Florida Polytechnic University senior Melia Rodriguez is spending her second term as Student Government Association (SGA) president laying the groundwork for the organization’s efficient and sustainable future. She said she is focusing on optimizing resources and SGA’s operations.
As part of this effort, the organization recently transferred oversight of Florida Poly’s Campus Activities Board (CAB) and registered student organizations (RSO) to the University’s Department of Student Affairs.
“Before, SGA was overly involved in every aspect of CAB and RSO operations when they should really be running on their own,” said Rodriguez, who is majoring in computer science with a concentration in software engineering. “Now there’s a full-time staff member instead of an SGA committee overseeing them so they get all the support they need.”
The two groups remain staffed by students, so their operations remain largely the same, she said.
“By having a staff member making sure the machine keeps running, SGA is way better for students,” Rodriguez said. “Then SGA can focus more on actually getting out there with students, making sure their needs are being met and working on larger scale projects.”
This year is starting off more productively than last year for Rodriguez and the SGA’s remaining leadership.
“Last year, I had to spend a good chunk of time on introductions with different people and them getting to know me and what my role is, and this year we can just jump into getting the work done,” Rodriguez said. “Now I want to get SGA out there in front of the faculty and staff side, so they better understand what our role is and what we do. That way when a new person comes on and they say this is my position, everyone goes, ‘OK, cool. I know what they do, and I just have to get to know them now.’”
Among the organization’s recent work is transitioning the Phoenix Link online student engagement hub to a new platform that integrates University-sponsored events and activities with those scheduled by campus organizations. The SGA also gave a makeover to the Nest student space inside the Wellness Center, including new furniture, decor, and signage.
“My goal is to set us up for the future so that we can make better use of our resources and time,” Rodriguez said. “We’re also buying a lot of things that will last us forever instead of renting them year after year.”
The organization is planning to host a Florida Poly Day at the Florida Capitol, taking students to Tallahassee to meet and lobby with legislators. It is also working to establish a twice-yearly speaker series on campus.
In addition to her work leading the SGA, Rodriguez is a member of Florida Poly’s Board of Trustees. In this capacity, she helps shape the University’s long-term future.
“I’m the person who never really cares what room I’m in,” Rodriguez said. “If I have something to say, I’m going to say it.”
With all her demanding coursework and activities, Rodriguez strives to maintain a work-life balance and she stresses the importance of this to her SGA leadership team.
“I get in at 9 and I’m leaving at 5 now, and I go to my classes, but afterward everyone understands I’m off the clock,” she said. “It’s good for your mental health and I’m asking them all to do the same thing as me.”
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