Raymond Arke | Asst. News Editor
As the first semester of the school year begins to reach its home stretch, the Student Government Association (SGA) has been rather busy. The SGA, led by its president, James Daher, has sponsored events and launched fundraising projects, including Duquesne’s birthday celebrations and an event with the Red and Blue Crew.
The SGA partnered with other campus organizations for two major events this semester. James Daher, who is a junior economics major, said the SGA, with the help of Duquesne’s Office of Mission and Identity, brought the Farmer’s Market and Sustainability Fair to campus for the University’s birthday celebration in September.
Daher was pleased with the student response to the fair.
“Students really liked it … hopefully next year it will be bigger and better,” he said.
Another event the SGA organized was the Tipoff Tailgate, on Nov. 11, which they did in partnership with the Red and Blue Crew. Daher said that nearly 200 people came out to celebrate the start of the Duquesne Men’s basketball season.
The SGA focused its efforts this semester on collaborating with other campus clubs and organizations.
“We’re trying not to take on projects by ourselves,” Daher said. “We want to partner. You’ll get more people to the events.”
The SGA, in conjunction with Father Hogan’s scholarship office, has launched a major fundraising project in hopes of bringing a new mural to the third floor of the Student Union. The project will be a mosaic of Old Main, “made up of small pictures people pay to submit,” Daher said. He estimated that the price per submission will be around $30 or $35.
“If everything goes as planned, we will hopefully raise $200,000 for scholarships,” he said.
Other tasks by the SGA have been more routine, such as approving funding for conferences and continuing the Loop Bus.
The Loop Bus has long been an interesting subject for the SGA. Calls for the Loop Bus to be removed and Duquesne to switch to Port Authority passes “come up every year,” Daher said.
However, a chance for change is highly unlikely, as Daher reported that the SGA’s budget just is not large enough to fund free Pittsburgh bus passes.
Daher said that after analyzing a potential switch, they have found that tuition would have to rise to fund bus passes. As someone that lives off-campus, he did say he would not mind having a bus pass.
“I would love it, but for the average student we deemed they just wouldn’t get their money’s worth,” Daher said.
Participation in the student government is up this year, Daher was “proud” to report. Last year, The Duke reported on a lack of students involved as senators in the SGA. Daher credits the article for inspiring involvement.
“Since then we’ve had a really good push,” he said.
Their numbers have went up from eight senators last spring to 28 senators now.
“All the senator spots from the Business and Liberal Arts schools have been filled,” Daher said.
Additionally, the SGA has their first senator from the Law school in quite some time.
“[The law school senator] helps us out with student organization paperwork and constitutions,” Daher said.
Daher has an optimistic outlook for the rest of the year.
“I’m really happy to have the group we have. The past two years there has been a lot of drama and internal conflict; now there’s not much, if any. We’re blessed to have this group,” he said.