SGA introduces plan to address diversity, equity and inclusion 

Current SGA President Drew Moyer said the plan should serve as a guide to support SGA to become a better organization for years to come.

Grace DiPierro | Staff Writer

The University of Dayton’s Student Government Association has worked to improve its engagement with the student body, especially related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Members have been working on the organizational focus of SGA since January, with special attention placed on DEI.

SGA has been working with Tiffany Taylor Smith, vice president of diversity and inclusion at UD to determine how SGA can be more helpful for students. The aim of this project is to address the growing and diverse needs of UD students, as well as to seek out and amplify diverse voices. 

“SGA wants to become a better advocate for the student body, bridging the gap between UD administration and students,” SGA President Drew Moyer said. 

The proposed plan functions to align SGA with the initiatives that UD has set in place regarding diversity and inclusion. The first step in this process was for SGA to acknowledge areas of weakness in meeting the needs of students in the UD community.

“This plan serves as a guide to help support SGA to be a better organization for years to come,” Moyer said.

In order to see where SGA could improve, the working group utilized a DEI self-assessment created by Taylor Camara, a current graduate student, and Grace Gardner, a coordinator for greek life and leadership, both at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

This self-assessment was published by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to provide student organizations with information to create a more inclusive organization as well as how to support a more diverse population.

Sofía García, SGA president-elect, and Anatasia Stowers, vice president-elect, said: “Making sure SGA includes equity and inclusion in their mission, values and goals was a change that should’ve been made long ago, and for us this means more representative SGAs to come.”

Over the past few months, SGA representatives have also been brainstorming how to be more relevant in the lives of students. Representatives have explored ways to better support students and how to increase interest in serving as a representative for SGA.

The strategic plan outlined three main goals, each of which is accompanied by their own set of action steps and ways to measure progress. 

The first goal addresses the organizational climate of SGA and seeks to bring in more diverse perspectives. In addition, increasing the support and feelings of belonging among each member of SGA is important in creating a well-adjusted and cohesive student government, according to the strategic plan. 

The second goal focuses on how SGA interacts with students, specifically establishing and maintaining rapport. In the future, SGA hopes to further clarify for students that their representatives are an accessible resource for many different issues students may be facing.

The last goal centers around SGA member development. SGA wants to provide more opportunities for representatives to develop professionally, culturally and as UD’s student leaders.

“This means a lot to us because we are using it as a backbone for our future endeavors,” García and Stowers said. “To us, the plan is also a tool to hold ourselves accountable and for future SGAs to do so as well,” 

To make these aspirations a reality, the working group on this project has created detailed plans to implement their work in the coming months. The plan has built-in time for review and planning before the new semester begins, with monthly updates and progress reports scheduled.

SGA has discussed editing the bylaws to confirm that these plans are embedded in the organization going forward. If needed, SGA has also considered adding new positions or responsibilities to existing positions to ensure the work on organizational culture and diversity, equity and inclusion continues.

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