Fostering an inclusive and participatory decision-making Student Government


Nipuna Ambanpola

Pictured: The new Student Government Association Executive Board.

Firstly, I would like to thank the entire student community of Armstrong for believing in our leadership. The future of the Student Government Association of Armstrong needs to be what we campaigned for, to foster an inclusive and participatory decision-making environment. Our mission comes from the bottom of our heart. Inclusive and participatory decision-making has never been so important to this university, especially because of the consolidation. Now it’s not merely a choice, it’s taking responsibility of our future.

Our mission is to represent the best interests of the students at Armstrong throughout the consolidation while addressing issues and concerns they may have in our university. In order to do this better, we’ve come up with some strategic goals. We’ve already started working on these and right after the inauguration in April, we hope to start doing the spadework to achieve our goals. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it is what we signed up for.

Collaboration is one of the most important things we want to increase. In our leadership, we hope to introduce three Vice President positions to the executive committee. These titles will join the VP of Outreach, which was already created to communicate and collaborate with the Recognized Student Organizations on campus. The new VP positions; VP of Academic Affairs, VP of Advancement, and VP of Alumni & Veteran Affairs will seamlessly come into play in collaborating with the staff and administration on campus. After the senate approval, the Vice Presidents will reach out to the staff on their respective areas of responsibility and make schedules to meet with them in order to create a direct platform of communication. This way, we will be able to represent student concerns with the administration in the most important avenues of our university that directly affects the quality of student life. This will also increase in collaboration between the Student Government Association and our great faculty and staff. We will continue to work together.

Representation in the senate is very important too. We have already amended the constitution to be able to increase the maximum amount of seats available in the senate each year if needed. After the student body confirms the constitutional amendment, we will be able to invite more student leaders on campus to be a part of the senate, representing their college. We are putting together a plan to reach out to student organizations individually to find out the student leaders and encourage them to be a part of the senate. When we increase participation, we become a body that represents students from all walks of life. We will be able to create effective discussion and bring student concerns to light. This way, we contribute to making the Student Government Association an inclusive one.

Information goes both ways. We are discussing ways to better promote information to the students through the Student Government Association. In this discussion, we are focusing on increasing our activity on social media and the Armstrong website. We need to be able to expose the legislation that is being debated on the floor and also the discussions that take place. Sometimes there is a tendency to not look through the information even though it’s available. So we are hoping to take a step closer towards the students in presenting them the information. I think this is the best we could do.

Engagement is another thing that keeps the campus vibrant. We hope to invest our time and commitment to increase marketing of the Student Government Association to the students. We need to accommodate more students at our meetings. As we all know, the Senate meetings are open to any and all students at Armstrong. We need them to be able to participate and bring suggestions and/or concerns they have. Engagement also goes both ways. We need the students to tell us what we need to be doing and what we could do. If we are not doing great at something we need the students to be comfortable in reaching us and letting us know. These conversations don’t need to happen during business hours or during senate meetings. They can happen while we eat, while we walk around or simply, anywhere on or off campus.

Our differences need to become the very tool that takes us forward in finding innovative solutions to challenges we face on campus.

These are some of the general goals we would like to accomplish in the coming year, but there are definitely many more underlying accomplishments we hope to reach. We look forward to working with our amazing staff, faculty and students in bringing the best of us to represent the best interests of Armstrong. I would like to thank the Student Government Senate for all the hard work they already do, especially the executive committee. They’ve worked tirelessly to improve the quality of our campus. My team and I are humbled and honored to be taking the responsibilities after them to do what we do best – representing our community to promote Armstrong’s core values and uphold it’s mission.