After a semester of difficulty retaining members, Student Association (SA) has added five new representatives through an early appointment process that brought the number of current representatives to 25.
The resolution calling for a second round of fall semester appointments was passed last semester after SA reached a low of 23 representatives, with another three representatives set to graduate at the end of the year.
Applications were accepted from Nov. 7 to Nov. 17. SA received eight applications, and five applicants appeared at a special house meeting where applicants were interviewed. All five were accepted as new representatives.
The new SA representatives are Makenzie Holzman, Andrew Pillen, Erik Byron, Nora Lipetzky and Cheyenne Wilton.
“I joined SA because I want to improve life here at SVSU for everyone, and I believe that the policy making process, even in such a small scale, is the way to do it,” Byron said.
SA president Lauren Kreiss cited the interest of Byron and others in SA’s decision to call for early appointments.
“Aside from us being low on numbers (last semester), there were a lot of people coming to me and talking about trying to get into SA, so we had a lot of interest,” Kreiss said.
In general assembly meetings last year, SA as a body recognized that the time commitment required of representatives was a driver of their higher turnover rate. SA representatives who had quit the association last semester confirmed that time commitment was a major reason for their leaving.
SA representatives are required to serve on two committees, be available in the SA office at least two hours a week and attend bi-weekly general assembly meetings that can often stretch into the early morning.
“What kind of scares people away is our (general assembly) meetings,” Kreiss said.
Kreiss explained that discussions over possibly changing the general assembly meeting time, which is currently 10:15 p.m. every other Monday, are ongoing.
Jack Duly, a fourth-year nursing major and former SA representative who resigned last semester, cited the time commitment required by SA as his primary reason for leaving SA. Duly explained that, in addition to all the other responsibilities of being in SA, representatives typically spend five or more hours a week in SA-related meetings. He felt that with his other responsibilities on campus, he could not invest the required time into SA to produce quality work.
“I’m a firm believer in never being part of an organization unless I can actually contribute,” Duly said.
Kreiss, herself a busy student who balances athletics, work and a full classload along with her SA work, offered up some advice to the new SA representatives and anyone interested in potentially joining on managing their responsibilities.
“I live by my planner,” Kreiss said. “At the beginning of the semester, I always plan out everything. I put in when my exams are, when my homework is due, when I have work, when my office hours should be and I kind of go from there. My advice to them is, don’t take on too much. … College is way different than high school, so ease yourself into it and expose yourself to what you think you might like to do.”
Holzman, a first-year nursing student, is ready to hit the ground running after considering her new responsibilities.
“I joined SA because I wanted my voice to be heard on campus,” Holzman said. “I’m also not too worried about the time commitment. Yes, SA will take a lot of dedication, but time management is an important skill for college students to master. Being involved is a great way to learn how to manage your time with studies and other obligations.”
The next opportunity to enter SA will be the SA elections, which Kreiss expects to be held this March.