Interns wanted for SGA future

The Student Government Association is broadening its range on campus this year to include more initiatives that encourage student empowerment and ignite the interests of future SGA leaders.

Among its goals for the fall, SGA will offer an internship program for students interested in learning or becoming involved with the organization.

"Normally we have people kind of like groupies; they hang out with us a lot, then later apply to be Senators," said SGA Executive Chief of Staff and internship coordinator Mary Elhardt. "Now we have this internship that will be like a training program to help (our future successors) ease into the organization."

The year-long program was created to provide freshman and sophomores an advantage in getting a headstart in learning the structure and procedures of the SGA first-hand by teaming with a senator or executive officer. During their term, interns will learn how to write bills or resolutions, help with legislation and attend meetings in which they are encouraged to voice their opinions.

"They have as much of a pull as we do as students. The idea is to learn how to represent students by having an empowered voice," Vice President Jonas Chin said. "We want them to finish their term as interns with a strong understanding of how the University and SGA work."

While most officers are in their senior year, SGA members feel it’s important to get more underclassmen involved so transitions run smoothly once the 46th administration takes office.

"This (internship) will strengthen SGA because it puts the organization at an advantage. It all boils down to making sure there are students who will take pride in representing the student voice and maintaining an incredible organization when we leave," Chin said.

Thirty-two interns are expected to begin this semester, but applications will be accepted throughout the year and are available at Schedules will be determined for each intern and their mentor, and are subject to change depending on availability.

In addition to the internship program, this semester SGA also plans to hold a voter registration campaign, raise awareness of environmental issues, create a peer-advising service, co-sponsor the Keep A Child Alive campaign to raise awareness for AIDS, and continue the development of Cougslist – a student resource Web site expected to launch in September.

Also in its agenda is the formation of College Councils, which will consist of student representatives from each individual college to address any college-specific issues students might have, and the Student Academic Bill of Rights, which will eventually be printed in the Student Handbook.

"SGA is one of the most powerful organizations on campus when it comes to impacting student life, and (for those interested) this internship is a great opportunity to join, learn and get involved," Elhardt said.

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