The Student Government Association Senate Meeting introduced guest speakers and new legislation on Friday, March 22, in the Commons Auditorium.
The first speakers were University of West Florida Peer Educators Adam Smith and Deshonna Bagwell. The UWF Peer Educators are a small group of students that help educate their peers on alcohol use, misuse, abuse education, sexual health promotion and sexual assault prevention. Health Promotion Services, whose associate director is Mica Harrell, oversees the Peer Education group. She said she was pleased to announce that this year was the first that peer educators were paid to perform their duties.
“Before we had almost 40 volunteers, but it wasn’t very efficient,” Harrell said. “Some would come in for a short amount of time, so we decided to make a smaller, more dedicated team.”
Starting this fall, Counseling and Wellness Services will recruit a new selection of peers. In the spring, those selected will be trained and then start working. In order to qualify, students have to be enrolled at UWF and have taken HSC 2990: Sex, Booze and Peer Health Education. Taking this class gives them in-depth knowledge of these issues so they are primed for their paraprofessional duties as a peer educator.
Harrell said that the primary goal for all peer educators is to focus preventing negative consequences students experience with alcohol, sexual health and sexual assault prevention.
“We try to provide as much as education as possible so that students can be better decision makers while on campus.” Harrell said.
For students who want information on becoming a peer educator, visit http://uwf.edu/cws/wellness/peered.cfm
At the end of the meeting, SGA vice president Keldrick Averhart introduced new legislation. The legislative bill 12-13 BXVIII, were written by Averhart. The bills were reviewed by members from the executive branch and then approved in Friday’s meeting.
The legislation gives new stipend allocations to each cabinet member of SGA. Averhart said that there hasn’t been a proposal like this in seven years. One of things Averhart included in the legislation was money for newly elected or appointed senators.
“We want to give something to all senators who help serve,” Averhart said. “Next year, senators will get $50 per semester, which can be used at the bookstore or in the form of Argo bucks.”
The bills also increased stipends for Senate President, Chief of Staff, and gives stipends of $1000 each for the directors of Governmental Affairs, Student Life, and Communications. Averhart said that since elections are coming up, new students will take office so there isn’t a way for any cabinet member to get a higher salary.
“Everyone will be either in a different cabinet position or not working with SGA after this year, so there isn’t any way for this bill to be an advantage to anyone other than newly elected cabinet members.”
SGA meetings are held at 2:30 p.m. every Friday in the commons auditorium.