Sophomore Sebastian Johnson, Blair Student Government Association (SGA) President-elect for the 2004-2005 school year, has begun implementing several changes to address problems of SGA organization and student body awareness as he prepares to assume presidential duties beginning June 1.
The SGA is already laying out the schedule of events for the next school year, expanding the student government and revising its Constitution, according to Johnson, and seeks to strengthen its relationship with the administration as part of the overhaul of changes that will affect the student body starting next year.
"The two biggest problems this year were the organization of events like the pep rally and the perception the student body has of the SGA," explained Johnson, who served as SGA Parliamentarian this past year.
This year, Johnson formed a committee that began rewriting the SGA Constitution, which has not been revised since 1995. He felt the outdated Constitution was vague and unsuitable to Blair's current population, which is far larger than its population a decade ago. He will continue its revision next year and expects it to be completed by late 2005 or early 2006.
Within the Constitution, Johnson said he was concentrating on improving government organization by writing new by-laws, which outline officer positions, departments and committees, and adjusting the Bill of Rights to better protect students' rights and responsibilities. Meanwhile, he has revived the judicial branch of the SGA; he has nominated justices for the Review Board, which oversees the actions of the President.
Johnson is optimistic that his proposal of enlarging the SGA to include positions such as the Press Secretary and Communications Director will be effective in helping the student government reach out to the student body.
Also, this year the SGA established a "solid relationship" with the Blair administration, said SGA Sponsor Rondai Ravilious, and they intend to further that connection as another step towards increasing student body power and influence. Next year, both the SGA and the administration wish to meet as often as once a week, according to administrators. "Principal [Phillip] Gainous wants to hear the voices of the students," explained Ravilious.
The PTSA also hopes to reestablish a stronger formal bond with the SGA and encourage SGA representatives to attend monthly PTSA meetings, according to PTSA Co-President Betsy Scroggs.
Johnson said that this year the SGA organized two successful blood drives and was more supportive of extracurricular activities by allowing new clubs to be created year-round. However, he stated that despite their accomplishments, the SGA still has much ahead of it before it can reach all its goals; officers aim to restore the organization "back to the days when the SGA meant something," explained SGA President senior Denise Sylla.
Currently, Gainous sees the SGA's progress as "a significant turn of a corner" and foresees that it "will exert some strong leadership." Yet he said the student government still has far to go in making itself visible to the student body and informing the student body of what their SGA is doing for them. "They need folk to see who they are," explained Gainous. "Right now, they get voted on and disappear."
Renee Park. Renee is a senior in the Magnet Program (finally!) and is psyched about a brand new year of Chips, Chips and more Chips! She's currently wondering why she took MathPhys with Silver Chips and how soon she'll die, but meanwhile, Renee's enjoying writing, reading, studying … More »