Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Student Government and Student Clubs

Earlier this month, students at SAIS Europe elected five classmates to become the members of the Student Government Association (SGA). 

The SGA is the liaison between students and the administration. It plays a very important role as the Association organizes many of the student-led activities and acts as a point of contact for classmates. The SGA President and the other four members have different responsibilities, which range from academic affairs, career services, cultural and social activities and treasurer.

Below, Khrystian Pereira, a current student in the MA program, reports on his meeting with a member of the SGA.

Things are finally in full-swing at SAIS in Bologna.

After having conquered pre-term, language placement tests, waiver exams and the class selection process, we are now enjoying everything that the School of Advanced International Studies has to
offer at the Bologna campus.

Recently, the Student Government Association (SGA) held its first Club Fair of the academic year, which brought together all the students at SAIS with one main aim: to get students involved. The SGA is the leading student organization on campus. I was able to spend some time with one of its representatives to get the scoop on everything Student Government related.

I met up with Jane Schott, a classmate from the United States. Jane is the newly elected Social Events Coordinator for the SGA. I asked Jane a few questions.

Q: Why do you think the SGA is important to SAIS Bologna and what are its responsibilities?
Schott: The SGA's main job is making sure that the faculty and administration work together as efficiently and harmoniously as possible. We are a large and diverse group of individuals here at SAIS and it is important that we have input into the administration and express our concerns as needed. Throughout the year the SGA will work as a bridge between the administration and students to foster strong communication between the two. We work with the student body and administration to troubleshoot any concerns that may come up throughout the year and work towards making changes that will positively reflect students' quality of life and education.

Q: How will the SGA cultivate a sense of community at SAIS?
Schott: We put on social events and sell SAISwear (SAIS clothing) throughout the year to help form a stronger community and to fund raise for our events.. Furthermore, we are in charge of overseeing the Student Clubs and organizing a number of social events, such as the annual Halloween party, a Thanksgiving dinner and the Vienna ball.

Q: How does the SGA help students at SAIS?
Schott: If there are topics that the student body or students would like to address, the SGA’s works with the administration to foster communication and provide alternative solutions and working plans. We are also always available to meet and listen to students who may have ideas about how to build a stronger community here at SAIS Europe.

The Global Women in Leadership table
Q: How does being involved in clubs at SAIS help with life after graduate school?
Schott: I think the most concrete benefits students gain from joining clubs at SAIS are the opportunities to network and to benefit from the professional experience clubs offer.

Several clubs at SAIS are long-standing ones that are based on professional development, which provide large networks of alumni for club members to interact with. Many of our groups also work closely with professors to help organize activities, like guest speakers and study trips, which also provide  an added academic value to joining a club at SAIS. Finally, clubs are a great way to make friends. Who doesn't want that?!

As a new student at SAIS, one can become overwhelmed by all activities to choose from. It can sometimes be difficult to decide which opportunities to participate in. Following the Club Fair, the SGA officially registered twenty-one student-led organizations,  ranging from lifestyle clubs, to entertainment clubs, to great academic clubs. Here is the official clubs list for this fall semester:

Jews and Pals
Gastronomy Club
Consulting Club
Coding Club
Energy and Environment Club
Model United Nations
Net Impact
Pan-Asian Club
Global Women in Leadership
Eastern Europe/Russian Club
Runner’s Club
Latin American Studies Program
Debate Society
Defense and Intelligence Club
The SAIS Observer
The Middle East & North Africa Club
Global Security and Conflict Management Club
Football Club
Yoga Club
Cinema Society
Pride Club

The Global Security and Cinema Society table

As you can see, there is definitely a club interest for everyone. However, creating a new club is quite simple. All ones needs to do is advertise one's organization at the fair, recruit a few number members, and  file an official form registration with the Student Government.  Once completed, the student is on his/her way to establishing a new organization at SAIS.

Like may of the SGA organized events, the Club Fair offers a very effective way of bringing our students together. The SGA events provide opportunities to bring diverse groups of students with varied backgrounds together to share common interests and  passions.

Here at SAIS,  one  does not only network with the students in your classes and in your clubs. Here, you become a part of a community of like minded individuals, who are keen and motivated to embark on internationals careers with passion and meaning, ready to  address the challenges and the opportunities of the future.

Khrystian Pereira,
SAIS Europe 2017

Photos by May Gabato, SAIS Europe 2017

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