SGA works to build a solid foundation, looks ahead to new events and opportunities for next semester

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The University of Indianapolis Student Government Association has been re-instituted by the Office of Student Affairs this year. According to UIndy 360, the purpose of student government is to strengthen the relationship between the University of Indianapolis students and leadership. UIndy SGA has been working to lay out the foundation of their organization this semester, according to SGA President Stephano Ibarra Shishido. He said that he and the board members have been working to create a foundation for the new era of student government to build off of.

“When I took the position, we didn’t have any set positions on the board, we didn’t have any SGA contracts for each board member, we didn’t have any job descriptions, we didn’t have any constitutions …” Ibarra Shishido said. “So I kind of took it from the ground. And you know, I guess planted a seed there and kind of [built] a plan together with the team.”

Ibarra Shishido said that although he is the president, the board believes that nobody is more or less important than the other, which includes all students. He said that he wanted to create a diverse board so that there would be different opinions and perspectives being brought forth whenever they are tackling issues. He also said that by having diversity on the board, many groups on campus would feel represented by SGA. Currently, the SGA board is comprised of five positions: President Ibarra Shishido, Vice President Andras Tiszai, Communication Chair Mallory Thompson, Equity and Social Justice Chair Sofia Ramirez and Student Athlete Representative Jeron Thompson, according to UIndy 360

Communication Chair Mallory Thompson and Equity and Social Justice Chair Sofia Ramirez sit at a board meeting for SGA. The board is discussing policies for the year.
Photo by Allison Cook

Communication Chair Mallory Thompson said it was important for SGA to have built a solid foundation to begin this year so that they could help students. She said addressing students’ concerns is one of the most important things to SGA, and that they have set up multiple opportunities to hear from students. 

“We did a table in Schwitzer Student Center as many clubs, organizations and people do,” Thompson said. “We had the opportunity to get any feedback from students, all anonymous, anonymously on paper, but it was also cool just to kind of be like, ‘Hey, student government is back and we’re here to support you.’” 

Thompson said SGA also hosted a dinner for the student body on Dec. 4, which produced positive and constructive conversations between students and the members of the SGA board. She said this event was a huge part of showing students that they are what leads SGA.

A large part of her role as Communication Chair, Thompson said, is making communication between SGA, students and the rest of the UIndy community as easy as possible. She said she does this mainly via emails and social media. 

“My role as Communication Chair is essentially communicating to the students to the UIndy community as a whole,” Thompson said. “I created that other new Instagram, the SGA Instagram, which has been really cool. I want to keep updating it, but my goal with that is just for it to be such an easy way to keep up to date with SGA and what we’re doing through stuff that we’re on every day like Instagram … And my entire goal overall is just to make communication between students and the whole community as easy as possible so that it’s just really simple to kind of connect with people and hear what they think about UIndy.”

Thompson said SGA wants to hear students’ positive feedback about the university as well as their concerns. She said she wants there to be just as much positive engagement from the student body as there is negative, but that both are important for SGA to tackle and address in order to enhance the UIndy experience for students.

“I think sometimes it’s hard to know what SGA’s overall goal is, but it is really directed to—What do the students want? What are ways that we can really enhance the experience for them, and also just make some of their work easier,” Thompson said.

Ibarra Shishido said one of the most important things SGA is looking to do in the future is practice advocacy for UIndy students. He said he does not want students to think of SGA as taking over, but rather as an outlet for students to voice their concerns and opinions. According to Ibarra Shishido, this is an important part of what he wants SGA to represent and become.

“I think because SGA is new, we want to try to create our identity as a new organization so sometimes it takes time,” Ibarra Shishido said. “But we are more than happy to start building, and it’s the first year that we have had so far, and everything is going great.”

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