New SGA president assesses coming year


Ian Major

SGA President Shavonna Bent

Johnson State College’s Student Government Association is looking to pick up where it left off last semester with a productive year. They are placing a strong focus on getting students involved on campus and tackling a few new topics, one of which could involve campaigning to help increase funding for higher education in the state.

Newly-elected SGA President Shavonna Bent says that working towards increased funding for higher education, completing senate projects, working with clubs, and encouraging students to vote are some of the maign topics on this year’s SGA agenda.

Bent is a junior in the environmental science analysis and assessment program. She is currently in her third year with the SGA, having started freshman year as the secretary and moving to the role of vice president last year.

One of the larger tasks that Bent wants to tackle with the SGA is to work on a campaign to help increase funding for higher education in the state. This is a big topic, because the Vermont State Colleges only receive what seems like a fraction of the appropriations other state universities receive from the state.


“I think it would be really great, not only for students at Johnson but also across the Vermont State Colleges system, that together we are all more involved in talking to our representatives, and saying that “this is what we want and demanding our funding,” says Bent. “Either having students write letters or even working to get students down at the state house for different forums would be beneficial.”

Bent noted that it would be a great idea to get students to interact or call their local representative. “We are currently working on organizing something to try to get students involved with increased funding for higher education,” she said.

SGA wants to know how students feel about the proposed unification with Lyndon State College. “We are really hoping to hear from students and bring their feedback to the committee that makes decisions should the proposal be voted in,” said Bent.

According to Bent, this might end up being a challenge. “We will need to work towards being very transparent on the unification topic, as far as the information we are able to get and getting that out to students so they can express their concerns,” says Bent. “I just want to make it a priority to make sure that students know what’s going on while it’s all happening.

“Some of the major goals we have to continue throughout the year are that we really want to work on increasing communication with students as we have been striving to do in the past,” continues Bent. “Some of this might look like senators talking with students throughout the dorms and apartments, as well as meeting with commuters.” Bent noted that, by doing this, they will hopefully be able to really find out what students want, so that future senate projects can be based on the feedback.

With nine senators, the SGA is looking to complete approximately one project per senator. “We are going to work very collaboratively to get that done,” said Bent.

An outdoor kiosk that will be placed by the trails around campus is already in the works, as it is being continued from last semester.

“It will have maps of the trails and the Frisbee Golf course,” said Bent. “We are also hoping to have signage put up throughout some of the cross country trails on campus and the general trail system, so that people know where they are going.”

Bent noted that working towards increasing the number of clubs and club events on campus will increase student participation within the clubs. “We are looking to increase the number of students who are actively attending meetings,” said Bent.

Considering that this is a big election year, this semester’s SGA is also going to place a strong focus on trying to get as many students as they can registered to vote.

“We want everyone that can vote to vote,” says Bent. “We are going to hold a big registration drive and also get out information on absentee ballots, so people have them in advance and are able to get them back to their towns in time for their vote to count.”

With some returning SGA senators as well as some new members, Bent says that she knows the group will work really well together. “With this year’s group, I am really hoping to see more students involved on campus, whether it’s through the SGA events, club events, or committees, and just to see students out and active,” says Bent.

For more information regarding weekly meetings and up to date decisions within the SGA, you can visit their office in the Stearns Student Center (room 411), call the office at (802) 635-1232, or email