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Georgia Southern’s student government leads with Vision 20/20 initiative

Georgia Southern University’s Student Government Association (SGA) has created Vision 20/20, a statewide initiative to help student representatives better respond to student needs.

At last year’s SGA summer retreat, SGA President Dylan John said he listened to SGA representatives from other institutions talk about a range of ideas that didn’t seem to be rooted in any data. Without a framework for student concerns, he thought, each new administration was essentially starting over.

“As SGA presidents, we come in for a one-year term and before we know it, it is time to hand over the reins to the next president and administration,” said John. “While presidents and their administrations do their due diligence in sharing knowledge and information for continuity with a successor, it is sometimes inefficient to keep up with the broad issues and identify if SGA is being effective in serving students in those areas.”

To identify the issues of student concern, John and Georgia Southern SGA representatives put together an online questionnaire, which they made available to students on campus, and another made available to students at 18 other participating colleges and universities, including Armstrong and Georgia State.

Students across the state said that campus safety was their highest concern, followed by college affordability, sexual violence, diversity and inclusion, and administrative transparency. Armed with this data, John hopes to create best practices guide for incoming SGA administrations across the state in order to help them better respond to students.

“The analysis of data has given us broad statewide rankings of critical concerns and shared the rankings of individual institutions,” said John. “We hope that this model will grow and improve to being a benchmark not only in the state of Georgia, but for student governments across the nation.”

John hopes the initiative will grow into a bi-annual study, which college and university SGAs will be able to review progress, the pulse on their campus and allow for better planning and advocacy alignment. This will also allow institutions to know how they measure up against the overall state student rankings and work to finding solutions to these concerns.

“I am proud of this first step that we have taken with the SGA Vision 20/20 program as the Student Government Association at Georgia Southern University,” continued John. “ I am very thankful to the many student governments in the state that partnered with us in any capacity on this initiative, as the broader participation and involvement is the true success of this program. This allows for us as SGA leaders to have more information, greater insight and a basis for collaboration as we initiate action.”

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving 20,673 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.

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