By Martin S. Hussey Jr., Correspondent
On Aug. 30th, 2021, Embry-Riddle’s fall semester will begin. With COVID-19 restrictions at Embry-Riddle being lifted, the Student Government Association (SGA) can now work on a wide array of plans that they have for this semester.
An important goal for SGA is to continue the outreach to the students. SGA President Hunter Langemo believes that the last SGA administration made a “huge step forward in outreach,” and he wants to continue that step forward.
To continue student outreach, SGA will be doing several things. Not only will they continue with updates and announcements on their Instagram profile, but they are also building a brand-new website. Langemo said the website is “provided by a third-party router that will be more professional, have more information on committees, and we’ll even have pages for Horizons, BCA, and other [student] services.”
To greet and make their presence known to incoming freshmen and transfers, SGA will be hosting some of the orientation events. They will host the Headphone Disco on August 28, between 10:00 to 12:00 PM, and the Brain Freeze Ice Cream Social on August 29, between 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Additionally, they will hand out brochures to the parents and students at orientation.
Another huge plan for SGA is continuing work on ERAU’s Title IX chapter. Some members of SGA are now receiving Title IX training to be advisors for students involved in Title IX cases, for both the plaintiff(s) and the defendant(s). While they are not acting as lawyers for the plaintiff(s) or defendant(s), these SGA members will give them advice on what to do.
Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Frost is both the Title IX Coordinator for Prescott Campus and the Associate Dean of Students. There are plans to hire someone else as a stand-alone Associate Dean of Students so that Dr. Frost can focus more on Title IX issues. SGA is involved in the process by having Q&A interviews with the job candidates. While Langemo says SGA is NOT involved in the actual hiring process, they can recommend to the hiring committee a candidate over another one.
Interestingly, finding an Associate Dean of Students is not the only position SGA is having interviews on; due to the pandemic, many positions around campus are now vacant. The new employees hired will need to fit in ERAU’s culture, and SGA will recommend which candidates fit better than others to the administration.
A third aim is to increase student engagement, especially by focusing on clubs and mental health. Between 2018 and 2021, half of ERAU Prescott’s clubs were no longer in operation. Many of these clubs, such as the Photography Club, the Investment Club, and the Veterans Heritage Project chapter, had students with spirit for their niche interests. After many of those students graduated, however, there were few, if any, successors willing to continue the club, and the COVID-19 pandemic certainly did not help matters.
Aside from the clubs, the SGA will engage students by focusing on mental health after the results of Horizons Newspaper’s Spring 2021 Mental Health Survey were released on Apr. 28, 2021. The results determined the average mental health rating at ERAU was 4.2 out of 10, with 81% of respondents saying their mental health is worse than before the pandemic.
To counter these disturbing results, Langemo stated SGA will be looking into getting involved with Active Minds. According to their website, Active Minds is a non-profit organization formed in June 2003 by Alison Malmon in response to the death of her older brother and younger sibling Brian. Through peer-to-peer dialogue and interaction, the organization raises and educates mental health awareness among college students.
Additional plans for student engagement include supporting OctoberWest, hosting a talent show, and creating a “portal” between students and SGA.
Ultimately, Langemo believes that the sky’s the limit on what SGA can do for the students at ERAU. If there is a pressing issue that a group of students needs to resolve, then they should not be afraid to speak up and discuss the issue with members of SGA.