SGA reflects on their tenure


Michael Bauer

Deon Wilson, right, and Tyler Sanchez, left, meet with students at the presidential meet and greet in March 2021. Wilson and Sanchez reflect on their tenure.

Artie Bennett, News Editor

As the spring semester comes to a close, Student Government Association President Deon Wilson and former Vice President Tyler Sanchez reflected on their tenure, battling Hurricane Ida, the pandemic, and a delayed start to the Spring semester. 

“More happened this year than we could have imagined, and we saw it through,” Wilson said. 

The Wilson-Sanchez ticket ran on a three-pillar platform of accessibility, transparency, and student engagement. Sanchez said that though he stepped down as vice president to focus on his mental health, he’s proud of what they’ve accomplished this semester. While the duo fulfilled some of their campaign promises, like establishing an SGA website, Sanchez said they didn’t have the time and resources to meet all their goals. Despite a positive attitude, the ticket failed to accomplish most of the goals they campaigned on. 



Wilson and Sanchez said they wanted to increase accessibility on campus, providing students with more access to academic, mental, and physical health resources, according to their campaign Instagram. The duo campaigned to have gender neutral bathrooms and access to menstrual products in all campus buildings, though neither has been completed. The Communications/Music Complex added menstrual products to the building’s women’s bathrooms, though this was achieved by Mass Communication Professor Lisa Collins. Thanks to a senate initiative, currently, women’s bathrooms in the Danna Center and Monroe Hall have free menstrual products, according to Sanchez. 

During their campaign, Wilson and Sanchez called for gender neutral bathrooms to be put in all buildings on campus, which has not been achieved. Sanchez said they met with campus facilities and the Office of Equity and Inclusion to establish which locations would be best for gender neutral bathrooms, though further progress was delayed by Hurricane Ida. 

The duo planned to start an executive COVID-19 committee to help students adjust to pandemic living, which Sanchez said did not happen because there wasn’t enough interest or available staff. 

Wilson and Sanchez also planned to revive the Ignition Program, which gave students free textbooks in partnership with the Office of Institutional Advancement. SGA passed the Pursuit of Excellence scholarship, which provided some students with $300 towards textbooks, but this was not in connection with the Ignition Scholarship, but rather an effort by Senator-at-Large Patrice Robers. 

In an effort to increase inclusivity on campus, Wilson and Sanchez wanted to update PAWS and Reflect training and require all faculty to attend. This has not been accomplished, which Sanchez attributed to not having a director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for a large portion of the year. 

SGA established a disability committee, led by College of Arts & Sciences Senator Analene McCollough, which advocates for accessibility and accommodations on campus, according to the SGA newsletter. 

To help students struggling financially, SGA has contributed to scholarships and funds like the student hardship fund and Grace of Ignatius award, Wilson said.

“When we ask students what they want, it’s usually monetary,” Wilson said. 

Wilson said SGA has also started hosting Iggy’s Cupboard Pop-Ups, led by the Court of Review, where students can grab free food in a farmers’ market-like environment. 

Sanchez said that while they didn’t accomplish all of their goals, he’s happy to see progress. 

“We haven’t accomplished as much as we wanted to,” Sanchez said, “but I think we got that ball rolling in ways we haven’t in a long time.”

Student engagement

After returning from a tumultuous pandemic year, Wilson and Sanchez said they wanted to improve student engagement and bring back pre-COVID-19 campus spirit. The ticket wanted to establish an alumni mentorship program modeled after the College of Business, though they were unable to meet this goal. 

“I hope whoever is the next president and vice president are able to dedicate some time and energy into that,” Sanchez said. “It would be really beneficial to the student body.” 

While they were unable to establish a campus-wide mentorship program, Wilson said she is proud of the events SGA put on this year, like the Loyno Flea Market, planned by Adele Colson, senator for the College of Arts & Sciences and SGA presidential candidate. Wilson and Sanchez both said that the University Programming Board, led by Director of Programming Faith Hogg, has been working hard to plan events and boost student involvement. 

“I have to give most of the props to UPB,” Wilson said. “They have been the rockstars of  student engagement since I’ve been on campus and they get better every year.” 

Wilson and Sanchez also planned to create more places for commuters on campus, though Satchmo’s Lounge remains the only dedicated commuter space. 

Administrative transparency 

To improve administrative transparency, Wilson and Sanchez promised to build an SGA website that contains information about all members and the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as highlighting weekly SGA information and updates, according to their campaign instagram. The administration did pilot a website that was intended to launch in January, though it was released this week, in the last month of the semester. The website houses information about scholarships, Iggy’s cupboard, and other resources. 

“Our director of communications (Asha Altemus) has been working incredibly hard on that for the past year and now it will be in practice for years after us,” Wilson said.

Sanchez said he’s been focused on taking better meeting notes and voting records so students and future SGA members can have access to them. 

During their campaign, Wilson emphasized the importance of transparency surrounding the SGA budget, which is posted on the SGA website. Wilson said that she wanted the budget to be posted before it was passed. Despite this, the fall and spring semester budgets were passed without being presented to the general student body, with the fall budget changing just hours before voting.

Other projects

Outside of their central pillars, Wilson, Sanchez, and other members of SGA pursued projects to improve the student experience. Senator-at-Large and SGA Presidential Candidate Stephanie Oblena, alongside Sanchez and other members of SGA, partnered with the university sustainability committee partnered with the University Sustainability Committee to pitch the Green Fund, a student-funded and managed allocation towards campus sustainability efforts. 

Wilson, on the other hand, said she was most proud of her presentations to the board of trustees, where she advocated for student needs.