New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Guest Essay: SGA Semester in Review

Ryan Carney is Chair of the Student Government Assembly.
Susan Behrends Valenzuela
(Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

The Student Government Assembly “SGA” is the representative body for all students at NYU. We aim to improve the student experience and advocate for a student-focused agenda at NYU. We are the assembly that supports the general student body through representation, programming and advocacy. 

This year, we are working on Project 61: Making SGA a Household Name. To accomplish our goal, we will: 

  • Connect to all 61,000 students: undergraduate, graduate, master’s, doctoral, Washington Square Park, Brooklyn, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and all the global sites 
  • Strengthen students’ access to NYU’s governance system
  • Increase accountability for student government 
  • Engage the student body on some of the important issues affecting our university 

We ended the semester with the SGA Fireside Chat with NYU senior leadership to discuss student well-being, safety and other related concerns through a Q&A. 

On Dec. 7, SGA hosted its final meeting for the semester, where it passed: Reaffirming Pro-Palestinian Speech and Civic Activity on Campus, Letter of Support for Stony Brook University’s Resolution to Urge New York State Lawmakers to Amend and Pass the Student Suicide Prevention Act, Letter of Support for NYS Reparations Commission, Statement in Support of NYU’s Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff, Letter of Support for NYU Researchers United — UAW, and Letter of Support for Student Leaders, Student Groups and Transparency

On Nov. 29, the SGA Diversity Committee hosted the first-of-its-kind Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leader Gathering with the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, the Office of Global Inclusion and a coalition of student leaders from across the university to build a stronger connection between SGA and clubs on campus. It featured faculty, such as the Director of CMEP and the Dean of Students. 

On Nov. 16, SGA hosted a special meeting solely focused on hearing student concerns regarding academic freedom, doxxing, free speech, wellness and safety. Based on that conversation, we developed our action plan with feedback and recommendations for NYU senior leadership.

On Nov. 15, SGA hosted a “Conceptualizing the Palestinian Struggle” teach-in to open a conversation and educate supporters of the Palestinian struggle about the rapid loss of life in Gaza. Attendees learned about significant events in the historical Palestinian struggle through a digestible timeline and how these events have contributed to the ongoing crisis. Also, we shared resources to further their awareness and safety.

We hosted a blood drive with the Administrative Management Council and a swab drive. Additionally, we, along with the Dean of Students, Athletics Department and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee had a successful double-header, packing the house for the start of the inaugural basketball season. We partnered with the Inter-Residence Hall Council for their annual Flurry event. We hosted a Free the Dot event, which is an initiative to raise awareness about menstrual health, as well as Cycle Forward, a thrift/sustainability clothing initiative. 

The majority of our work is done through committees. We have 17 of them: International Student Affairs is working on the availability and accessibility of curricular practical training courses and an international student guidebook. Financial Affairs is currently pursuing several improvements students want to see in the university’s shuttle system: adding street signs and posts for NYU bus stops, increasing the precision and accuracy of the bus-tracking system in both NYU’s bus app and the online website, and improving the communication of bus departure and arrival updates, route changes and cancellations. The Student Services and Student Success Committee is working on an NYU and New York City homestay partnership for students. The Diversity Committee launched two initiatives ensuring equitable housing opportunities and gathering research into a student-led policy response for NYU post-affirmative action. The Health and Wellness Committee is working with NYU Health and Wellness to create promotional wellness media for monitors in residence halls to ensure students are aware of the NYU Wellness services and programs at their disposal as well as expand menstrual hygiene products across residence halls and other spaces.

Your voice matters, and we hope you can get involved with us. You can make an impact on campus. 

Attend a meeting! All our meetings are held in a hybrid format, in person and on Zoom. All details, including the location of meetings, are available on the SGA Google Calendar.

Join a committee! We have 17 open committees that students can join! Committees are a great way to understand our organization’s work. Fill out the committee interest form today!

Join your school’s council! Your representatives can be found here.

We hope that you get involved with our work and join us in improving the student experience.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Ryan Carney at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Susan Behrends Valenzuela
Susan Behrends Valenzuela, Editor-at-Large
Susan Behrends Valenzuela is a senior studying studio art at Steinhardt and minoring in Media, Culture, and Communication. She is passionate about the intersection of art and media, and is particularly fond of zines and small magazines. When she's not working or making art, she can be found co-running an art zine with her friend, rollerskating, sewing, baking or scrolling through Instagram.

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