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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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Student government conference highlights sexual assault, campus inclusion

Sexual assault prevention and campus inclusion were just two of the many topics discussed at the Conference on Student Government Associations this weekend.

This week Texas A&M hosted its 35th annual COSGA. The conference brings together delegates from schools across the globe — including from Qatar and Mexico — to collaborate on issues pertaining to student government in the form of round table discussions, guest lectures, town-hall style meetings and workshops. This year, the issues discussed ranged from suicide prevention to sexual assault on campus.

Daniel Beard, COSGA director and industrial and systems engineering senior, said this was the first year the town hall format was introduced to the conference. Beard said the introduction of this format allowed for more in-depth discussions on topics highly impacting campuses around the world.

“Town hall discussions are hitting on the high profile, hot-button issues, that are going on all around the world this year,” Beard said. “We had [town hall] discussions over sexual assault on campus as well as one over diversity on campus.”

Beard said having these town hall discussions on major issues helps delegates from across the nation who are sharing these problems identify ways student governments can have a positive impact on their own campuses.

“Delegates come from across the nation and are identifying how student government can make an impact, which is pretty cool,” Beard said.  “It really helps them with solidarity and build contacts with people who have gone through the same things they have.”

Erick Alanis, an SGA member from the University of Monterrey and delegate at the conference, said the conference taught him valuable skills. Alanis said COSGA gives SGA members who attend an advantage for their own schools.

“The advantage is not for me — it’s for the school, and the students we are working for,” Alanis said. “I think this is going to be better for the school than for me, which is the point.”

Beard said the conference held at Texas A&M also made a large effort this year to focus on promotion of the event, which helps to maintain COSGA’s presence of legitimacy and professionalism.

“One thing that we really emphasize is that there are a lot of SGA conferences around the world. A lot of them are for profit and we have a staff of 100 people on our committee and they are working here for free,” Beard said. “What really sets us apart are our volunteers and staff.”

Rbrey Singleton, a delegate from Rowan University in New Jersey, said the conference was well-organized and provided useful information on topics such as suicide prevention and micro aggressions, which he didn’t expect.

“The conference has had great information — suicide prevention and micro-aggressions, I didn’t expect to learn about those things here, but I have gotten that information and appreciate it,” Singleton said.

Singleton said in addition to touching on pertinent world-wide campus issues, the conference provided him and other delegates a unique networking opportunity.

“This conference helps my human capital and professional capital,” Singleton said. “Who knows, I might be working with some of these people one day, and I have met them here and have gotten that exposure. I think exposure is very important and I am getting that here at Texas A&M.”

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