West Virginia University’s Student Government Association  discussed ways to connect more with students at its first monthly Open Forum on Wednesday.

Students at the forum were greeted by Hunter Moore, the SGA communications director.

“If you have anything you want to bring to our attention you can do so here,” Moore said. “This is a meeting run by you guys.”

 “As SGA, as a University, how can we have a bigger say on what’s going on in Charleston?” said Travis Rawson, an audience member.

SGA Senator Lora McDonald said using relevant student organizations is one great way to have a larger impact on the state Legislature, but also that students and SGA should have a “more consistent presence with our state legislators.”

One audience member voiced concerns that SGA on campus has a very stigmatizing reputation for some.

 “I think if we had elections that were online, our voter turnout would be greater,” said Senator Gage Fortney-Henriquez. “I don’t think it’s as representative as it should be.”

“I think you’re absolutely correct,” McDonald said. “I think it’s like SGA hasn’t carried the reputation that it should.”

McDonald said  making SGA members more accessible to students to voice their concerns would help to reduce this.

SGA also responded to questions involving ongoing projects, the depletion of SGA’s grant funding and the lack of therapy cats.

 “This year [the Bureau of Finance] forwarded I think over 90 grants, and it was slightly quicker than expected,” said SGA Press Secretary Zoya Khan about current financial conditions.  “I think the reason for that is a lot of students are using the grants for travel expenses rather than open events. Also, several organizations have just applied for these grants, but they’re first come first serve.  There will be steps taken to avoid that in the future.”

While the audience turnout for the open forum was small, SGA hopes it grows in the future and that students feel comfortable attending forums to express their concerns.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote to SGA Attorney General Miguel Fortney-Henriquez. This is incorrect. The quote should be attributed to Senator Gage Fortney-Henriquez.