‘With you, for you’ SGA is more than politics
Photo Courtesy of Hofstra University
“I had it in my head that I wanted to run for president, so I asked Kaylor to meet up with me at this one booth in Au Bon Pain that’s now our booth, and over chocolate croissants, I asked her to be my running mate,” said junior public relations major and President of the Student Government Association (SGA) Kathryn Harley. “I knew that she was perfect for the job. She’s very smart and capable, I love her ideas, I knew that we worked well together and that we could do great things.”
Harley and her vice president, sociology major Kaylor Dimes, mean every word of their campaign slogan, “With you, for you,” as they begin their new roles as president and vice president of SGA. However, they both have distinctly unique journeys to SGA, which adds significantly to their dynamic.
“I actually came in my first semester at Hofstra, I really wanted to establish a community for myself, but I wasn’t really sure how to do that,” Harley said. “I had done SGA in high school and had really loved it and loved representing others. I thought it would be really cool to continue that into college. I went to info sessions and ended up falling in love with it.”
“I wasn’t involved in anything like this in high school or middle school. I wasn’t even a part of SGA my freshman year of college,” Dimes said. “I saw Deandra running for VP, she was getting the packet signed in one of the classes we had together, and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s kind of cool’ and she said, ‘Next semester we’re having elections, you should come to an info session.’ The day I was supposed to go to the info session, I wasn’t going to go and Deandra saw me and was like, ‘I think you should come,’ so I went and actually fell in love with the fact that SGA has such a big role in how things happen on campus, and so I kept coming back, and here I am.”
“I think that for the first year that I was at Hofstra, I was just sort of roaming around trying to find something that clicked and so by the time that I leave this position, to the best of my ability, try to help people who also feel the same and also feel like they haven’t connected to the campus and help people find their home on campus,” Dimes said.
For Harley, the impact of getting involved with SGA goes far beyond professional growth and life lessons.
“The personal development has been insane; I am a completely different person than I was last semester. I wouldn’t speak in front of crowds, I was afraid to approach people I didn’t know, and now I love talking to people and listening to their stories and learning their points of view. I think both personally and professionally, this has been an irreplaceable experience,” Harley said.
Harley and Dimes’ main goal this academic year is to ensure that students are aware that SGA is first and foremost a resource where they can voice their concerns and ideas, rather than purely being a place of politics. They seek to make the SGA one that is student-centered so that the changes that come to campus are the direct result of student opinions and feedback.
“I want every student on campus to feel comfortable approaching SGA because that really is what we’re here for. We want to hear their ideas and represent them to the best of our ability. We want people to know where the SGA office is because there is always somebody in here willing to speak with them and listen to them,” Harley said. “We want people to know that there are senate meetings on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Center so that people can see what SGA is working on and [so we can] speak with the entire senate body. If people want to listen in, see what we’re doing, we invite students to join us in every step of the process and we really want hands-on involvement from them. We want new people as senators and associates so we can represent as many people as possible.”
Harley and Dimes are actively seeking to not only get more students to join SGA by becoming senate members, but also increase the amount of interaction that occurs among the students and administrators on campus. Every student and/or student organization, regardless of whether they are SGA recognized or not, is invited to attend any senate meeting. On Thursday, Nov. 7, Compass Dining will be attending senate in search of feedback on how to a better campus dining provider.
“Compass and Student Affairs genuinely do take into account what we say and the information that we relay from students. So, the more students talk to us and participate the more we can accomplish in terms of creating a space that everyone wants,” Harley said. “They actively seek out student opinions. That’s what has been so amazing about partnering with them; they really want what students want, they want to make changes that students want, they want to hear students’ feedback and they’re so open to it.”
“SGA often gets a lot of connections to administrators but there are so many people on campus that have voices and things that they want to convey to administrators, so Kathryn and I want to make sure that other student leaders also get to sit at the table and also see the changes that they want to see,” Dimes said.
“I think SGA is a good place to start to find your footing. I think that if you’re looking for a community where you can both develop as an individual and professionally, SGA is a great place to start,” Dimes said. “It’s not necessarily about the politics behind it but about seeing Hofstra and wanting to make change happen and wanting to come out of Hofstra with a perspective you wouldn’t have necessarily gotten if you just went to your classes every day.”
“I was absolutely terrified coming in as a freshman. I was anxious and worried about how I’d fit into this university, so I really do think that by joining SGA I was able to establish myself and create a community,” Harley said. “Not only the friends that I made in my residence hall because they’re great, but also branching out and understanding that I’ve become friends with people that I don’t think I would have encountered otherwise. I feel like SGA has made Hofstra feel like more of a home. I think SGA is really an opportunity to better understand Hofstra.”
The SGA office is located in Room 243 of the Student Center. SGA is currently looking to add students as associates. Please email email@example.com for more information.