The Student Government Association (SGA) has been operating with only 14 senators this semester after their elections in September. Another round of elections will be held on November 14 and November 15 with the goal of filling the Senate to its capacity of 25 members.
Iesina Tupouniua (’20), the president of SGA, mentioned that there were a couple of factors that were to blame for the Senate not being filled from the first election. One of the factors was that students did not get to know the goals and vision of SGA in time. Students started to notice it during the Involvement Fair on September 12, but since the applications ended on September 14, the students did not have enough time to finish their applications.
Another factor was the “outreach” problem. In other words, SGA failed to continue to market themselves after they actively advertised on orientation day. They also did not update the latest information on their official website. The advertisements made students aware of their organization, but they would not go further to get involved. Tupouniua indicated this was her first time recruiting because she was only appointed as the president in the middle of the fall semester after the original president resigned. She admitted that she did not realize the importance of marketing since she was only a senator last year, so she was still learning how to deal with the executive board business while elections were happening. She thought SGA should have gathered the information about the students who were interested so SGA could offer more information to them, thus increasing the chances of receiving those students’ applications.
This is not the first time that SGA has had to have an additional election. According to Tupouniua, the issue of not having enough senators has occurred several times. The reason why the problem frequently happens is because it is difficult for SGA to convince students to take on more responsibility beyond academics, work and personal life. Tupouniua believes that being a part of this organization could benefit all students but most were not aware of that at the time of the election.
Despite SGA having this recurring issue, Tupouniua still thinks the organization should keep the application requirements the same without any reduction. She mentioned that the grade requirement was necessary because SGA wants the members to focus on academics rather than extracurricular activities. On the other hand, Tupouniua believes collecting signatures is crucial since that is part of the process of campaigning. The candidates must be able to interact with their peers because, as Tupouniua said, “If you want to be the voice of students, you have to be the voice of yourself.” She added, “If you have trouble going out with people, campaigning and advertising for yourself, maybe you could work on that first before you start trying to be [the voice for] the rest of [the] student body.”
Tupouniua also said, “Getting a signature sheet is just a way to get you out of your box, so you campaign and people get to know your face and name.”
To learn more information about the SGA election, check the SGA official website https://www.snhusga.org