Southern Utah University’s Student Programming Board will reunite with the Southern Utah University Student Association during the elections in March after around five years of separation, according to SPB President Megan Baker.
Heather Garcia, the assistant director of Student Involvement and Leadership, believes that the decision to combine the two organizations is practical and logistical.
“It makes complete sense to help arm the student government with a programming body. This way if the student senate has an idea of getting a message or initiative to the students, it can be done through an event or program,” Garcia said.
Garcia offered a scenario to help prove her point. If the student senate is trying to help educate the students on study habits, they then can work with the programming board to plan an event around that.
“SPB is well aware of the needs of making an event a success,” Garcia said.
Baker is excited about the two organizations joining together.
“It’s a pretty smooth change,” Baker said. “It’s just sort of the title changing and a couple responsibilities being official instead of a gray area. I think it’s a good thing.”
The decision to combine SPB and SUUSA will also act as a way to fix some technical issues.
“It’s hard going to executive council meetings, because I’m not technically in SUUSA,” Baker said. “And it’s like ‘I don’t know if I’m supposed to be here.’ It’s a weird feeling to be meeting about SUUSA with that technically not being my organization.”
Baker explained that her job title will change once SUUSA and SPB are combined. The SPB president will be known as the vice president of programming, though the responsibilities will remain the same.
“My position entails hiring people for SPB and organizing events but not planning them,” Baker said. “I organize dates and distribute them to the directors. We have about a 100 members, so I’m kind of supervising.”
Baker explained that the SPB president will have more authority in the senate as the VP of programming because they will be recorded as a member of SUUSA in the written constitution.
“So it’s this weird gray line of, ‘oh does the SPB president get to vote on things, what meetings are they allowed to go to,’” Baker said. “By making me VP of programming it bridges that gap by making everyone the same group again as well as sort of giving more authority to my role.”
Baker will be the last official SPB president. During the elections this March, students will run for VP of programming instead, functioning as the official switch of titles.
SPB initially split off from SUUSA in an effort to help SUUSA find their own identity.
“We used to be the same organization. SUUSA was doing so much but was only seen for their events,” Baker said.
According to Baker, SUUSA has gained visibility and recognition for being the government portion of student government, while SPB is primarily seen as planning and hosting the events.
“We split off so they could form their own identity, which they definitely have with their senators and senate meetings. Now we are combining again,” Baker said.
Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos courtesy of SPB