SGA working to engage students, increase spirit points

Adrienne Burch

A new school year means many things, but for the SGA, it signals a fresh start.

“We have a lot of good projects on getting on the way, and I am excited to see them come to life,” Meagan Bryant, SGA press secretary, said.

SGA president Matt Calderone said he wants to work on creating the first ever SGA Delegates Program while revamping the block seating process. Another main goal of his administration is in establishing campus spirit points.

“Campus spirit points offers an incentive to students to get involved in activities outside the classroom and be more engaged in campus life,” Calderone said.

Students will be able to earn points for attending various events on campus by swiping their ACT card upon entering the event. The students with the most points will be rewarded with various prizes, such as a scholarship, iPad or Alabama memorabilia, Calderone said.

For student organization seating, the SGA has established two primary goals to improve this process. One is to motivate students and organizations to excel in academics, leadership and community service by offering those who perform well preference in the application consideration process.

Secondly, Calderone said SGA is working to make the grading process as unbiased as possible by eliminating human involvement and allowing a computer program to grade the applications.

The SGA Delegates Program involves encouraging student organizations to partner with SGA to share their different needs across the UA community.

“The program encourages UA student organizations that seek assistance or feel under-represented to select a junior and senior representative from their organization to act as a liason to the SGA,” Calderone said. These delegates will then meet with the SGA president monthly to voice their concerns and needs.

Jimmy Taylor, president of external affairs, plans to promote service, to encourage student involvement in local, state and federal policies and to increase student interaction in the Tuscaloosa community.

Also, a new service project Taylor hopes to begin is Beat Auburn Beat Cancer. It will mirror the Beat Auburn Beat Hunger campaign, but the funds will go to help with cancer research and treatment.

To help acquaint students with state and federal governments, Taylor wants to organize a Higher Education Day, where students will travel to Montgomery to show the state government that they support funding for higher education in the state of Alabama.

“As I stated many times during my campaign, I have set goals that will truly affect our community and University,” Taylor said, “and I will do everything in my power to make sure they happen.”

Will Pylant, vice president of student affairs, also has plans for the year that he has begun to put into action. Several of these include a Ride with the Tide program that will provide safe and free means for students to travel to the Alabama vs. Tennessee football game.

“UA students deserve an SGA that works hard every day to make campus life a little more enjoyable and unified,” Pylant said, “and that’s exactly what we plan to do.”

The SGA will have a booth Tuesday, Sept. 11 at Get on Board Day. Senators, directors, judicial members and the executive council will be available for students to meet with and to answer any questions about the upcoming year.