Correction: The entire Student Government Association will meet Friday with President Maria Hernandez Ferrier in her office at Main Campus Building. SGA did not provide an exact time. The story below incorrectly reported that only the executive team would be meeting with Ferrier. SGA will hold a senate meeting following the meeting with Ferrier in Room 337 of Main Campus Building, as reported in the story below.
By Laura de Leon
Student Government Association executive team will meet with President Maria Hernandez Ferrier Friday in Room 337 Main Campus Building.
SGA President Melissa Quintanilla said they plan to discuss Cabinet member responsibilities and possible forum ideas which they hope Ferrier will attend.
The SGA executive team — Quintanilla, Vice President Javier Carvajal, Parliamentarian Melissa Benavidez and Treasurer Jorge Ramirez — met for their weekly meeting Oct. 12 to discuss their goals and plans for the year.
Quintanilla said the SGA constitution states that executive meetings are closed to non-executive members. The SGA constitution, which was given to The Mesquite Oct. 10 did not state whether executive or senator meetings are closed.
“I was told from the beginning that executive meetings are closed and senator meetings are open,” Quintanilla said.
Quintanilla said the executive team did not physically meet last week, but conducted the week’s business via email and phone calls.
She said most of the SGA executive members work and have families but plan to set a specific day and time for their meetings. She said they will most likely have them Friday evenings at Brooks City-Base Campus.
Senator meetings will be 4:30 p.m. every other Friday. They are scheduled to have a meeting after their time with Ferrier.
She said they hope to invite one member from Campus Activities Board and Jaguar Ambassadors to senator meetings to keep them informed about what they’re planning and set goals as a group.
Quintanilla said she was not sure why executive meetings are closed but said she would see if this was a detail that needs to be changed.
John Claybrook, SGA president at Texas A&M-College Station and finance senior, said their SGA does not close doors to any meetings, including their executive meeting.
“I’m never going to turn away anyone from a meeting,” Claybrook said.
During the executive meeting on Oct. 12, one goal Quintanilla said they were hoping for was to attend at least two American Student Government Association conferences in her term as president.
SGA is waiting on the approval for membership with the ASGA, but once approved, they will have resources to grow and become more established, Quintanilla said.
She said the executive team hopes to attend conferences on Nov. 17 in Los Angeles and Feb. 16 in New Orleans.
The conferences offer student government leaders and advisers support, networking, workshops and consultations on specific problems and issues. According to the organization’s website, one of the many benefits of attending the conferences is their focus on making student government “more effective and influential.”
The association hosts conferences in Texas, California, Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Conference fees, depending on registration time, range from $249 to $389 for a non-ASGA member. Members receive a $100 per person discount.
The funding for the trips will come from the SGA budget and must be approved by adviser Jolene De Roches, director of student life and wellness, and Ken Mitts, interim vice president for student affairs.
Attendance at the conferences in New Orleans and California offer a weekend student government training aimed at providing support and additional training in areas such as recruiting, setting goals, resolving conflict, training and publicizing.
She said they are waiting on the approval for membership with the ASGA, but said once a part of it, SGA will have resources to help grow and become more established.
“It is one of our goals to help strengthen us inside out,” Quintanilla said of attending the conferences.
Claybrook said that the SGA at A&M-College Station holds a roundtable meeting twice a month and top student leaders are invited directly to participate. He said this creates the ability to keep everyone informed and promotes what they are doing as an organization.
Quintanilla, who in addition to her studies works off campus, said she and other members of SGA are reaching out across campus to build relationships to set a strong foundation for the university’s student government.
“With a strong collaboration with student body and other organizations, (SGA is) trying to get out the message that we’re here and you can come to us,” she said.