SGU Summit Assesses Impact
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:12
The Student Group Union discussed efforts to create a comprehensive system for reserving student space and gauged the progress of student organizations since the body’s February founding at a summit for student leaders Sunday.
Since academic departments and university offices control their own spaces, reserving student space can involve communicating with more than 15 separate groups. SGU is working to consolidate this process into one system, which it hopes will increase student access to space and make the reservation procedure simpler.
“We shouldn’t have situations where student leaders are burning themselves out dealing with bureaucracy and not thinking of new ideas that can enrich the campus community,” SGU executive committee chair and performing arts representative Aman Shahi (COL ’13) said at the summit.
In an effort to increase student feedback, SGU plans to release a programming incident report form that will be available on its Facebook page and HoyaLink account to address problems with student space.
“This addressed the idea that when someone has issues with the campus space system, they pout about it, complain to their friends and that’s all that happens,” Shahi said. “This form is designed so that if you have an issue with any space or tech problems on campus, you submit this form and then we have a record of when it happened, who it happened to and what the issue was.”
SGU will use the data gathered through this form to present a summary and evidence of common problems to the administration.
“Moving forward, I think we’re all looking to find ways to improve student space issues,” SGU Advocacy Chair Matt Ippel (SFS ’13) said. “The idea is that we’re all here working together and collaborating together.”
In addition to facilitating space reservations, SGU also hopes to increase collaboration between student groups, adding more diverse and interdisciplinary events to campus.
“We want a religious group to be able to hold an event with a performing arts group,” Shahi said.
At the summit, student leaders designed an event that involved every student group represented at the table where they were sitting.
“We saw real examples of ways student groups can work together across campus,” Shahi said. “One group proposed a fundraiser for [Global Medical Brigades] with a performance by [the Georgetown University Dance Company] and marketing by another organization.”
This approach demonstrates SGU’s philosophy that collaboration will develop naturally if student leaders spend time together and converse about their different interests and activities.
Shahi said that these new initiatives are reflective of SGU’s ability to develop a focus now that it has established its presence on campus.
“Much of last semester was just getting off the ground,” he said. “This semester was getting an idea of what student groups need us to focus on. The logical next step in the spring is taking those initiatives and building those relationships across groups.”
Student leaders said that SGU provides a useful alternative to working through the Georgetown University Student Association and the Georgetown administration because they can talk directly to other student leaders.
Kevin Sullivan (SFS ’14) has worked with SGU as a representative of the SFS Academic Council and as co-director of the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life.
“SGU offers a unique opportunity for us to discuss larger issues outside of what we talk about with the deans’ office. … Being able to talk to other student religious groups and advocacy groups about how they get students to come to events in conversations SGU has set up has been great,” he said.
GUSA Senator Ben Weiss (COL ’15) agreed.
“The Student Group Union … brings together student groups that aren’t normally heavily represented in other Georgetown organizations,” Weiss said.