Thursday, July 24, 2008

An honor to serve...

I've been doing this Student Government training and research "thing" for more than 25 years now. Usually, it's not very glamorous, just a lot of hard work and research. We spend thousands of hours gathering and updating information and contacts for every college and university in America, for example.

But our work makes a difference in the lives of the student leaders and advisors who take advantage of ASGA's resources. Our work is important, and the knowledge of this makes all of the effort worth it.

It is an honor to earn the trust of hundreds of institutions that join ASGA because they believe we can help and serve them. We can help make them better. We take this responsbility seriously. The ASGA sees our role as servants-- servants to the student leaders and advisors who have the courage and foresight to understand that they can improve with a little help from the outside. That's ASGA.

I have the best job in the nation!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The first, the best, and the most

Student Governments are pretty quick to say things like "we have the largest budget in the nation," or "we have the most members" or "we were the first to do...whatever."

With 5,100 student governments nationwide, nearly everything has been done before or tried before.

For example, Wesleyan University's WSA representatives bragged in their campus newspaper that they're the first student government to create an "endowment" using unused funds from their annual budget. This is hardly true. There are several examples of fiscally conservative student governments (Eastern Connecticut State University, the University of Wyoming, and several of the public institutions in California come to mind immediately) that have roll-over monies that they hold close each year.

One of ASGA's many strengths is our vast database that includes information like this on every student governnment in America. Our members can search this. They also can communicate with thousands of their peers using our list-servs.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, they can save time by using ASGA's resources.

Wesleyan's WSA does something, however, that is worthy of mention. They produce a mid-year progress report that is circulated to the campus press, students, and staff. This reminds WSA members about the progress that has been made on specific projects, and it always reminds them of what it left to be done. It can help them focus on marshalling their resources to focus on completing specific projects before their terms of office conclude.