The East Tennessean reports on Student Government Association meetings almost weekly, but what exactly is SGA? With SGA applications already open, it’s a good time to find out.

SGA is comprised of over 40 members. Just like the U.S. government, it operates by a three-branch system—executive, legislative and judicial. The SGA office is located on the first floor of the Culp Center.

“SGA is the student voice,” Howard said. “It’s part of the government system at the university, and this is how students can play a role in the governing and decision making…If you want to make an impact on not just your fellow students but also on the university as a whole, this is the place to do it.”

SGA speaks about and works toward issues that directly affect their peers and the campus climate. Meetings for the SGA Senate are Tuesdays at 4 p.m. in the 3rd floor Forum of the D.P. Culp University Center, and the meetings are open to the public.

In addition to weekly meetings, SGA has subcommittees that meet separately for different aspects and issues of student life, it allocates funds across campus through BUC Fund and hosts major events like fall and spring concerts.

Other major SGA events include homecoming, faculty appreciation week, pride walk painting and civility events, according to the association’s website.

BUC Fund is a yearly budget, and SGA has the responsibility of awarding this money to on- and off-campus student activities. BUC Fund meets multiple times each semester, allocating money as available and deemed appropriate by the SGA Senate.

SGA applications are now live on its website. The positions are for executive, judicial and legislative branches, as well as junior senate and other committees and volunteer options. Elections are in April, and those elected will serve until April 2019.

Applicants do not have to already be a part of SGA to apply. For Senate, you must be a full-time student and have a 2.5 GPA. Each college has at least one Senate seat, and larger colleges have more seats. For the executive branch, applicants must be involved in SGA for at least a semester and have a 3.0 GPA, according to SGA Advisor Jeff Howard.

Additionally, SGA positions become available throughout the school year as serving members have to step down for various reasons.

For more information about SGA and how to apply, check out or contact the SGA Secretary of Interior, Yana Popper.