Administrators, SGA meet with students for ideas

UNA students Desiree Alexander, Amanda Langdon, Vice President for Student Affairs David Shields and student Bianca Hernandez share ideas over dinner.

SGA continues to make student ideas a possibility through Ideas to Action by interacting with students and learning about their concerns at UNA.

As part of the Ideas to Action program, SGA members as well as other UNA representatives come to a public place or event once every month to sit down and chat with students in a casual environment.

“We basically plan our Ideas to Action around SGA events,” said Laura Giles, SGA chief of staff.

Last Tuesday, David Shields, vice president of student affairs, and SGA President Ralph Akalonu met with students at Towers Cafeteria to discuss topics on campus.

“We’ll just talk about anything,” Shields said. “There have been nights when we’ve had suggestions about improving campus life, and others where we talk about some of the students’ favorite topics.”

Students use the opportunity to speak to the two representatives for student affairs about their deepest concerns and noteworthy thoughts to improve the UNA campus in an environment that is comfortable for students.

“We usually get good perspectives from people when we do this,” Akalonu said.

Shields and Akalonu sat at a table at the far end of the cafeteria and were soon joined by six to seven students who addressed issues such as parking, coin machines, new building projects and framing new classes.

After obtaining these ideas, Akalonu meets with Giles-who promotes the Ideas to Action campaign-to discuss the things students have said and later presents them to the SGA and the University Program Council.

“Me and (Akalonu) go through all of the ideas that are presented to us and decide on which ones that Senate can help us with,” Giles said. “We do present the ideas to SGA and members of UPC.”

Desiree Alexander, one of the students present at the table last week, used the opportunity to suggest a bus route around the nearby churches for students who attend late-night Bible studies.

“My friend and I were walking back from the Well when we thought of it,” Alexander said. “We were talking about bringing it up to SGA.”

Another student, Charles Wilson, suggested having courses for those who may consider dance for a major.

“I see some schools with classes like dance and choreography,” Wilson said. “I think it would be interesting to have that here.”

Akalonu and Giles expressed other ways students can present their ideas to SGA besides waiting for a public event, such as attending the SGA meetings, which Akalonu said are open to all students, or to email at SGA’s directory on UNA’s home page.

“On the UNA homepage, students can find SGA in the directory and find me and email me their thoughts,” Giles said.

Giles sees benefits coming from Ideas to Action by making students aware that SGA cares about what they think.