Accounting major Julie Garner was elected to the SGA executive council this month. Read all about her first day in office, as written by The Signal Editor Tiffany Fitzpatrick.
Accounting major Julie Garner wears jazz shoes with jeans on her first full day as a member of the Student Government Association Executive Council. She’s prepared, she says, to rehearse a routine for Cultural Extravaganza later.
Garner was elected to the executive council as Vice President-Outreach and Communication by a majority vote at the SGA meeting Feb. 4. The position became vacant when art and design major Safyah Alam resigned in December. Garner will hold the position until regular elections take place later this spring.
Although new to the executive council, Garner looks every bit as comfortable in the SGA office as her three colleagues. The amount of activity in the room is abundant for four people. They are finishing up the agenda for next week’s SGA meeting.
Kenneth Kettler, vice president-committee coordinator for SGA and legal studies major, is holding an impromptu debate with Garner over the pros and cons of various presidential administrations while she assembles decorations for an upcoming SGA event.
The debate stops momentarily while the four of them discuss which quote will go at the bottom of next week’s agenda but quickly resumes when that conversation ends.
Chaitanya Kala, vice president-administration for SGA and graduate computer science major, is mostly quiet, focused on the work in front of him, but he occasionally smiles or laughs in reaction to the ongoing conversation.
Minutes later, Garner jokingly complains about Facebook to Carla Bradley, SGA president and graduate digital media studies major, and the room fills with laughter.
The topics discussed switch easily between SGA business, classes and everything in between. Several textbooks are cracked open around the room.
There are four distinctly different personalities in the room, but they work together as if they have always been a group.
“The most important thing to know about us is that we work as a team,” Kettler said. “That may sound a little obvious, but when four people represent the interests of thousands of students, collaboration is essential.”
Their individual levels of involvement at UHCL outside of their SGA positions and responsibilities may explain their comfort level around one another.
One of the requirements for holding a position on the executive council is that each student must be the elected SGA representative for one of UHCL’s recognized student organizations. Each of the current executive council officers is a member of multiple student organizations.
Elections for the executive council are typically held in the spring semester each year and installation takes place at the annual Student Leadership Banquet.
Students elected to the executive council are expected to commit for the entire academic year – until the following year’s Student Leadership Banquet. Elections for the 2014-2015 academic year will take place at the SGA meeting March 18.
Bradley encourages all interested students to apply for executive council positions for the upcoming academic year. Officers are elected to one-year terms in each of the four positions.
“A president must represent UHCL both on and off campus,” Bradley advises potential candidates. “A president needs to be considerate of not only student needs but of faculty, staff and administrators because their mission is to essentially provide better services for students.”
All executive council positions are unpaid and require a large amount of time and responsibility, but each of the members expressed enthusiasm for their current position.
“At UHCL we have a real opportunity to listen to students and work with administrators on a wide variety of student concerns,” Kettler said. “I really appreciate that the administrators take us seriously and work with us to see how we can continue to improve UHCL. Working on the executive council has given me a great sense of community here.”
Of course, they say, there are other perks. “The SGA reserved parking
spot is pretty legit,” Bradley said.