SGA Town Hall gives App State students a voice

Nikki Parker, Reporter

The Student Government Association hosted a town hall meeting Wednesday to give App State students an opportunity to voice concerns about sustainability, safety and awareness. 

The goal of the meeting was for students to engage with on-campus resources and utilize SGA while expressing their concerns within a safe and respectful space. SGA can use students’ concerns to come up with solutions and implement changes said Cameron Hunter, host of the event and SGA director of student affairs. 

During the town hall meeting, students visited different booths to speak with SGA representative. Academics, Sports, Wellness, Diversity & Inclusion, Environmental & Sustainability, Student Affairs, External Affairs and Impact of Voting were among the booths represented. 

Many students voiced their concerns about Safe Ride, saying they feel the hours are insufficient for the needs of students. Because of Daylight Savings, it’s almost dark outside by 5 p.m., but Safe Ride doesn’t start until 9:45 p.m., Hunter said. 

AppalCart extended hours for four different bus lines at night, so Safe Ride kept its  operational hours for the remainder of the school year, from 9:45 p.m to 3:00 a.m. 

SGA Director of Student Affairs, Cameron Hunter, addresses students at the town hall.

Jamie Tedder, property security supervisor for App State Police, said drivers are notified immediately when a call for Safe Ride comes in.

“Depending on where the vans are at the time of the call, it can impact the response time for pick up. Our goal is to have students picked up within 10 minutes after they call us,” Tedder said.

“I came to the event to express my concerns with the school, currently, I am a night RA, meaning when I get off, it is usually 3 a.m. When I walk back to my dorm, I cannot help but notice the lack of lights we have here on campus. I always feel super unsafe. I hope App can find it in the budget to provide more lights to make students, like me, feel safe,” said second-year freshman accounting major Savinance Thelma Vambe. 

Another topic discussed was the lack of promotion of consent within the student body. Athletics and Greek Life are required by the university to take classes in which they are taught about consent. As for the rest of the student body, there is no requirement other than incoming freshman orientation. 

This year, SGA strayed away from primarily having cabinet members talking and opened the floor for student engagement. With more people in attendance voices of non SGA members could become the focal point as opposed to years in the past. 

SGA planned this year’s town hall meeting early and wanted to “go big” on advertising the meeting. They took steps to promote the meeting on social media platforms and through flyers throughout campus Hunter said. There were over 80 people in attendance; in relation to last years’ town hall meeting with less than 20 students. 

“I want students to use their voice. This is their school, and they should feel they have a say in what happens. Events like this are for the students directly. It is my hope that more and more students feel that they can find a voice through us in the future,” Hunter said.