By Lauren Wolters
University of Findlay’s Student Government Association (SGA) was highly involved in the university’s COVID-19 policies since they were first adopted this year.
Ashlyn Coleman, the Sergeant at Arms of the SGA says that at the SGA retreat this past August, much of the members’ attention was on the COVID-19 policies.
“We spent a decent portion of our day focusing on these new policies and protocols and how we can 1. Be positive leaders and role models on campus and 2. Incorporate these changes into our SGA responsibilities,” Coleman said in an email interview.
Coleman says they tried to consider how people on campus would feel about the COVID-19 policies.
“We worked on new and creative ways to lead student organizations to success while making sure they felt like they weren’t trapped or restricted by these campus protocols, as we still wanted to build the sense of community through socialization while being physical distant,” Coleman said.
COVID-19 has altered the role of SGA members.
“Eyes are on SGA members now more than ever, expecting us to be the push of rule followers as other students are constantly looking to us,” Coleman said.
Coleman says even approving budgets for clubs has changed. She said some of the more difficult alterations are that club meetings can only be held in half-capacity rooms, and at events food must be served by one person the whole event.
UF’s annual events have never been run this way, but Oiler Nation is quickly adapting to these new rules.
A recent adaptation by the SGA is the COVID Task Force, which is composed of Dave Emsweller, who is the Vice President of Student Affairs, Olunife Akinmolayan, who is the President of SGA, and several other SGA members.
The idea behind the COVID Task Force is to help UF stay up to date on COVID-19’s ever-changing policies and standpoints. The Task Force will also help improve communication between Student Affairs and the SGA. The SGA also hopes that the Task Force will help to better vocalize student opinions and concerns.
As far as concerns go, Coleman says there is some division in the Oiler community. She says some students have been ignoring UF’s policies regarding COVID-19, while others are too scared to not follow them.
Another goal of the COVID-19 Task Force is to decrease this division and put students on the same page as far as COVID-19 guidelines.
“We hope that with our new COVID Task Force we can create a safer environment for our students and staff that will keep us in person and healthy,” Coleman said.
COVID-19 cases have been on the rise at UF the past several weeks.
“This rise in cases has not been overlooked, and we are actively listening to students to create change that will better our campus when spring semester comes around,” Coleman said.
“Student Affairs and SGA have just started meeting to discuss the Oiler Start Safe & Stay Safe Plan to see what adjustments we might want to make for the spring semester,” Emsweller said in an email interview. “Any modifications made will most likely be shared over the break or just prior to classes starting next semester.”
“We are listening to students, faculty, staff and community members to gauge where focus lies, especially at this point in the semester,” Coleman explained. “I think we can expect to see many of our protocols still in place but there is definitely a possibility to see some changes this upcoming semester.”