Student News

UK Student Government Association Serves as Voice for Students

UK Student Government Association. UK File Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2022) — The University of Kentucky is made up of more than 30,000 students, roughly the size of a small town, and like a small town, a governing body is necessary to represent the interests and concerns of the students. The Student Government Association (SGA) has more than 100 active members (undergraduates and graduate/professional students) who advocate on behalf of fellow students and empower them through programming, funding and forums.  

"The purpose of UK's Student Government Association is to serve all students and make sure they have a meaningful experience, and that they are heard and respected," Michael Hawse, the current SGA president, said.

The SGA functions as a liaison between the student body and administration to provide effective means for students to voice their concerns and interests. The organization has three branches — the executive, judicial and legislative, that functions similar to the federal government. Students in each branch are elected and work together for the common goal of bettering the student experience. 

The SGA also advocates for and provides the following services:

  • Legal Services provide free legal consultation with a Lexington attorney.
  • Wildcat Wardrobe is a free professional clothing service for all UK students who need professional attire for an interview, internship or job.
  • Kentucky Wildcab is a late-night on-demand transportation resource for UK students primarily designed to provide a free ride home, while promoting responsible and safe late-night transportation decisions. 
  • Professional Development Scholarship is intended to reimburse the costs and fees of only graduate and professional students remotely attending a professional and/or leadership development event. 
  • Childcare/Dependent Grant is available for students who have dependents, regardless of the severity of circumstances. 

In addition to programming and services, SGA members represent students at an administrative and executive level. Hawse, and other SGA members, sit on the executive board at weekly faculty senate meetings where they discuss new initiatives being introduced by the organization, advocacy efforts on campus and approve new legislation and funding grants. 

Hawse also sits on UK's Board of Trustees as a voting member. He says the biggest thing he will vote on as a Board of Trustee member is the university's budget as it pertains to student interests. 

"I don't want to make college more expensive than it already is, so making sure the university is more financially accessible to everyone is my main objective as student body president," he said. 

Additionally, Hawse sits on a board with other student body presidents throughout the state. "It speaks to how important the student voice is and how valuable the state and university sees our voice," he said. 

The representation, services and programming SGA provides impact the day-to-day college experience of UK students as a whole, but it also enriches the lives of the SGA members. 

"Being part of the SGA is an opportunity to realize how your decisions directly affect students and the university as a whole," Hawse explained. "All of our money comes from student fees, so it makes you feel very responsible towards how you spend that money. We always ask ourselves how we can manage this money to best benefit the student body as a whole." 

Hawse adds that being part of the SGA is great professional experience that opens its members up to greater communities.  

"UK has an incredibly diverse student body that allows us to look at things from a multitude of lenses," he said. "It's super important in terms of how you can advocate for the student body but also important in your future career to have this experience in advocacy. Our students end up in policy programs at Columbia Law School, Duke, along with receiving great positions in respective career fields."

"The reason I ran for SGA president is because I wanted to feel like I could give back to my school and give back to my community," Hawse continued. "The most rewarding part of my experience is not only being able to serve my friends and peers but also serve my state. We all ask how we can leave the university better than we found it."

For more information about UK's SGA and how to get involved, go to: https://getinvolved.uky.edu/student-government-association.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.