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How Ramapo Student Government Works Jim Marino. Student Government- What is it?  Student Government Association (SGA) is a group that is common to the.

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Presentation on theme: "How Ramapo Student Government Works Jim Marino. Student Government- What is it?  Student Government Association (SGA) is a group that is common to the."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Ramapo Student Government Works Jim Marino

2 Student Government- What is it?  Student Government Association (SGA) is a group that is common to the vast majority of college campuses (and some high schools) across the country  SGA is a student organization that works with the faculty, administration, and trustees of a college to advocate the concerns of the students and, in general, to try to make the college the best it can be for the students

3 American Student Government Association  National conglomerate of these college groups: American Student Government Association (ASGA).   Mission statement:  The American Student Government Association will provide all Student Government leaders and advisors nationwide with networking, research, and information resources and will teach them how to become more effective, ethical, and influential leaders on their campuses. ASGA also will promote the advancement of SGs, conduct research as the nation’s only “SG Think Tank,” and advocate the importance of having a vibrant, autonomous Student Government organization at every institution in America.

4 American Student Government Association  Any college can purchase membership to this group.  Price varies based on size of institution’s student body  930 institutions currently hold membership in the ASGA.  It offers various resources, such as:  Leadership training, networking with other colleges, advice for running smooth elections, advice and training for working with administration, strategies to unite the campus student body and to effectively hear and voice student concerns.

5 Student Government in the USA  SGA’s across America vary in size, funding, responsibility, and their relationship with the faculty / administration of the college at which they serve  Student Union is the building dedicated to SGA and student body services  Ohio State University had first Student Union building in America (est. 1909); Oklahoma State University has largest in the world largest  University of Colorado at Boulder has largest budget: approx. $36 million

6 Ramapo SGA – Players  Ramapo SGA President: Tom Ng  Involved in SGA for all four years at Ramapo (graduating senior)  Started as Alternate Student Trustee end of Freshman and Sophomore Year  Student Trustee Junior Year  SGA President Senior Year ( )

7 Ramapo SGA - Players  Adam Rinaldi – Senator-at-large (elected recently)  Finishing his Freshman year, has worked with SGA extensively throughout his first year  Has aspirations to continue his involvement throughout Ramapo career

8 Ramapo SGA - Players  Pat Chang  Associate Vice President of Student Affairs  Has worked at Ramapo for twenty years  Extensive involvement working with SGA, Tom Ng, and other past SGA administrations  NYU graduate

9 Ramapo SGA – The Organization  According to its self-describing billing on Ramapo’s clubs and organizations website, the purpose of SGA is as follows: clubs and organizationsclubs and organizations  “SGA is an association that serves and represents the student body through effective and responsible leadership on matters relevant to the quality of student life. Elected members work as liaisons between students, the administration and faculty. General student body support and active participation are necessary for an effective student government, so members are sure to make themselves known to students.”

10 Ramapo SGA - Purpose  Pat Chang:  “Specifically here at Ramapo College, part of the college’s tenets were founded on the idea of shared governance… [which] means… that the entire community is involved with decision making here at the college; faculty, staff, and students. Our founders over here very wisely felt that there should be a senate or some type of body that would incorporate that type of engagement across the board, and I think we’ve continued that over the span of forty years of Ramapo’s history.”

11 Ramapo SGA - Structure  Various positions  Pres, V.P. Secretary… standard E-Board  Senate (Senators-at-large, Senators of specific schools within the college)  Class Council  Many other auxiliary positions to involve underclassmen

12 Ramapo SGA – Student Involvement  Chang:  “I’ve been here at Ramapo for twenty years so I’ve gotten to work with many SGA’s, and we’ve got a very involved and engaged Student Government Association right now. John Costa, … who is our Assistant Director of Student Development, has said that he’s never seen so many people involved with student government in any institution that he’s worked in. John comes from Temple University, so that says something about this place … and I come from NYU, which is a very large school, and I’m also very impressed by our student government.”

13 Ramapo SGA – Tom Ng’s Impact  Chang:  “Tom is unusual in his relationship as President of [SGA] because he was originally a Student Trustee, and it usually doesn’t go that way. For the end of his freshman year and his sophomore year he was the Alternate Student Trustee and then the Student Trustee, and from that experience [he got] perspective on [Ramapo College] like most people do not get, because he was a member of the Board of Trustees. He got a sense from the ground up about everything… from personnel to finance to capital, construction, and state funding. That gave him a good sense of the big picture that most Presidents of student government don’t get. … [Tom] has gotten an education and a knowledge that is a great model for other presidents of student government to consider.”

14 Ramapo SGA – Tom Ng’s Impact  Adam Rinaldi:  “My personal aspirations regarding SGA are to be involved within the organization for all four years of my collegiate experience. … Tom made it very easy to feel comfortable within the SGA Office, and has acted as a beneficial role model as President of Student Government. [Tom] values the students’ insight, and he has the leadership qualities to accomplish the various tasks that are thrown his way. Last semester, SGA set up a table and [offered an opportunity] for students to express… [what they] felt was problematic with the college. By integrating the opinions of the student body, SGA was able to gain valuable knowledge for future semesters and beyond to prevent current problems from reoccurring.”

15 Ramapo SGA - Challenges  Chang:  “The biggest challenge when we work student government any year is that they want to do anything and everything … in essence, an academic year is the equivalent of about 32 weeks. … The most important thing is to focus in on what you think are going to be the biggest issues that need to be attended to. I think in the past, and this is a tradition with any type of student government, is that you get too ambitious and you get nothing done. I think what [SGA] has been able to do here is to really focus in on things, and they’ve looked at stuff like state funding of higher education the last few years, and they want to raise the awareness of the community about how much of your tuition dollars is actually paid by you and by the state, and what needs to be done to better support that.”

16 Ramapo SGA – Successes and Strengths  Chang and Rinaldi both attest to the team building and leadership qualities within SGA  Tom worked with Adam at the table in the beginning of last semester  Continuity of ideas / camaraderie from new administration to new administration  Heavy student involvement; countless hours spent by participants to get opinions of student body  Ability to focus on major issues and get things done; i.e. “Got Funding” campaign, LollaNObooza, etc.

17 Ramapo SGA – Relationship with Administration  Chang:  “Student governments are structured very differently. … At schools like William Paterson or Montclair, student governments are incorporated; they are separate entities from the university. … We feel very fortunate here at Ramapo to have a different relationship; we like to say that we work together with the students. … Although it generates a healthy dose of skepticism [that] SGA is in the administration’s back pocket… I think that anyone who has taken the opportunity to get involved would learn that it is truly not like that.”  SGA and Administration work together as one cohesive unit; neither organization reports to the other, but they both respect each other and share ideas and goals  Creates skepticism, but unfounded  Explains Ramapo SGA’s small budget compared to other schools; work with, not independently from Student Activities

18 Ramapo SGA – Summary  SGA is an organization that is by the students, for the students  Spend time to collect / organize thoughts and ideas of student body and bring them to administration  Foster strong relationship with administration, try to raise awareness of student body / implement change  Be mentors to general student membership; be concerned, listen, share ideas and thoughts with them

19 Ramapo SGA – Why Join?  Chang said that it is a great opportunity to build leadership skills, learn how a college works, and to get more involved with the students on campus  Great way to meet people and have your thoughts heard  Great opportunity to serve others and to learn and grow as a person


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