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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

COSGA sparks talk between student reps across globe

Photo+By%3A+Tim+Lai%0AKasey+Kram+%28left%29+speaks+with+COSGA+delegates+at+a+reception+Monday.
Photo By: Tim Lai Kasey Kram (left) speaks with COSGA delegates at a reception Monday.

The annual trek of student representatives from universities across the world to College Station just got larger.
The Conference on Student Government Associations, COSGA, is in its 34th year at Texas A&M. Saturday through Tuesday, COSGA — with more than 40 schools, 350 delegates, 110 A&M undergraduate staff members and a $90,000 budget — celebrated its largest conference to date, said director Julie Craig. COSGA invites members of student governments to Texas A&M, where SGA delegates discuss ways to approach campus issues while also showing delegates around College Station.
Some of the subjects touched on this year included concealed carry and growth and visibility of student governments, all of which fit within the overarching theme, “Ever Onward: Define Your Vision, Improve Continuously, Forge Your Legacy.”
Daniel Beard, programming executive and industrial engineering junior, said the theme fit well with the goals of student leadership.
“That’s kind of like the process I believe that every organization has to do — they have to have some type of vision for how they want to accomplish their goals,” Beard said. “And then once they have those goals they need to improve continuously because if you have a goal but you can’t execute it, it’s a hallucination basically.”
Trey Foster, construction science senior and COSGA host, said one of the most interesting ideas he heard from delegates this year was a “Meet the Senate Day,” in which campus senators make themselves available during the day to visit with their student constituents.
Connie Song, international studies senior and promotions committee member, said she sat in on a roundtable discussion about concealed carry, in which members of North Dakota State University talked about how their campus allows them to carry firearms on campus under special circumstances.
Concealed carry has also been a recent topic of interest at Texas A&M, as Student Senate passed in the fall advocating for concealed carry on campus.
“They have a big hunting interest over there and so they’re allowed to have their weapons or guns on campus but it is stored in their police-secured facility,” Song said. “So they have their own lockers they can put their guns in and leave it there and they have 24-hour access and they can just come take it.”
While not every moment went smoothly, Craig said the conference was a success.
“The snags that we’ve hit include the shutdown of the airport in Dallas, so we had to have a couple schools cancel, so we’re short about six or seven schools,” Craig said. “But it’s hard to see the challenges when everything has gone so well — we are so lucky. I don’t think staff knows we’ve had as many hiccups as we’ve had, and none of the hiccups are something we can control, but it’s just something we’ve dealt with and I’ve been happy that we can figure it out.”
The second keynote speaker, Jason Connell, a well-known speaker on visionary leadership for young adults, told Craig it was one of the best-run conferences he had seen, which Craig said was her most memorable moment.
Mason Flannery, assistant director of COSGA and industrial distribution senior, said the event’s success can be seen in the manner its funds were raised, as this was the first year COSGA staff didn’t have to ask the SGA for an allotment and instead raised funds solely from donations of previous years and the $300-per-delegate signup fee.
“We decided that we would rather let other committees in the SGA that really rely on those funds use them when we know we can operate on our own budget,” Flannery said.
Since coming to COSGA, Craig said many of the schools have created their own versions of A&M organizations like The Big Event and CARPOOL.
To keep up with the growth of the conference, Craig said she and Flannery created an advancement committee for the first time this year, which they hope will continue the improvement of COSGA in future years.

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