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

Over half of students do not know about the student government, WSN survey finds

Seventy-three percent of surveyed NYU students said they do not consider themselves familiar with the Student Government Assembly.

Approximately 73% of NYU students do not consider themselves familiar with the university’s student government, according to a WSN survey. 

Out of 360 students surveyed inside the Kimmel Center for University Life, the Paulson Center and Bobst Library, only around 27% said they knew what the Student Government Assembly was. Most students were also unaware of the student government’s involvement in specific initiatives, such as the Swipe it Forward program.

“I know how the College of Arts & Science Student Council works, I know that SGA has senators at large, and I know some of the positions that they hold,” CAS senior Max Ye said. “But that’s mostly it.” 

The SGA is the representative body for students at NYU, which proposes resolutions for changes to campus and supports student programming and initiatives. The student government also has 39 seats in the University Senate, a body comprising administrators, faculty and students that decides on NYU policies, such as those relating to academic programs and budgeting. This allows the SGA to interact with senior administrators and represent students in bigger university decisions.

SGA chair Ryan Carney said the survey results indicate that the student government needs to increase its outreach efforts, specifically by improving its social media presence. 

Carney said he has revived a retired SGA initiative aimed at analyzing the effectiveness of its programs and partnerships called Project 61, which he hopes will help the student government better connect with the 61,000 students it represents. Carney also said it is important for students to know about SGA programs like the Initiative Fund, which will put $1 million toward student needs each year.

“We really want to make sure that that 73% knows about this Initiative Fund, because if they have a concern, they can address it through this Initiative Fund and really improve their student experience,” Carney said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but that’s what Project 61 is about.”

In addition to its attempts to curtail food insecurity on campus through the Swipe it Forward program, the SGA was also one of many student groups pushing for increased reproductive health care access on campus this past year. Following their efforts, the university installed five vending machines with emergency contraceptives in NYU buildings.

“Student government is good, but everything is by school, and NYU needs to stop that,” said Tristian Phillip, an SPS first-year. “It’s like, ‘It’s one community’ — that’s how they advertise it, but it needs to actually be one community so that people can have more of a combination of ideologies and opportunities.” 

Carney said that students can get more involved with the student government by attending its meetings.

“We want to have a more productive relationship with students — they don’t come to us, we come to them,” Carney said. “We’re promoting clubs and organizations to make sure we’re connecting with the students and building that sense of community.”

Contact Dharma Niles, Sidney Snider and Zoe Alford at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Dharma Niles
Dharma Niles, Deputy News Editor
Dharma Niles is a first-year student currently studying journalism and politics at CAS, and has yet to choose between the six different minors she'd also like to pursue. You can generally find her playing NYT games, skittering around the city with a Celsius in hand or on Instagram @dharmaniles.
Krish Dev
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with friends, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.

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