Colorado Springs City Council members are frequent guests at SGA senate meetings. SGA established this relationship with city council in hopes of giving students a voice in local decisions.
Speaker of the Senate Nicholas St. John said there are two avenues by which SGA collaborates with local government — through SGA senate meetings and the Government Affairs Committee.
St. John said he has invited city council members to senate meetings to establish a relationship and give students a voice in city council’s decisions.
He said, “The goal is to get more students involved in city government and get city government more interested in what we have to say.”
St. John believes SGA benefits from the collaboration because of the insight given into the inner workings of local government and the shared viewpoints of the various speakers. “They got a unique perspective from a council member that they otherwise would never have an opportunity to really get,” he said.
St. John also believes that having the council members speak at meetings can be a learning opportunity for students who attend. “I think it’s important for students to have that opportunity available to them. And of course, in the future, if SGA at UCCS is really connected with the city council … The changes that students want could possibly be enacted,” he said.
While no tangible effects have come from the partnership, St. John hopes that this relationship will blossom into a cooperative partnership between SGA and city council.
He said, “I definitely think it’s just laying the groundwork for inter cooperation so that when things do come up that involve the school directly, they can come talk to us and ask how we feel or invite us to come talk at our at their city council meetings and help whip up support maybe of students.”
The relationship between SGA and local government has developed from single members coming to speak to various local committees expressing interest in visiting.
St. John spoke of an upcoming visit by a local law enforcement committee. He said, “The Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission for the city, LETAC… They are coming to a senate meeting before the end of this semester.”
The other avenue by which SGA interacts with local government is through the Government Affairs Committee. St. John described the committee’s goal as “to work with local government to improve student collaboration and involvement in local government.” The committee is run by students Aidan Clark and Lauren Butler.
According to the Government Affairs Committee website, they address matters of government that specifically affect the student body. Their website says, “GAC shall determine student concerns and needs with regards to local, state, nation and/or international governmental policies that affect the Student Body.”
SGA senate meetings are open to the general student body and take place every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in UC 303.