Special Committee on Membership continues discussion about intern program

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The Special Committee on Membership met in the Student Governing Association conference room Sunday to continue discussing the pending legislation to alter the implementation of the SGA internship program.

The bill would combine aspects of the Accelerated Fellowship Program that ran earlier this semester with elements of the current internship program.

“The intent behind making the intern program more accessible is that we can start to have buy-in from groups that don’t necessarily fit the mold of what traditional interns have looked like in the past,” said Ryan Kelly, student senator and junior in civil engineering. “I think that in time, what we will see is more engagement and more advocacy via Student Governing Association from these groups.”

Stephen Kucera, student support director and graduate student in accounting, said the legislation would not fix the lack of proportional demographic representation.

“This takes care of the selection part that has kept some of those students outside the rim, but it doesn’t somehow wave the magic wand and all of a sudden everyone knows and is aware and everyone can engage with student government,” Kucera said.

Nick Nordstrom, student senator and junior in biology, said he had doubts about the bill. Nordstrom said that, while he thinks the new legislation addresses the issue of accessibility, it will take away the relational, close-knit aspect of the intern program by adding more people to the mix.

Faith Tuttle, student senator and junior in political science, expressed concern about the amount of changes the bill could create. She said one of her concerns is that the length of the first phase of the proposed intern program is too short.

“It’s only five weeks,” Tuttle said. “When I was an intern last year, five weeks in, I was only starting to get my footing. It wasn’t until … December or January before I was comfortable with the process and everything.”

Jordan Kiehl, SGA chief of staff, student body president-elect and junior in industrial engineering, said she thinks the five weeks will adequately provide the necessary context “to understand the greater picture of SGA.”

“You can kind of understand the bits and pieces a little bit more because you’ve had those five weeks where you’ve talked about each little part of SGA and what it means for the whole,” Kiehl said.

The committee favorably referred the bill to the student senate for debate and action at the next meeting Thursday.

After spring break, the committee will reconvene March 25 in the SGA conference room in the Center for Student Involvement.

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I'm Kaylie McLaughlin, the assistant news editor this semester. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnees, KS. My background focuses mostly on broadcasting and digital media, but I've always loved writing. I'm a sophomore in journalism and mass communications with a minor in French and a secondary focus in International and Area Studies. In my free time, I like drinking coffee and reading news magazines.