Campus renovations, uniformity and the importance of engaging with the campus community

Maggie Haddock
News Writer
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The Student Government Association during their weekly senate meeting in Highsmith Student Union. Photo by Maggie Haddock.

Charlie White, president of the Student Government Association kicked off the 48th session by discussing renovations to Highsmith Student Union and taking steps to improve their relationship with the student body.
The meeting continued with an announcement about SGA’s temporary office space from Christina Jaeger, associate director of the Highsmith Student Union renovations. SGA will clean out their current office spaces, discarding or repurposing unused materials.
“Before the end of the semester you need to know what you want to get rid of,” Jaeger said.
The SGA office will temporarily move to Alumni Hall starting Feb. 27 to account for the renovations taking place in Highsmith. SGA will only be allowed to take two desks, two computers and select pieces of furniture, according to Jaeger.
“This is a good time to purge anything you don’t need,” Jaeger said.
The SGA discussed in length its current involvement with the campus community. Sophomore Senator Lauren Bulla voiced concerns with how the campus community views SGA.
“A lot of people either don’t know what we are or think we’re just in one big clique,” Bulla said. “For all the effort we put in for the community, we should work to wash off that label.”
Bulla mentioned how several people, both members of SGA and students outside of SGA, commented on the unwelcoming structure of the student organization.

Sophomore Senator Lauren Bulla in Highsmith Student Union. Photo by Maggie Haddock.

“I think if we all are aware of it, we can consciously undo that negative perception,” Bulla said. “We’re SGA and we are here for the students and not just here for ourselves.”
President Charlie White agreed with Bulla’s suggestion, stating the importance of engaging with other student organizations and being present when passing by those tabling for their organizations.
“I think it’s important to engage with our fellow student organizations,” White said.
Another suggestion brought up in order to further engage the student body requires members of SGA to wear their blue polos, or at least their nametags, all day Wednesdays. SGA holds weekly public senate meetings on Wednesdays and the idea of uniformity will hopefully encourage campus participation.
SGA will host several events this semester, starting with a week of mental illness awareness events partnered with the Health and Counseling Center.
A different mental illness will be addressed each day of the week and the SGA will assist with activities related to the mental health condition. The week of mental illness awareness will begin on Feb. 27.
Another event hosted by the SGA will bring back last year’s week of Black Lives Matter movements on campus.
“Last year we did a week-long Black Lives Matter student rally, and it was really successful,” Vice President Tim Hussey said.  
The event, Black Lives Matter: The Revival, will also host a week of events, starting with the reintroduction of last year’s event. The dates, locations and times for this week of events have yet to be determined.
The WNC Library Network will visit UNCA on March 1 to test focus groups about the library’s current services.
“The WNC Library Network will do a mini-tour and test focus groups on which resources are and are not used in the library” said Austin Dowdy, executive in special topics: academics.
Students will have their focus group from 1 to 2:15 p.m. in the Ramsey Library. These focus groups will determine what resources the WNC Library Network will continue to provide.
The 48th session adjourned with anticipation for the upcoming semester full of SGA-hosted events and plans to further involvement with the campus.
“We’re excited for the semester and we’re going to hit the ground running and get a lot done,” Bulla said.