“We are the connection between students and departments,” said Kolton Olson, a senior biomed major from Wyoming. “The students usually don’t know who to go to when they have an idea or suggestion. They come to us and we form the proposal or connections to different departments to get the change going.”
The Student Advisory Council is part of BYU-Hawaii’s Service Association. SAC is a council made up of critical thinking students who research ideas and suggestions submitted by either students or faculty and determine the appropriate course of action. The SAC council members, according to their mission statement, bridge the gap between students, faculty, and departments in an effort to improve campus life.
The Student Advisory Council has several future projects aimed at improving campus life. Olson said, “We are trying to enhance intramurals, especially the basketball tournament. We want to make a large tournament with a double elimination bracket. We’d like to explore whether our winning teams can go play other schools on the island in a regional tournament. We want intramurals to increase, especially as our sports teams are phased out.”
Katie Hampton, the Vice President over SAC and a junior studying international cultural studies from Utah, said, “SAC is part of the BYUHSA leadership team. We research issues that students submit to us through our feedback form via OrgSync or the feedback boxes around campus. Submissions from students can be about anything big or small. For example we receive submissions requesting to change the name of the GCB, notifying us of the challenges of the three semester calendar, or even to create a Christmas tradition for students which lead us to team up with the Student Events team to plan a musical fireside with BSA members for this Christmas season.”
Hampton discussed one of the SAC’s larger scale projects, and gave insight into their process. “One of our biggest projects was the Aloha Center. We had students report that the Aloha Center wasn’t a comforting and inviting place, and a number of faculty reported students lounging around. From this feedback, it was evident that there were differing expectations of the building’s purpose.”
“We do a lot of research before we begin our projects as basic building infrastructure, so in this circumstance, we looked into the dedicatory prayer by President Marion G. Romney and found it was dedicated as a student space for ‘various cultural, social, and recreational activities.’ We then conducted student surveys in order to help us understand both the nature and purpose of the building and the best way to utilize the space. After we analyzed the results of the survey, we presented our findings and made recommendations to President’s Council and Campus Planning for the renovations of the Aloha Center, coming up in the next few years.”
Project ideas usually come from the SAC feedback form. “We need more people to take our surveys. That is how we get feedback and know what we can improve,” said Sandy Lee, a senior political science major from South Korea.
Hampton said, “Students can come to us with any feedback. We receive a lot of suggestions. SAC is here to help students, but more importantly to create harmony between students, faculty, and administrators. We aren’t representatives so much as we are bridge makers. We aim to promote student leadership and enable students by putting their ideas into action in a harmonious, informed, and educated manor.”