Representatives from Student Government Associations across the state met at 9 a.m. March 6 at the Capitol Rotunda to discuss the need for funding in higher education and the preservation of the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship.
The event was the first of its kind in the state and proved successful, with representatives from five universities in attendance.
Sophomore representative Stephanie Daigle said, “the SGAs that attended represented thousands of students across the state, making their voices heard to our state legislature.” Represented universities include UCA, University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, Arkansas State University – Jonesboro, University of Arkansas – Little Rock, and Harding University.
UCA SGA passed a resolution that expressed an
interest in maintaining “the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship at its current amount with attempts to restore the scholarship to previous amounts,” Daigle said.
The representatives gave the resolution to the Arkansas House of Represenatives for review.
Representatives from each university present spoke at the event about higher education funding as well as the Academic Challenge Scholarship greatly affects their university’s students.
Director of Higher Education Shane Broadway spoke at the event in support of their efforts to increase funding.
Ultimately, SGA hopes to form an association known as the Arkansas Students Association, which would be formed from representatives of each university that could meet several times throughout the year to discuss important events that affect all campuses. Senior Representative Blake Brizzolara said, “a good example of this would have been the concealed carry law that was discussed last year.”
SGA senators hope to watch this event grow more in the future. Brizzolara said there was a genuine interest in people attending the event next year and it was really positive to see that kind of support.
“Next year will be an important year because it is going to be a legislative session in Arkansas,” Brizzolara said, “It will be an important year to host an event like this one because they can actually write bills that can change the Academic Challenge Scholarship.”
Brizzolara said he hopes every four-year university and even two-year universities can take part in the event in the future.
Other topics discussed in the meeting include an update on Operation Safe Walk 2013 that UCA Project Manager Arch Jones presented, updates on the “Big Event” that will be April 11-12, and a presentation about COSGA, the Committee on Student Government Associations event that was attended by SGA representatives.