Every student is in SA

By John Fallon

Question: What is the largest organization on campus which boasts of over 25,000 members?

Answer: The Student Association!(Bet you didn’t know you were a member.)

It’s the beginning of a new semester and I would like to inform you that you are a member of the Student Association. I’m want to familiarize you with your student government, the SA, of which you are each fee-paying members.

Few students at NIU have an “adequate” understanding of their student government, which results in a low level of participation. This cripples the SA in that it doesn’t have enough support to accomplish what it could for the students at NIU.

Today, I “speak my mind” and hope to give you an adequate understanding of the SA and how it affects you everyday.

The SA structure is similar to our national government’s structure. The three branches—Executive, Legislative, and Judicial—consist of roughly 80 of your fellow students. The SA Executive Board consists of the president, vice-president and treasurer, all of whom are elected by the student body each spring.

The Judicial branch consists of five supreme court justices who decide if the actions of SA members and organizations are in accordance with the SA Constitution.

Then there is the SA Senate, of which I am a member. Each year the SA Senate elects a speaker, who is it’s chief spokesman, among other things (that’s me). The senate consists of forty-five senators from five districts.

It just so happens that there are elections for senate this week. Petitions are currently available in the SA Office. Elections will take place Wednesday and Thursday.

Whatever your major, interest, race, creed, color, sex, or shoe size, I encourage you to take this opportunity. Run for senate and not from involvement!

To qualify to run, you must be an enrolled NIU student in good academic standing. The SA Senate meetings are on Sunday evenings starting at 6 p.m. Every senator is required to be a member of one SA committee.

Although this is all that is required of a senator, anyone who is considering to run for SA Senate should plan on contributing as much time and effort as they can.

The role of a senator is an important one in that each senator represents more than 500 fellow students. The senate power centers in its legislative ability. Legislation passed by the SA Senate has affected you in many ways.

One example is the allocation of more than $650,000 to SA organizations which represent NIU in sport competitions, debate tournaments, and a variety of other activities. SA funding makes it possible for weekend movies in the Holmes Student Center.

Other areas of legislation concern recommendations on university policy (i.e. whether or not a new student life building should be constructed at your expense). The Student Association is your safeguard against your tuition and fees being spent without student input.

As you can see, the SA Senate is more than a meer advisory body. Senators have the opportunity to pursue any issue they wish. This year’s senate has tackled many issues–too many to “speak my mind” about in this short column, but one of our achievements is a new level of awareness, which this column is a successful attempt at.

If you want to become involved or want to talk to your senators, please contact the SA for more information. We are located on the second floor of the Holmes Student Center (directly above the entrance to the MLK Mall), or call 753-0482 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m

By getting involved in the SA, you will benefit through personal growth, NIU students will benefit from your leadership, and the university will benefit from your contributions for years to come. If I can ever be of assistance please call me at 753-9917.

John Fallon is speaker of the SA Senate and is a junior majoring in English and political science at NIU.