SGA president Abdel-Fatah eyes a busy agenda

Newly elected Johnson State College Student Government Association President, Nasser Abdel-Fatah has been hard at work preparing ways to show students what the SGA can do for them.

Majoring in Environmental Sciences, Analysis and Assessment track, and minoring in Wellness and Alternative Medicine, Abdel-Fatah has been involved with the JSC SGA since his sophomore year in 2012. Abdel-Fatah started his SGA experience as a senator, then moved on to becoming the president of the group for the first time the following year. This past year, Abdel-Fatah was the pro-tempore of the senate but was also off campus chairing for the Vermont State College student association board. Realizing he would be around campus the majority of this school year, Abdel-Fatah ran for president again.

Abdel-Fatah described his first plan with the SGA this year as trying to increase awareness about the group and what they have the power to do.

“We have resources for students and we need them to know that they can use us,” he said. One avenue is to focus more on working on clubs. “We want to create as many clubs as we can on campus. From my understanding, this will make a first-year student like the college more when they have something to do, whether it’s participating in the ski and ride club, SGA, or even Basement Medicine, the schools newspaper,” says Abdel-Fatah. He noted that students and people in general will often naturally enjoy the college experience more after being involved with activities that they might be interested in.

Abdel-Fatah also hopes to continue former SGA President Ben Simone’s goal of creating academic clubs focusing on all the majors offered at JSC. “We have been working on rolling with a prototype with the Department of Health, and Department of Environmental and Health Science,” said Abdel-Fatah. “We are doing a continuation of something along the line of (Lab Rats), a program that we started working with this summer.”

He mentioned how he wants to continue this with one of the first academic clubs to try to get first-year students more connected with third and fourth-year students. “This will ultimately and hopefully create better bonds within departments on campus and create better connections with students, faculty and staff,” said Abdel-Fatah.

Another objective noted by Abdel-Fatah is the JSC SGA is starting to adapt a process with Lyndon State College’s SGA. “We are meeting every other week to conduct business, and hopefully make processes easier as far as getting committees to meet and get paper work in,” said Abdel-Fatah. “Last year there were some pretty poor organization skills as far as the SGA went, and we are trying to take a better route in that all of our senators have participated in a full orientation training.”

This was done so that SGA Senators are prepared to help students and assist people when needed. “I want my senators to be bending over backwards to help students become clubs,” says Abdel-Fatah. “This is so that whenever you want to become a club and have 30 minutes or so of time, a senator will be trained enough to sit down and help students with their needs.”

Working with the Resident Life on Campus is another objective Abdel-Fatah wants to keep steady throughout the school year. He mentioned creating a community project where each senator is assigned a living group. Living groups will consist of an SGA Senator working with a certain residential hall that they may be connected to. For example, one SGA Senator is currently working on getting new mirrors and another is looking into updating artwork in some of the Resident Halls.

One last thing that Abdel-Fatah mentioned was he wants to continue any of the previously uncompleted SGA projects that have been in existence since his involvement with the SGA.

“My overall hope for the year is to keep this group enacted,” said Abdel Fatah. “We have a strong group of individuals that all work together and get along together nicely.” Abdel-Fatah wants to achieve these goals by creating clubs, and getting a bunch of projects done and show positivity as a group.

Following being SGA President this year, Abdel-Fatah is planning on graduating in May of 2016. Following graduation Abdel Fatah is currently planning on grad school, and is looking into the master’s program at Vermont Law for their environmental law and policy offerings.