Q&A With SGA's Jill Berger

This Internal Vice President and “Despicable Me” fan has worked her summer off by planning a lot of work for your senators to do. She is going to make sure your senators Step Up or Step Out and serve their constituents.

What have you been working on so far?
I wanted to kind of revamp the system. I want to hold senators at a higher standard and icrease the SGA visibility to the student body so I’ve been thinking of ways. I’m a marketing major so I feel like I want to use marketing strategies to help us increase our visibility which is what we really need right now. I revamped our point system so instead of yelling at senators for not doing anything I’m going to give them rewards for doing good things. It’s going to be a monthly point systems.

Why was it important for you to implement a point system?
Sometimes the good seantors feel that they go unnoticed because we focus on people that aren’t doing anything. So I think with this new point system they’re going to be held accountable and they’re not going to want to be the senator that doesn’t get any points. They’re going to want to be the one that consistently gets the points. I’m working with administration right now so that the top 25 sentors at the end of the year are going to get a class credit or a senate certificate. Just something to add accomplishement to them to say ‘You know I wasn’t just in senate but I was one of the top 25 senators, this is what I did as a senator and this is my recognition that I got for it.’ 

Explain your visibility efforts for senators and SGA through the mobile offices.
Every other week instead of being cooped up here in the SGA office they’re going to be out in their colleges. They’ll all have the same shirts on, it’s going to be a big table, it’s going to say SGA, we’re going to have a big comment box. Basically encouraging students to come up to them and saying ‘What can we do? What problems are you having? Just so you know this is who we are.’ We’re going to hand out the weekly briefs. We’re going to have just different promo items and different things on the table that they can look at and just ways to welcome them in, increase our SGA visibility because sometimes students feel like we’re hiding up in here and we’re not letting them know what we’re doing. So I think with the mobile offices they’re going to get out there and talk to their constituents and they’re going to know who their senators are so if they do have a problem they know who to talk to. Also I think that will help them write effective legislation because they’re going to actually be talking to the students and they’re going to know what needs to be changed and what they need to be working on as a senator. 

What are you looking forward to the most with the approaching fall semester?
Getting to interact with the senators. I’ve been here all summer planning things for the year so I’m excited to see everything actually be executed. 

What is your favorite Texas Tech tradition?
I love everything that Saddle Tramps does. My favorite is the ringing of the bells when we kick off, when we score, and at the end of the game. I just think it kind of unifies our Tech spirit and brings everyone together. 

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Berger has an adoration for the movies Despicable Me and tends to use them as subjects in her Instagram photos.

Tell us about SGA week this semester.
We’re going to have one once a semester, this semester’s SGA week is October 14-18. This is just a day for us to let students know what SGA does and ways for us to connect to them. Our first day is Senate Day, we’re going to be focusing on the campaign of no texting and driving. We’re pairing up with AT&T and we’re having a texting and driving simulator out in front of the free speech area. Just kind of have people sign, saying ‘I pledge to not text and drive.’ It’s a big issue and I know right now the state of Texas is working on passing something to make it illegal. So you can actually get tickets if they see you texting and driving. So we’re in support of that. Tuesday is Know Your Rights day. We have an attorney general here in SGA and a lot of people aren’t aware of that so it’s going to be pretty much his day and he’s going to let students know what their rights are. We actually have a student bill of rights which a lot of people don’t know. We’re going to be working, ‘Hey if you do get in trouble here’s these contacts information. Here are your resources. If you ever have a question with anything here’s who to contact.’ You have rights as a student and they need to be aware of them. Wednesday is Research Day so we’re going to focus a lot on undergraduate research because I know that’s Luke Cotton’s one of his big initiatives. He wants to let students know these opportunities for them as freshmen and sophomores to start doing research and also for the graduates as well. We’re going to put that into just one research day and we’re going to pair up with the CALUE office. Thursday is Diversity Day and our diversity director is going to be putting that day up. Then Friday is Pies With The President which we’ve done that last semester and it was a big success. I think we’re going to get an athletic team to come out and kind of get their faces out there, the students can interact with them.

Which Tech mascot is your favorite, Masked Rider or Raider Red?
Masked Rider. I just like the tradition behind it. Everyone gets really pumped when they see him go across the field. I mean Red Raider is kind of more of a fun picture thing. I just think the Masked Rider is awesome, not a lot of schools have that. 

What’s the most exotic place you’ve been to?
I’ve never been outside the U.S. besides Mexico except that was a mission trip to Juarez so I don’t think that really counts, that’s not exotic. So I would have to say San Diego or Redondo Beach, just the South Bay area I love. 

How are you going to bring back to life the congress?
We’re bringing back the congress, so our senate, HSC [Health Sciences Center] senate, and the ASU senate we’re going to come together. We’re going to Skype in with ASU [Angelo State University] senate but we’re going to have all our president’s speak, President Nellis, President Mithcell and hopefully if Chancellor Hance’s availability he can come together and kind of speak to us as to what the system is up to. If we can just come together as our student senate as each of our campus’ and just kind of come together as one. 

Which student organization meetings will you be attending semesterly?
I would definitely like to make an appearance to as many as I can. I also really am going to delegate a lot of that to senators and am going to hold them accountable. 

Which student organizations are you most eager to work with?
I’m really looking forward to doing a lot of things with TAB. They’re another big organization that really connects tot the students and I really like the things that they do for our campus. 

What do you expect to get out of attending these meetings?
I just want them to know what we’re up to and I want to see what they want from us, I want feedback. That’s our job as the governing body at Texas Tech, is to actually speak to our constituents. I think the people in student organizations are the back bone of Texas Tech because they’re involved, they love the university, they want to give back, so I think by reaching out to them is probably the best way to go about it.

How will your interaction with the organizations help them in the long run?
I don’t think people realize how much power we have. We have a $4 million budget. We are the voice of students and we can speak to administration and if there’s something their specific organization wants we have connections. We can go up to specific administration and say, ‘Hey we just talked to the business ambassadors and here’s what they want to do on campus, what do you think about this?’ Where as they [student organizations] wont always the chance to meet with the president. Luke Cotton speaks to the Board of Regents so he can bring these ideas and actually make the university better through these different views from organizations.

Why was there such a disconnect between the senators and students in the past?
I don’t think in the past they’ve been given enough direction. I was a business senator and it was my first year. It’s really intimidating to know what to do your first year as a senator so I think just by giving them specific directions they’re more likely to do it. Making it a requirement for them they’re going to go and do it. Rather than just say, ‘Hey guys stand up in your classes.’ They’re going to get scared but if I give them, ‘Hey this is the times that our mobile offices are. You have to do this. This is your job as a senator.’ Then they’re going to do it. 

 

 

 

 

 

About Claudia Tristán

News Director    —    Journalism and Marketing double major, Class of 2013
Claudia works to cover current events and political issues that effect the Tech campus. She plans to return overseas as a foreign correspondent.

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