While COVID-19 poses a threat to many aspects of campus life, SGA is not disheartened.
The cabinet, led by President Daniel Gaines and Vice President Madison Rastetter, has been working diligently since last spring to ensure an impactful and successful school year for everyone.
SGA was able to communicate often through emails last spring when students were sent home, as well as this summer.
Gaines explained that they were able to hold several polls and meetings through virtual communication. While the cabinet typically disbands over the summer, members started working on plans and goals for the semester early in August. Communication is a vital part of SGA and Gaines and Rastetter have made certain it isn’t lost through speaking with the administration about project goals.
Despite the unusual circumstances, the cabinet holds the same goals Gaines and Rastetter presented in their campaign. SGA will continue working toward “improving Mocha Joe’s, supporting campus security efforts, and increasing community engagement, among other topics,” Gaines explained.
The pandemic has made these goals significantly more difficult to achieve, but SGA will work even harder to bring them to fruition.
“As campus life changes due to Coronavirus-related policies, we are willing to prioritize other projects that will enhance the student experience during these unprecedented times,” said Gaines.
SGA will continue to prioritize communication and patience both within the cabinet itself and with the student body to make certain it can achieve its main goals in such an unprecedented time.
Although this semester is unique, SGA’s flexibility, perseverance and dedication will allow for a semester and year of incredible improvements and changes.
In terms of what is planned for the semester, Gaines put emphasis on SGA’s collaboration with all students.
“The SGA cabinet hopes to be a voice for all students,” he said. “We see this role as being particularly crucial during the coronavirus pandemic. We want to continue working with all SGA members in engaging, supporting and listening to our fellow students.”
The pandemic continues to pose obstacles for SGA. In-person meetings will be difficult to hold, but the main obstacle SGA will continue to face through the semester is the progression rate of change and accomplishment.
“Change often comes slow; how much slower will change come during a pandemic?” Gaines said.
Rastetter added that they hope students are able to have a great campus experience while still following COVID-19 guidelines.
“It is up to us as students to redefine and reimagine how we socialize during the pandemic,” she said.
SGA will continue to work hard to create an exceptional campus experience for everyone, but it is ultimately up to all students to make it happen.
SGA hopes to operate as normal this fall, still holding office hours in the SGA office. The cabinet will also be communicating often with students who have concerns with the pandemic and other general issues on campus.
“Social distancing is the largest hurdle in that our meeting locations may be affected,” Gaines said. “This will also undoubtedly affect our ability to hold public forums with the student body. As a result, we may have to hold virtual forums.”
Despite the fact that the size and variety of projects SGA will be able to take on might be slimmer this semester due to the pandemic, Gaines and Rastetter are optimistic knowing that they have the opportunity to lead the student body in extraordinary circumstances new to anything AU has experienced in the past.
Gaines explained that overall, the cabinet hopes that “students know they can come to SGA with any questions, concerns, or problems, even if we do not have the answer we can get you in touch with people in the administration who do.”
SGA is eager to receive any ideas about campus projects from the student body to continue to make AU a great experience for all.