The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

SGA reimplements liaison program to promote student representation

Kiersten Riedford
Samara Smith, SGA Community Engagement Coordinator, speaks at an SGA meeting on Nov. 3, 2022, on the importance of addressing the intolerance Jewish students have faced at DePaul.

Student Government Association (SGA) discussed reimplementing the student liaison program at their Sept. 21 general body meeting. The program helps promote SGA’s engagement with other student organizations by encouraging them to attend general body meetings, ultimately gaining representation in their decisions. 

“I ran for SGA President on the platform of bringing more student voices to the university table, and that has to start by inviting students to our table,” said Parveen Mundi, SGA president and junior. “The liaison program lets students continue the work their groups do so well already and also invites them into our space.”

Samara Smith, SGA community engagement coordinator and senior, is leading the reimplementation of the liaison program but said it was not originally her idea. She said Mundi and Avery Schoenhals, SGA vice president and junior, gave her the responsibility to ensure SGA took an active role in interacting with other student organizations.

“We want more students to just be more aware of what SGA does and how we operate,” Smith said. “This program gives other student organizations direct access to our meetings and helps them understand that this organization isn’t so intimidating. Not only will we have liaisons, but maybe people will want to then run and be part of this organization for years to come.”

The program is written into the SGA constitution and existed prior to the Covid-19 shutdown when SGA found it harder to collaborate with other student leaders. Jaslynn Hodges, SGA chief of staff and second-year graduate student, was in SGA before the pandemic but never saw the program active. 

“I don’t think [Covid-19] was a time or circumstance where the liaison program could have been as fruitful or successful as it can be now,” Hodges said. 

Hodges knew about the liaison program last year when SGA began holding conversations about implementing it. While she was the SGA community engagement coordinator last year, she will not be actively building the program.

“I was in that position last year to build connections with other organizations but now it’s up to [Smith] to do that,” Hodges said. “She is extremely kind and personable, and she’s more than capable for this. She wouldn’t have been appointed to this position if she wasn’t.” 

Representatives from student organizations outside of SGA can apply to be a liaison through their official Instagram (@sgadepaul). The SGA constitution caps the number of liaisons allowed to participate but does not give an exact number. Mundi said the number of liaisons will depend on interest in the program and what SGA believes to be a representative student body group.

“I hope the liaison program can bridge the gap between the incredible work [other] organizations and communities are already doing on our campus and how SGA can help,” Mundi said. “I am confident that between SGA’s advising team and the Cabinet we will be able to build an even more supportive and consistent cohort this year.” 

The SGA cabinet will review applications submitted and then approve liaisons. Mundi said she expects liaisons will be able to attend events in their representative roles by the end of fall quarter.

Smith is not on the SGA cabinet and will not help review applications. She is still sharing information about the liaison program to encourage students to join by attending student organizations’ events and interacting with student leaders. 

“It seems like certain issues SGA has had in the past were not fully representative of a lot of the student body,” Smith said. “Having more direct connections and direct interactions with specific student populations who are affected by certain issues will be more helpful to us.”

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