According to VCU Student Government Association President Adele McClure, the SGA summer agenda is focused on transparency, welcoming the incoming freshmen class, working with VCU administration and planning for the year ahead.
McClure said she is currently preoccupied with speaking to new students during the orientation dates, and will deliver a total of 16 welcome speeches by summer’s end.
“We want them to know what the SGA is,” McClure said. “It’s a part of our effort to become more transparent to students.”
The incoming class will also be the first to kick off a new tradition, McClure said. After speaking with the students, they are led past the VCU Rams Horns and have the chance to rub the statue and make a wish. She added the SGA came up with the tag line for the students’ “rite of passage.”
“We tell them, ‘To officially become a VCU Ram, you must first earn your horns,’ ” McClure said. “Other schools have traditions where students rub their mascots for good luck on tests. We wanted to start a similar tradition here this year with the new students and returning students.”
In addition to working with new students, McClure said the SGA has reached out to VCU administration officials about getting students more involved with the surrounding communities.
“There have been complaints about students vandalizing things, throwing parties way to late and not working with the community,” McClure said. “I have attended a number of neighborhood meetings and heard this, but they also mention students moving into their neighborhoods has made the areas safer.”
To better the relations with the community, McClure said she has been in contact with a representative from VCU’s Community Engagement to possibly initiate a student ambassador program, in which the department would train students to be more involved with the community. Some activities might include students involved in the program attending community meetings and working closely with their neighbors overall.
The SGA has also begun working on their green initiative. McClure said SGA officers will promote the association’s trash pickup and community clean up events during the academic year; getting more students involved.
“That was a big part of my platform–the effort to go green,” McClure said. “I wanted to make sure we followed through on that.”
As another effort in the SGA’s green effort, McClure said she worked with VCU’s Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services to go paperless; unless a student needs paper bills because they do not have access to the Internet. She added the student transfer process is already online.
In regards to tuition, McClure said she has been in correspondence with VCU administration–urging them to inform students of the changes going on with tuition and around the university.
In response to her requests, VCU is launching a new website: mytuition.vcu.edu, which will be linked to the VCU and SGA websites.
“I’ve seen the outlay of it. It shows how the tuition is determined, what’s new, the breakdown of tuition; everything surrounding tuition and fees,” McClure said.
The SGA is also launching an e-mail campaign in the fall in order to get students to check their accounts regularly. McClure said some students are getting kicked out of housing because they don’t check their bills online.
Other notable SGA efforts, according to McClure, include discussions with the VCU Athletic Department over strategies to promote sports teams and student attendance to games. She said there is talk about starting a focus group that will meet and plan with these objectives in mind.
For more information about SGA, visit the association’s website at http://www.vcu.edu/sga/.