Skip to main content

College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Student Government Association strategic plan focuses on diversity

By Bridgett Dillenburger ’23

The University of Dayton 2022-23 Student Government Association is implementing a strategic plan to foster a campus climate that seeks out and values diverse perspectives.

Approved in April by the Academic Senate, the plan’s goal is to better align the organization with the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. The plan includes guidance for future SGA administrations regarding DEI efforts, as well as steps to improve the organization’s daily operations.

“I hope this shows the UD community that we want to progress, that we recognize where our faults are and we are working and pledging to fix that,” said SGA President Sofia Garcia, a senior political science major from Cincinnati. “For future SGA executive board members, I hope this is something that they look at continuously to hold themselves accountable and use it as a way to measure their successes.”

The focus of diversity, equity and inclusion is significant, given the majority of this year’s SGA board members, including the president and three vice presidents, are women and people of color. In all, 20 of SGA’s 47 members come from diverse backgrounds.

“Throughout my time in SGA, I have seen how it has been hard for members to have tough conversations due to the lack of perspectives and maybe students not feeling as comfortable with one another, and we hope to change that,” Garcia said. “We also have a goal to have diversity and representation of the undergraduate student body in our membership composition, and I really think that has shown so far, and we will continue to progress on that as well.”

Marcus Dunlap, vice president of communications and a senior economics major from South Bend, Indiana, said that as a person of color on the executive board, he hopes to inspire others to run for more leadership positions. 

“I hope groups that are more represented on the SGA executive board now continue to strive for positions of power and leadership,” Dunlap said. “By involving yourself with organizations such as the Student Government Association, you gain the opportunity to work firsthand alongside others to make a positive change on campus.”

SGA is a representative governing body that addresses the needs and concerns of undergraduates at UD. More than 70% of this year’s members have majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, including Garcia, Dunlap and Vice President Anastasia Stowers, according to data from the College Dean’s Office. 

“I was happy to learn how well-represented the College of Arts and Sciences is on this year's SGA,” said Danielle Poe, College dean. “The implementation of the SGA Strategic Plan is important work that will push all of us to honor the dignity of all people.”

Garcia said she was grateful for the support of the College’s faculty and staff during her SGA campaign. She said they truly care about what they do and the students they teach.

“When I was campaigning, they always checked in, cut me a little slack and would be so engaged with the process,” Garcia said. “It was very coincidental that as I was campaigning, I was taking former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft’s legislative politics class and learning about the ins and outs of actual campaigning. I remember joking with Gov. Taft saying, ‘I don’t know how you did this for months in real life and I was struggling just for a week.’”

After graduation, Garcia plans to attend law school to become an attorney and work in areas of immigration and human rights. She said her UD professors have pushed her in areas she did not think she could excel in and she hopes she can represent their hard work, dedication and care for others. 

“My education and experiences here at UD have taught me so much about myself as a leader and as a student,” Garcia said. “Whether it be critical thinking skills, writing skills, time management, learning how to delegate, how to put myself out there, I think UD has really given me the tools to succeed in whatever area I go into.”

Dunlap plans to work with Crowe LLP, a Chicago-based public accounting firm, as part of its internal audit team. He hopes he has shown that anyone, regardless of major or background, can have a leadership position in student government. 

“With the 2022 Strategic Plan set in motion, it is imperative that those from all majors and backgrounds get involved with SGA,” Dunlap said. “If you want to see your ideas come to light through action, then student government is the perfect way to accomplish this goal.” 

SGA meets at 5 p.m. Sundays in the Kennedy Union ballroom. For more information about UD’s Student Government Association and the 2022 Strategic Plan implementation, visit the SGA website.

Photo: Top row (left to right) Kevin Parente, Attorney General, and Daniel Hennessey, Speaker of the State. Bottom row (left to right) Marcus Dunlap, VP of Communications, Sofia Garcia, President, Anastasia Stowers, VP, Anastasia Gay, VP of Finance.

Previous Post

ArtsLIVE returns with live classical and jazz music performances

The University of Dayton's ArtsLIVE Performance Series resumes with the first of several concerts scheduled for the 2022-23 academic year.
Read More
Next Post

College Faculty in the News: Oct. 10, 2022

News agencies across the region, the nation and throughout the world often reach out to our faculty experts for their perspectives on today's issues.

Read More