SGA to join Chamber of Commerce

With the intent of broadening a working relationship with city and creating a more student friendly downtown area, the Student Government Association has made arrangements to join Huntsville’s Chamber of Commerce.

SGA is currently waiting for membership confirmation, which will allow the organization to become more involved in city planning and allow students’ voices to be heard in the community. A Senate bill was passed last Tuesday, which allowed SGA to pay the $250 membership fee.

SGA President Christopher Whitaker said that once it is a member of Huntsville’s Chamber of Commerce, SGA will be able to work more with the business community of Huntsville.

“We intend on being at every Chamber of Commerce Board Meeting and attend many of the Chamber of Commerce events. It’s a great networking opportunity,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker said that he and other members started looking for platforms that SGA could use to express its concerns after the elections last year.

“The Chamber of Commerce is one of the most influential forces in Huntsville,” he said. “It was an easy first choice.”

SGA and Whitaker have been working with the city for the last year on the Huntsville Horizon Plan, which is Huntsville’s “comprehensive city plan for the future.”

According to its website, “the purpose of this plan is to establish a vision that residents, business and land owners, the University, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and public officials prefer – and will support with action over the next 20 years.”

Whitaker has worked on the plan to ensure that students at SHSU have an influence in municipality decisions that will ultimately affect them.

“Throughout my first term I’ve been working with the City of Huntsville through it’s comprehensive plan as part of their CPAX-X Committee. It gave SGA a huge forum to express student concern on literally every level of city planning,” Whitaker said.

One of Whitaker’s campaign promises was to make Huntsville a more “student friendly place by bring downtown entertainment.”

“What we would like to see is the Chamber support the local music scene. Huntsville has a fantastic scene that’s growing and it’s something that not every town can brag about. We have great local rock bands and we have county artists that come through here all the time.

SGA has already brought the entertainment issue to City Council’s attention and it has been included in the Huntsville Horizon Plan under Economic Development. The Plan not only recognizes the economic opportunities SHSU can bring to Huntsville, it states that making downtown more attractive to students on an entertainment level and strengthening connections to campus are part of the vision.

“I said I’d work to support a student friendly downtown,” Whitaker said. “The first step was placing it in the Comprehensive Plan. Joining the Chamber of Commerce is certainly a big step in the right direction.”

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