Goals are easy but SA needs to get real when it comes to action

Issue: Students’ Association held a goal making session April 15.


The elections are now long over and the new Students’ Association Senate, President and executive board have been sworn in. A new wind is blowing. A new vision has begun or as they might say, change is in the air. Except it’s not. 

A goals discussion dominated the new SA Senate’s first full meeting April 15 and the most that can be said for much of the discussion is, “haven’t we heard this all before.” Indeed the vast majority of the goals discussed were focused on things that are either old hat or simply can’t be impacted by SA at all. 

That is, oddly enough, nothing new to SA. Every year, the student senate holds a goal setting session and without fail, the same topics get discussed and almost nothing happens.

The most prominent of the old topics is the Wellness Center expansion, a plan that has been on the books since the building was built five years ago. The expansion’s biggest hurdle is funding. Regardless of how big the building is or when it actually gets done, the funding will have to come almost entirely from students in the form of an increase in the General Activity Fee. Also, there is really no way to prevent the Wellness Center or Union budgets from competing with student organizations because students chose to pay for it by raising the GAF before the Wellness Center was built. 

It’s also important to note that SA only gets to recommend GAF budget items by the BOR and SDSU President David Chicoine’s good graces. At SDSU, the SA has significant influence over almost a third of the money generated by the GAF. That’s something to be proud of, to be sure — but it also comes with all the headaches produced by a budget that big. (See the story about budget issues in last week’s Collegian.)

A favorite talking point in these parts is communication, so it was little surprise when the debate turned to how to spread the messages of SA. Again, another issue that’s always talked about and never fixed. We’ve discussed this at length in the past so we won’t go into it further now but it underscores the broader point: for every goal discussed, there was no talk about how to achieve it.

As it turns out, making a list of goals is incredibly easy. Achieving those goals is incredibly hard — especially if those goals are unrealistic in the first place. For example, asking businesses around Brookings to take Flex dollars — another goal brought up April 15 — isn’t going to happen. Flex dollars essentially belong to Aramark once you pay for them: you just have the “privilege” to choose which Aramark establishment you spend them in. If we’re throwing out ideas that will never happen, maybe SA should propose to get rid of Aramark. Now that would be something! 

Every member of SA needs to take a long hard look at their goals, pick one or two that might have a chance of being achieved and then make a plan to do so. That is what has been lacking over the last few years.

We have one request of this year’s Senate: Please go out and talk to constituents, aka the students in your college. And those people need to be students that are outside your friends or your fraternity or your classes. The same rule goes for at-large senators. Do that and communication issues will solve themselves.


 Stance: Students’ Association needs to set realistic goals and make a plan to achieve those goals.