During an informal general assembly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 29, Allegheny Student Government discussed changes to its communications, a potential change to first-year senate election dates and the organization’s presence at the Involvement Fair.
As it was an informal meeting, ASG did not follow its traditional format or Robert’s Rules of Order; instead, the meeting involved orientation of newer members and a reminder of new and old policies.
ASG’s internal communications have changed, as the organization has moved to the messaging application Slack, which allows senators and cabinet to stay updated in real-time. The app also lets ASG break discussions into multiple topics, or channels, to keep the discussions uncluttered.
ASG President Camila Gomez, ’19, said Slack offers benefits over other methods of communication.
“I think it’s so much more effective than trying to figure out group chats and GroupMe, and whatever else,” said Gomez.
The meeting included a short tutorial for members on how to best use Slack to communicate with the rest of ASG.
In addition to the changes to the organization’s internal communications, it seeks to improve its ability to send its message across the community.
During the meeting, senators were able to see a preview of ASG’s new website, which is easier to navigate and features a cleaner layout.
“The homepage is just a lot cleaner,” said Class of 2021 President David Roach. “There aren’t as many popup menus.”
The website also includes pages on the cabinet, senate and committees, and introductory pages for the general student body on what ASG does and how to start a new club.
Members suggested a sitemap be added to the new website to make it easier to navigate.
The student government also discussed the possibility of changing the election date for first-year senators. Elections for first-year senators have traditionally been held mid-September, but the organization discussed moving the date earlier in the month.
Senator Ben Blackburn, ’21, said he believes moving the date up would have little benefit to students.
“(If the date was made earlier,) that’s not a lot of time to look at it, decide you’re going to run, make your posters and then put them up,” he said. “And there’s still two days of voting.”
Another possible election change would be to invite students to an ASG meeting so that they would have an idea of what being involved in student government entails. The body agreed that, if this were to occur, the dates of introductory meetings would be announced at the Thursday, Aug. 30, Involvement Fair.
The body also discussed the Involvement Fair in greater detail, talking about their representation during the meeting.
ASG representation at the fair gives students a chance to see that “being a part of ASG lets students meet a lot of people with very different interests and backgrounds, so they can feel more engaged and hopefully find a passion for student government” Gomez said.
Gomez also discussed the possibility of a physical sign-up sheet for the ASG newsletter at the involvement fair. The newsletter is sent out biweekly, and is currently opt-in via the organization’s website.
The meeting also included a brief discussion on Robert’s Rules of Order. Robert’s Rules are the main method of parliamentary procedure used in diverse organizations, as well as the procedure for ASG assembly meetings.
“Basically it’s just a way to make sure the meeting stays organized and people aren’t speaking over each other,” Gomez said.
Although this informal meeting did not use Robert’s Rules, Gomez said future general assembly meetings would be governed by those rules, and would be structured by an agenda.
Senator Monessha Jayabalan, ’19, invited members of ASG to ask her questions about the organization’s parliamentary procedure.
“I was going to make a slideshow on Robert’s Rules, … but if you guys have any questions you can email me,” she said.
General assembly meetings are held Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Henderson Campus Center room 301/302. The next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 4.