SGA establishes Task Force with Town of Boone, students get local government experience

Gianna Holiday, Reporter

App State’s SGA will establish the Task Force on Intragovernmental Mountaineer Relations through a joint initiative with the Town of Boone.

Since July, Boone Town Council and SGA officials have actively discussed civic opportunities and representation of students in Boone’s local government. 

This task force will serve as the first joint town and SGA initiative to permanently involve students as a part of Boone politics. Its mission is to serve as a vehicle for communication of student perspectives and priorities to the Town Council. 

 The task force bridges the gap between students and the community by allowing  a collaborative effort to identify community-wide solutions to issues impacting Boone residents. 

It will be chaired by Adam Zebzda, SGA’s director of external affairs, and consist of seven seats reserved for student representatives serving on town sanctioned advisory bodies, with the ability to add additional positions if needed.

“This initiative characterizes a commitment and ongoing relationship between the community and its students to pursue the common good, promote our general welfare, and make local government accessible to everyone,” Zebza said in a press release. 

Members will go through a town council appointment process before receiving an official invitation to join the task force.

“Through collaboration with town staff, the appointment process has been streamlined for students, allowing facilitated access to the local legislative process,” Zebzda said.

The group was designed to represent the entirety of the student body and must be open to non-SGA members. Any barriers that would limit membership will not be enforced.

“We cannot find community-wide solutions to pressing issues when only certain individuals are deemed eligible to participate in the process,” Zebzda said. 

Zebzda, who also serves on the town’s Planning Commission as a student representative, said taking the first step was the most intimidating part of the process but has been gratifying.

Zebzda said that those in leadership roles sometimes forget their duty of empowering others to also become leaders. He wants to use the task force as a vehicle to challenge this through systemic change.

“Time after time we’ve seen the same people pushing the same agenda continuously suppressing others. At the end of the day, this initiative is not about any single person, but instead our greater community,” Zebzda said. “We’re bringing in new people, new perspectives, and a new way forward that works for all of us.”