MATT HAMPTON | Reporter
After Lindenwood Student Government switched from weekly to biweekly meetings this semester, Student Involvement unveiled plans to transform the tiering system for student organizations and the constitution of LSG for next semester.
The LSG restructuring proposal would get rid of representatives from each student organization, and instead LSG would consist of 23 appointed senators representing various categories of students, such as freshmen or commuters, and an elected executive board with a president and six vice presidents.
Student Involvement Director Angie Royal announced the plan to the LSG General Assembly on Mar. 7.
Royal said the changes were devised based on practices of other schools by Student Involvement Coordinator Rachel Tolliver, Associate Director of Student Involvement Nikki Cornwell, Associate Vice President of Student Life & Diversity Shane Williamson, and Royal herself on the recommendation of Williamson. Royal said in an email that the purpose was to adhere to the university’s strategic plan and promote more diverse leadership in student government.
When Royal announced the restructuring plan to the General Assembly, it was generally well-liked. However, some students expressed concerns about whether all students could be effectively represented by the senate, rather than one representative from each organization.
Royal said that to ensure sufficient representation, student involvement is looking into having senators represent groups of about ten related organizations and increasing the number of student government positions.
Under the current plan, the Senate consists of five senators representing non-Greek organizations, three representing Greek organizations, two at-large senators representing the whole university, one senator each for the seven academic schools, the Residence Hall Association, commuters, the Campus Activities Board, the Freshman Council, the Student Athlete Advisory Council and Student Life Sports.
Student Senator Jack Bedtke, a freshman, said the change will give a voice to more students than just those in organizations.
“A lot of people work and they have sports, so they can’t be in those organizations to really get their voice heard,” he said.
In November, LSG voted to cut general assembly meetings to biweekly, with town hall meetings of the senate and executive board on the off weeks to vote on funds requests.
“Not a lot of people like to take out thirty minutes of their day every single week, for something that they don’t really have to,” Bedtke said.
Under the plan for next semester, General Assembly meetings only occur monthly and do not require a representative from each organization, a requirement which some small groups find burdensome. Royal said she heard no negative feedback about less frequent meetings, and said the changes were prompted by struggles with attendance last semester.
With less frequent LSG meetings, Student Involvement will rely more on technology and one-on-one conversation to communicate with student organizations.
At the first LSG meeting this semester, Royal released planned changes for the tiering system, which determine how student organizations earn funds and other benefits. The changes included requirements for event planning, leadership development, and community service hours. The goal of this and other future changes is to “grow and document” the service done by student organizations, Royal said.
Some students objected that the requirements were too demanding. Royal said the number of service hours have been reduced based on this feedback, but the requirements were based on the average amount of service and other activities organizations already participated in.
“We didn’t try and make it unattainable, we really kind of kept it honestly what people were already doing, ” she said.
Royal said she is glad that students like the restructuring plan and appreciates feedback that can help make it work.
“Change is uncomfortable, and it can be unsettling, but I do feel like everybody for the most part kind of understood where we were coming from,” she said.