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SGA Wants to Build A New Legacy

After a yearlong tension-filled administration, the current student leaders work to create a brighter future.
Provided by Ophelia Griffen
SGA President Ophelia Griffen.

  Last year, SGA caught the attention of the students and faculty – but not for new bills passing or legislation being introduced.   

  The previous administration faced scandals of resigning senators, unclear leadership and the impeachment of former SGA President Tim Nguyen. 

  Ophelia Griffin, a communications major, served as a senator during the tumultuous 2022-2023 academic year before becoming president in May 2023. Despite the negative circumstances, Griffin said she wasn’t scared to take on the new role. 

  “Last year’s Senate was more performative than anything. They just had a title and that was it,” Griffin said. “I hoped people knew my character enough to know that I could change SGA.”  

 Griffin said she didn’t only want to shift legislation and policies, but the morale in the organization and how the student body viewed SGA. She wanted to show her “true self” to her group. 

  “Yes, I am the president, but I am also just Ophie,” Griffin said. “I wanted people to know I was there.” 

  SGA has worked diligently to change the narrative by implementing renovations for the Miller-Nichols Library, Griffin said. The organization advocated for the renaming of Troost Avenue and endorsing 51st St. shifting to a pedestrian and bicycle-only pathway.  

  Reaching these goals helped redefine SGA and encouraged students to connect back with their student leaders, she said. 

  “I think having students trust you is better than any accomplishment,” Griffin said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love my position and love what I can do with this campus, but students believing that you can make change is so cool.” 

  After previously serving as a senator for the Bloch school, SGA Press Secretary Yasmen Hassen said she was prepared for the tensions and pressure of the group, joining SGA on the same day as Nguyen’s impeachment.

  “People were at each other’s throats. We lost the vision of what SGA was about,” Hassen said. “To earn that credibility back, we needed students to know that we were showing up for them.” 

  Hassen said she hopes to continue the upward trajectory of her work as press secretary by focusing on student awareness of SGA, food insecurity, transportation issues and representation. 

  “If we as an organization do not work to represent the students that we serve, we are doing them such a disservice,” Hansen said.

  Students can follow SGA on Instagram

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