|By Sarah Steighner
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Another semester has arrived, and the Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) Student Government Association (SGA) is bringing vast opportunities and resources for students.
SGA is mainly responsible for overseeing the management of campus clubs and exists to help PSNK students have a voice in regards to everything campus related.
The six SGA executive representatives this year include President Marissa Russo, Vice President Cody Shoemaker, Treasurer Adis Juklo, Secretary Aarush Gupta, Upperclassmen Faculty Senate Representative Bill Carney, and Underclassmen Faculty Senate Representative Jonathan McCabe.
President Russo is currently a 21-year-old senior majoring in Information Science and Technology. Russo explained that she wanted to be SGA President in order to give fellow students the same opportunities and experiences that she has had on campus.
Her duties as President include being chair for the Student Activities Fee (SAF) and Student Facility Fee (SFF) committees, holding public meetings, talking with students, and overseeing campus clubs with Vice President Shoemaker.
Russo has also been actively involved on campus throughout her time here. Aside from her involvement with SGA, Russo’s past activities and club involvement include the Outdoor Adventure Club and being a Lion Ambassador for the Admissions Office.
Russo explained exactly what SGA does for the school. “We exist to make the student experience at PSNK a great one. We listen to students and try to improve based on their feedback on everything from common hour activities to the classroom,” said Russo.
Russo explained one of the major goals that SGA hopes to achieve as it exists. “I believe we [SGA] help to promote the sense of community on campus. In our network of clubs, you can meet so many people and it really makes you feel welcome at home,” said Russo.
Director of Student Affairs, Theresa Bonk, and Student Life Coordinator, Lauren Blum, work together to help oversee the SGA staff and their needs.
Bonk described the numerous responsibilities of SGA. “The SGA is responsible for maintaining the fiscal accounts of the various clubs and organizations on campus. Along with their primary responsibility of representing the student body on campus, they must oversee the registration of the clubs and organizations on campus,” Bonk explained.
While Bonk works perhaps most closely with SGA President Russo in her leadership responsibilities, she gets to oversee the majority of the SGA executive team.
“I believe that this team is working well together, but as with any team it takes a little while for members to understand their individual roles in an organization and then how those roles compliment and support each other in order to accomplish the mission and goals of that organization. They have a lot of responsibility,” said Bonk.
Vice President, Cody Shoemaker, is another vital part of the executive staff of SGA. Shoemaker is a 24-year-old senior majoring in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology.
In previous years, Shoemaker has been a part of THON, Drama Club, CAB, and Outdoor Adventure Club. He has also held the positions of SGA Treasurer and Baseball Club President, while also being an Orientation Leader and working in the Athletic Center on campus.
“I think the SGA at PSNK brings people the opportunity to have an opinion on what happens on campus. Through SGA, we provide the students an opportunity to have input on where their activity fee and facility fee money gets used on around campus,” Shoemaker said.
The PSNK SGA also has an official office on campus. This office is located in Café 780 near the pool tables.
“The office is open as long as someone from SGA is there, which usually amounts to about 4 hours of the day. The main purpose is for SGA staff, however, we encourage people to stop in when the office is open,” Shoemaker said.
Bonk also encourages students to stop by the numerous offices on campus that aid in anything they need. “Students should feel free to stop by the Office of Student Affairs to share any concerns or issues that they may have and tell us how they are doing. In addition, students are also welcome to go to the Director of Academic Affairs and the Chancellor,” Bonk said.
“Students involved in clubs should stop at the Office of Student Life first to ask questions and get assistance for club needs. All of us are here to work with the students to help them succeed at Penn State New Kensington. I’m sure that any faculty or staff member would be happy to meet with individual students or student groups,” Bonk said.
The next public meeting for SGA will take place at noon in the Art Gallery on Wed. Oct. 21. SGA meetings are required for all club officers. However, they are open to anyone from the public who wants to be more involved and hear about what is going on around campus.