.
“Let’s use this Final Lecture as an opportunity to show Dr. Bohanan that her hard work has paid off and that she has touched the lives of students in a meaningful way,” says Patrick Michael, AVP of Academic Affairs.
The Final Lecture will take place on Tuesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. in the Foy auditorium with refreshments to follow.
The SGA Senate met last Monday to propose new legislation to improve SGA efficiency and productiveness.
Senator Byrd introduced a bill to allocate $7000 of the SGA’s technology budget to create an Office of Student Involvement Technology Bank. Senator Byrd explained, “Currently, technology is being shared within the office in a very informal way.” The proposed technology bank, which would be available for all SAP’s use, would include items such as iPads and video cameras. Senator Byrd went on to say that this “system will ensure technology is properly stored…and used in a responsible way. It will also allow all SAP’s to use technology and make their programs better.”
Senators Hess, Honeywell, and Silver also re-introduced a measure to randomize ballot positions for all future SGA elections. In the words of Senator Hess, “These bill were passed during the last Senate cycle, but could not be implemented due to OIT issues.” Senator Hess went on to explain that he and his colleagues hoped to pass this bill, which is the same as the legislation passed a few months ago. With a full year to prepare for randomized balloting, OIT is expected to be able to fully implement the legislation in time for next year’s elections.
During the meeting, Executive Vice President Jackson Pruett also shared plans to revise Auburn’s parking system. One significant proposal is to revamp the fine structure for parking tickets, with first-time offenders being fined only $10, second-time offenders $20, and so on up to $50. However, parking administration is also looking at an across-the-board $20 fee increase for parking permits in order to fund the construction of a new parking deck, among other things.
Finally, the Senate also approved the appointment of Lindsey Conry as the Vice President of the COSAM school council. Additionally, the confirmation of the Assistant Vice Presidents in the Executive Branch of SGA will be occurring next week.
BIG Event is an annual day of community service that has become a tradition for Auburn students. This year, more than 2,200 students volunteered at 168 jobsites throughout the local community. Students gave back to our community in many different ways. Some pressure washed porches and painted walls. Others pulled weeds and cut down unwanted limbs. One group even braved a yard full of poison ivy just to show fellow Auburn residents how much we college students appreciate them.
But what really makes BIG Event so BIG?
The obvious “big” factor is the number of the volunteers and job sites. Thousands of students met together on the Green Space Saturday morning and then spread out all the way into downtown Opelika to get to work. Project Coordinators worked with assigned homeowner and volunteer teams to make sure the day ran smoothly and effectively. With such a wide area to organize, this day wouldn’t have been possible without their help. They organized the distribution of tools and volunteers and oversaw each job site. Anslee Palmer, a freshman Project Coordinator, reflected on her first experience with BIG Event. “Things got a little messy at times,” she admitted, “but at the end of the day, we got everything done and had fun doing it! I loved getting to see the willingness of Auburn students to give back to the community and enjoy themselves while doing it.”
BIG Event is impressive for more than its numbers and statistics, however. BIG Event makes a BIG impact on Auburn residents. As college students, we owe the Auburn-Opelika community a “thank you” for allowing us to move in and call Auburn our home too. One homeowner said, “BIG Event day is my favorite day of the year! I am so thankful that these young people aren’t ‘too cool’ for us older folk. I would have never been able to rake all these leaves by myself!” Another homeowner experienced the Auburn family spirit for the first time on Saturday. “I don’t know why you kids want to help strangers,” she said with tears in her eyes. “Y’all don’t even know me, but ever since you got here you’ve treated me like your own grandma!”. The members of the Auburn family who benefitted from a little extra help and love are one BIG reason BIG Event has become such a great tradition.
BIG Event even makes a BIG impact on us student volunteers. We all feel stressed or sleep-deprived some of the time at Auburn. We all know what it’s like to run out of spending money or time in our day. But none of us are too tired or too busy to give back to our community. Helping out for a few hours on one Saturday only adds to the great memories and experiences here at Auburn. Seeing the joy on homeowners faces and taking time to slow down and do good for someone else makes it all worth it. We have an amazing environment in which to live and learn here at Auburn. Taking the time to help others, say thank you, and relax from the stresses of school makes a BIG difference.
This year’s slogan for BIG Event was “One BIG family, One BIG difference, One BIG Event”. Everything about this student-run volunteer day is BIG. Executive Director Leanne Portera and her team worked countless hours to make this day possible. Nothing short of selflessness and compassion could drive these Auburn students to work all year planning a day all about others. BIG Event is more than just a few hours of work…and it’s a HUGE deal to our community!
Addressing the Senate body during Monday night’s meeting, SGA President Logan Powell presented his administration’s vision statement for the coming academic year. The statement reads, “SGA will value the individual Auburn student by actively listening to and addressing student concerns; and by unifying the study body through servant leadership.”
Still speaking to the Senate, President Powell went on to explain, “Actively listening to students is really important to us…We believe our job is to advocate for you and your constituents.”
After hearing from President Powell, the Senate confirmed the new Senate committee chairs, a standard procedural move which will aid Senate efficiency in the future. The Senate also confirmed two new school council appointments – Jack Bigbie as Vice President of the College of Architecture and Hope Harrelson as the Vice President of the School of Nursing.
The Senate will be meeting again next Monday to consider new legislation.