Leadership of the Undergraduate Council of Students, the Undergraduate Finance Board and the Class Coordinating Board formed the Student Government Association, a group meant to foster better communication between the different branches of student government, at the end of last semester, following the advice of their advisor Joie Steele, director of student activities.
The leadership council includes current UCS President Summer Dai ’22 , UCS Vice President Sam Caplan ’22, UFB Chair Akilesh Raman ’22, UFB Vice Chair Mukul Khanna ’23 — a photographer for The Herald — and CCB senior co-presidents Bree Zhang ’22 and Mel Cui ’22.
According to Cui, SGA seeks to standardize the elections process for all three branches. Going forward, the three groups will have the same elections timeline, code, penalties and handbook. SGA will also standardize student government’s Code of Conduct and the impeachment and removal processes, she said.
SGA has already finished drafting the new elections timeline and submitted it to Steele for review, Cui said.
“Our main goal is to lower the barriers of entry for student government elections. That includes changing … the number of signatures required for a petition (and) shortening the overall period of time that it would require a candidate to campaign,” Cui said.
Raman said that SGA also hopes to increase the transparency of elections and make it “easier for students to understand what we’re doing” in student government.
According to Caplan, SGA aims to clarify the goals and roles of each branch in the student government community, both for the benefit of the groups and for the student body.
Additionally, increased communication will allow the three branches to update each other on work progress and areas of collaboration while avoiding repetitive or confusing emails to the student body, Cui said. When a student reaches out to one branch with concerns, the other two groups can also help address them, Raman added.
SGA “is sort of like an avenue for us to work on events or policies as an entire student government,” Cui said.
SGA also enables UCS to work with the other two branches more closely. A specific benefit for UCS of increased collaboration with other branches is having a consolidated list of events that will be easier for students to navigate, Dai said.
According to Raman, the creation of SGA will allow UFB to make “more informed decisions” about the funding UCS and CCB receives. The new group will help CCB communicate the specific needs of each class year to UCS and UFB, Zhang said.
Kathy Wang is a University News editor who oversees the student government and international student life beats. She is a sophomore from Beijing, China studying Nonfiction Writing and Comparative Literature.