Article Originally Published by Samuel Gomez on North Texas Daily
The Student Government Association will take on the fall semester with several new initiatives, such as a Black Lives Matter task force with other universities and an SGA Ambassadors program.
Newly-elected SGA President Michael Luecke and Vice President Cameron Combs said jointly in an email to the North Texas Daily that they have been working over the summer on their plans to address ongoing topics on campus, such as BLM and COVID-19.
“Michael and I have been in quite a few meetings regarding everything that has been happening nationally,” Combs said. “Outside of these meetings, we have been working with our executive board to break down all of the initiatives we ran our platform on.”
Combs said he and Luecke are working with other universities in the area on a task force called “The Coalition for Justice” to raise money for the BLM movement.
Luecke and Combs both spoke during the university’s Black Lives Matter virtual town hall on June 5 to address their concerns about racism on campus. Combs, who is a senior and former president of the Black Student Union, said he has experienced some sort of racial incident each year he has attended the university.
“I think there should be some sort of system where we are able to hold our staff members and faculty members accountable,” Combs said in the town hall. “I feel like we’re always having discussions but there’s no act that’s really happening.”
Combs and Luecke said one of their focuses for the fall semester is to make sure students feel safe on campus and to increase student morale.
“I’ve been a part of many conversations with Black students on our campus, and time and time again they say that they just don’t feel safe on our campus and they’re even scared to come back in the fall,” Luecke said in the town hall.
To assist in their mission, each member of the SGA executive team will be assigned their own initiative to spearhead and implement on campus.
“In the fall semester, we are excited to announce that we will be launching our new program, SGA Ambassadors, who will assist our organization by connecting our campus, supporting our organizations and being an advocate for our UNT community.”
Yasmin Behram, SGA Intern Program Director, said she wants to focus on creating a positive experience for first-year college students in the upcoming semester.
“I want this program to be one of the, if not the first program that these students are a part of at UNT,” Cameron and Luecke said. “Our weekly meetings will strengthen their leadership, professional and personal skills, while simultaneously giving them a first glance into how college student government works.”
Behram said along with her goal to create a safe environment for first-year students, she hopes mentors can provide students with tools to succeed as leaders.
“A big focus of mine is improving the intern program and immersing this upcoming group of talented first years in this program that helped me so much, both personally and academically,” Behram said.
Combs said SGA is planning to host several online events throughout fall for students to join, which will cover topics such as mental health, financial stability and COVID-19-related hardships.
“In the midst of these unprecedented times, we want students to know that their safety is most important to us,” Combs said. “We are going to look at each day and think, what can we do to make the campus a better place for all students? We are trying to look for the best in things with all of the uncertainty that lies ahead and remain positive no matter what.”
Featured Image: The UNT letters stand in front of the Welcome Center on July 14, 2020. The Student Government Association said they plan to help make the university a safer and more connected place despite challenges from COVID-19. Image by Samuel Gomez
Source: North Texas Daily