SGA senators strive to help students reach Washington

October 30, 2009

by Eboni Jaggers

The Student Government Association’s College of Liberal Arts senators rallied on Tuesday for the chance to give a deserving student the opportunity to serve as a Washington, D.C., intern during Summer 2010.

The Waggonner Center, the institute the senators proposed to serve, is a Tech-based program which fosters citizenship, bipartisan understanding, effective public policy and civic leadership amongst all students, regardless of major.

The senators’ bill proposed that members allocate $1,000 from SGA’s Senate Project Fund, which is delegated $2,000 per quarter, to fulfill SGA’s promise to students “to establish and execute such programs and projects beneficial to the students,” as stated in the organization’s Constitution.

Jason Pigg, an associate professor of political science, said from the Waggonner Center’s beginning, it was the center’s ultimate goal to offer Tech students the opportunity to participate in an internship in Washington, D.C.

“I would like to thank SGA for considering this proposal,” Pigg said. “Any assistance from SGA would be much appreciated. The cost of a single internship through the Washington Center, [an internship program which serves all majors in a variety of fields], is $8,995. We are currently in the process of raising funds for the [newly created] Center, but we are only about one-twentieth of the way there. Any help from SGA would mean that we would not have to draw down from the endowment balance, [which will ultimately stabilize the long-term financial stability of the Center].”

Clint Carlisle, College of Liberal Arts senator and sophomore political science major, said he and the other senators devised the Additional Funding for Waggonner Center Internships bill in hopes to provide an excellent opportunity for a deserving student to participate in The Washington Center experience.

He said there were no other existing bills proposed by other senators to be considered, so he jumped at the chance to offer students this opportunity – one he feels will be viewed as something tangibly done with student funds.

“We’re just doing our part [as members of SGA],” Carlisle said. “We can sit here meeting after meeting and talk about writing bills and not do anything about it [which has seemed to be the case this quarter]. We’re donating $1,000 to the internship’s fund. Whether that helps to get four, five or six to Washington, its contributing to the cause and that is our goal, to give someone, any student, the opportunity to get some real world experience and offer them the chance to do something they wouldn’t normally get to do.”

Casey Cascio, College of Liberal Arts senator and sophomore aviation management major, said in previous quarters he noticed a trend in just what SGA seems to deem worthy of its funding.

“The senate seems hesitant to pass any bill not pertaining to bike racks or trashcans,” Cascio said.

Elizabeth Synder, College of Education senator, said she agrees with Carlisle, saying this is a way to spread Tech’s name across the country to the nation’s capitol.
She said she is from Florida and outside of the Louisiana virtually no one knows about Tech, let alone the Ruston area.

“This is doing something to benefit our university as a whole,” Snyder said. “Everyone knows the risks of stocks and bonds. The Waggonner Center is brand new; everything is brand new at some point. We’re investing in this bill and hoping it does well.”

The senate motioned to table the bill until next Tuesday’s meeting.

To any senators opposing the bill, Carlisle had this to say:
“[The opposition] only adds fuel to my fire,” he said. “It only makes me want to fight [for the cause] harder.”