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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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SGA kicks off 2023-24 year

Emma Tanner

The Student Government Association of the University of North Alabama held their first senate meeting on Thursday, August 24th. The meeting was called to order by SGA Vice President Rebekah Callahan. After the initial roll call, passing of the agenda, and passing of minutes, the first event of special business involved Dr. Anissa Graham, the representative of the One Book Committee. 

Dr. Graham extended an invitation to the Senate to select one of its members to serve as a representative on the One Book Committee in order to provide input and feedback from a student’s perspective regarding the material choice for the One Book in upcoming years.

Following Dr. Graham, three senatorial candidates (Bailee Strait, Olivia Britton, and Jacoby Bateman) were voted on and approved by a standing vote and sworn in by Garret Statom, Chief Justice of the SGA Student Court. Strait, Britton, and Bateman now fill three general seats, meaning that they were not elected by a specific college or program.

After the newly sworn-in senators took their seats, the meeting continued with the introduction of Dr. Jean Ann Helm Allen, a representative of the University’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Dr. Allen led the senate in a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to help provide the committee with student input regarding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing the university today.

After the SWOT exercise, the next item on the agenda was a vote for Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. To fill the vacancy left by former chair Emma Melton, the SGA President Amber Sandvig recommended Senator Alex Rhoades for the position. Senator Rhoades was approved by a standing vote.

Following the vote, the floor was open for Student Forum. The first and only student speaker of the day was Kyle Powell, a Resident Advisor for UNA Housing and Residence Life. Powell spoke on his own behalf, and in advocacy for his residents, regarding the increasing difficulty of on-campus parking and transportation, dining, and campus security.

“…I believe we can fix these challenges by partnership with the Department of Transportation here.” Powell continued, “I find myself perplexed by the reason we got behind the decision to get rid of bus services at the return of the school year. Relying solely on the van is not going to be good for the student body.”

As Powell continued his speech, he recommended the development of a more comprehensive bus system, complete with numerous stops around campus, and QR Codes to help keep students in-the-loop regarding transportation. He also stated the importance of collaboration between UNA and the city of Florence to help develop other comprehensive solutions to the parking crisis in, and around campus.

He also spoke about the lack of on-campus dining options, noting that the restaurants within the Guillot University Center are not open over weekends, leaving students to choose between Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A in the Commons, and Mane Market and Create nearby the residence halls. 

Finally, he drew attention to the lack of student preparedness and security infrastructure in place in case of emergency situations. He specifically spoke about the absence of many emergency drills, such as fire, tornado, and active shooter drills, throughout on-campus residence halls, as well as the absence of security cameras in many important areas of campus.

Many senators are looking forward to the upcoming year. They hope to take in students’ feedback and concerns to foster a better environment for them.

“Being involved in Student Government Association has allowed me to grow as an individual and be the voice for the student body on campus,” Abigail Kusz, Freshman Forum advisor said in a statement to the Flor-Ala. “This organization enables my confidence to thrive and has given me the opportunity to foster meaningful relationships with both students and faculty alike. The Student Government Association embodies leadership skills and responsibility while also providing a platform for students to express and foster new ideas. I am so grateful to be a part of an institution that allows me to work collaboratively with my peers to bring about positive change to our university!”

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About the Contributors
Trevor Mickle
Trevor Mickle, A&E Editor
Trevor is a freshman student from Jemison, Alabama, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Digital Media Production. Trevor is excited to get involved on campus help keep students informed on important topics in our community.
Trenedy Parks
Trenedy Parks, News Editor
Trenedy Parks is a sophomore from Fayetteville, Tenne. She is working towards a bachelor’s degree in journalism and digital media. She has worked as a staff writer for The Flor-Ala since Aug. 2022, and as News Editor since Aug. 2023. Her goals as a writer are to learn more about Florence and its community and to become more involved with the people of UNA.
Emma Tanner
Emma Tanner, Editor-in-Chief
Emma is Editor-in-Chief of the Flor-Ala. She is a senior from Killen, Ala. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism and digital media. She was previously Managing Editor for the spring 2023 semester. She also served as News Editor from Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022. She was previously a volunteer writer. Her favorite topics to cover are profiles and local news. Tanner has written since her childhood and grew a passion for journalism during high school. Aside from working on the Flor-Ala, she was also a research assistant for a psychological study at UNA and served as CASE ambassador president for the Fall 2022 semester.

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