July 20, 2019 | 78° F

Mason Gross Student Governing Association makes student's voices heard

Photo by Jeffrey Gomez |

The Mason Gross Student Governing Association works to bridge the gap between students and administrators by organizing events and ensuring the representation of Mason Gross students.

The Mason Gross Student Governing Association (MGSGA) fights for Mason Gross students in every way imaginable, from creating school-wide programs to increasing their visibility.

The governing association's primary goal is to represent students by serving as their voice when they communicate with Rutgers faculty, said Brianna Tagliaferro, a Mason Gross School of the Arts senior and the current president of the organization.

The organization is divided into five departments, each of which represents a specific major or majors in the school. During town hall meetings, the group represents the school as a whole to the three deans, Tagliaferro said.

These town hall meetings serve as an open forum for students to voice their concerns directly to relevant Rutgers faculty members. The next meeting is on Feb. 6, Tagliaferro said.

As well as their regularly scheduled town hall meetings, the group also meets every Sunday on Douglass campus. These meetings are open to anyone who might be interested in joining, Tagliaferro said.

She said that beyond just representing their students, the organization is dedicated to certain programs that are devoted to assisting the students of the school in other ways.

“One of the best things that I think we do is offer this program called Student Funding … (Students) give us proposals about artistic opportunities that they have that are independent from their school curriculum … We offer chances to reimburse students for these kinds of things,” Tagliaferro said.

Another important initiative that the organization piloted was a survey taken from across the school, said Larry Fried, a Mason Gross School of Arts sophomore and secretary of the organization.

This survey asked some basic questions about students' perceptions of the school and gave them a chance to voice any concerns they might have, Fried said.

The MGSGA then took these results to Rutgers faculty to try and use them to create positive change, Fried said.

“We took it upon ourselves to meet with our department heads,” Fried said. “That has created this fantastic relationship between the students and the department.”

Another facet of the council is coordinating events, Fried said, and their most recent event, a collaboration with the Rutgers Science Technology Arts and Math group (STEAM) was very successful. The event focused on technology in the world of music.

The MGSGA is working to increase attendance at their events, Fried said.

“We have 540 events that are happening throughout the year,” he said. “Look into coming to an event.”

The organization places particular emphasis on collaborating with other Rutgers groups to represent their students, said Zahra Bukhari, a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior and the external vice president of the organization.

The organization works closely with other groups such as the Rutgers University Student Association (RUSA) and the Rutgers Commuter Students Association (RCSA) to help address overlapping issues they have with these groups, Bukhari said.

One such issue is that parking for certain buildings necessary for some Mason Gross curriculum is inconvenient for commuter students, Bukhari said. This is an issue they are attempting to resolve in collaboration with the RCSA.

Bukhari said she strongly recommends joining the MGSGA.

“If you’re going to complain about something then you have the responsibility to stand up and do something about it,” Bukhari said. “If you have a passion for something … step up.”

Zachary Peterson is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

Zachary Peterson

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